Tuesday, May 8

Today I think we've finally gotten adjusted to Sydney time.  We actually slept thru the night and woke up with the alarm.  The jet lag hasn't been bad, I figure that we were about 3 hours off.  But that's better now.

One thing we found that would keep us from coming back is the coffee and pastry.  It's superb.  Alex still likes a good Starbucks but the regular coffee they sell here is espresso based with various kinds and quantities of milk with it.  Mom has discovered that the "flat white" is her favorite coffee of all - it's espresso with a lot of milk.  She's drinking it by the gallon.  The "long black" is Alex's favorite, while "Pepsi Max" is Gretchen's.

The pastry is superb as well - a lot of French influences down here.  Here's our breakfast for the last 2 days:

We went to Sydney Aquarium on the monorail from there.  Mom's never been on a monorail before so she was terrified but all is well.  She's become quite the seasoned transportation maven this trip - she's taken a cab, city bus, tour bus, monrail, ferry, subway, commuter train, and 3 different Jets so far.

The aquarium was a nice size and well laid out.  We kept up the pace to stay ahead of the 75 noisy Japanese tourists behind us.  The aquarium has several exhibits where you walk UNDER the water to see the fish from their perspective.  A few shots from the aquarium:

From there it's back on the monrail to where the Soviet Buran Space shuttle is.  Apparently in 1999 the Russians sold or have long-term leased the Buran 002 Flight prototype for exhibit in Australia.  This was never launched but did fly test flights for aerodynamics, like how the American "Enterprise" was used.  Of course it's a total rip off of our plans but it was cool to go into the cargo bay and walk around it.  For AU$45 extra we could have sat in the pilot's seat and had a Polaroid taken but I thought it was too pricey, so we didn't do that part.  But it was cool.

Tiles on the shuttle:
Inside the cockpit (sorry for the reflections): 
Into the Cargo Bay: 
All of us, for a change: 

More later, from the Opera House!

One thing that may not be quite apparent from our descriptions of the last few days is the rain.  That is:  THE RAIN!   It has rained pretty much continuously since we got here.  Since we landed at the airport, through my typing this, it has not stopped raining except for a few 10 minute intervals except for this one time, which lasted about 8 minutes:
Then it started raining again.  Everyone thinks it's Alex's fault.  He doesn't deny it.

To show you what it has been like, everything from drizzle to torrential, we're going to skip our normal "thumbnail" view and give you one real-size picture of the Opera House that shows how nice it has been:

See the raindrops?  They keep falling on my head.....

It became rather a joke that every time we went inside it stopped (or slowed) and when we went back outside, or even turned towards the door, it picked up again.

There's no rain in the forecast for Cairns, but we know what the weathermen don't:  it's going to rain there for the next 4 days.

Tomorrow morning we go to the airport for our flight to Cairns, where it should be 80 - 90. And wet, of course.  ( Barbara's comment: It will not rain. It should not rain for the remainder of our trip. I would be very curious of the rainfall amounts since we've been here. We were actually laughing about it. Especially walking to the Opera House. There were such downpours. Just totally sopped. We finally found a ground floor walkway, so we stayed dry. After the Opera House we thought a drink and snack sounded good. Then a patch of blue sky, then more blue. We thought if this continues, maybe we could get the night harbor cruise in. One thing we have wanted to do, but guess what: it rained. By the time we got back to the hotel, it was pouring again. So we decided to do laundry.

That's it for today. We'll be in touch tomorrow.


 the Aussie crew!