Australia Chronicles: Day 19

Helloooooo Sydney!!  Today is our day to explore this amazing story.  It started off with a 6:15 wake-up call, moving on to a hot breakfast in Curve, the hotel restaurant.  Then we met another coach to go to the Opera House.  He definitely isn't any Andy!  We had our group photo in a point that had the Opera House & Harbour Bridge aligned perfectly. Then it was a brisk walk around the cove to the Opera House for a guided tour of three of the four rooms and the Grand Concert Hal.  The concert hall made me want to cry, it was just so amazingly beautiful and the accoustics are at the point that you don't need any amplification for even the back of the hall to hear you.  Plus, instead of having speakers facing back at you so you can hear yourself, there are acrylic donuts hanging which bounce the sound back down at you.  The domes are cut from a sphere to make their shape.

From there, we made our way on foot to Costello's Opal Store.  We were shown a great mpeg movie on opal and everything about it.  Then the owner James Costello came out and cut a raw boulder opal with the diamond edged saw, it was very interesting, the whole process.  Then it was off to shopping and perusing their huge selection.  I saw a beautiful silver fancy pen wtih an opan on the end and immediately thought about Brian and my Dad.  I bought of those and another that was similar to the other but it was gold plated.

I couldn't decide who to give it to.  Then I felt guilty that I have gifts for them but not for mom, so I went looking at the cases for an imaculate gift for mom.  I decided that a necklace would be appropriate and that a boulder opal would be in the correct price range while keeping beauty at a premium.  After dropping about $235 I walked out feeling like a million bucks.

From here we boarded a sweet ASS bus with twin wheels in the front and a second entrance halfway back.  We took this urban assault vehicle and drove to the Sydney aquarium and the focks of Matilda cruises.  We had about 30 mins of down time in which I fed the local seagulls.  Then we met up with New York and boarded a powered catamaran which also had a sail which is great since there was a howling wind.

We got spectacular views from the water of the Sydney skyline and the highrises, the harbour bridge which has 60 million rivets in it and the Sydney Opera House.  We actually were under sail for about 30 mins.  We actually got a very nice view of the mouth to Sydney harbour where there is a 1 nautical mile divide north to soiuth.  We returned to port under propeller power and enjoyed a nifty little buffet lunch at sea.

From here we boarded the monorail at Darling Harbour after pulling together to make sure everyone had the appropriate fare.  This is Sydney's only monorail and was put into operation in teh 80's in an effort to get people off the streets.  We were on our way to city centre where we enjoyed a venue called sky tour which used audio and video theaters to teach you something about this country.  It finished with an in-motion VR ride/theater which brought us all over the country to see the sights.

After this experience, we walked acresst he hall to the AMP tower where we went awfully high up in the air and were trated to an amazing panoramic 360* view of Sydney and the surrounding area.  There was a clear view of the head of the harbour, the airport, and the olympic park was just barely on the horizon.  Back to Rushcutter's Hotel we go with a dinner stop at Planet Hollywood.  The was a very cool waiter named Lucas.  He was a perfect match to the restauarant.

From there we went back to the hotel.  We had a little freetime until we were required to journal and fill out a few evaluations.  Immediately after that it was bed checks.  While we were at Planet Hollywood, we gave Janus her gifts "tip" if you will and a few other small tokens of our appreciation.

James M. Connors