The three of us decided to take the train into the city as we were told a taxi would be $50 and we were trying to save money. However the train cost $15 a person. At least we saved $1.67 each. The train was very nice though and took just as long, just 4 stops and 13 minutes. We check into our hotel, the Vibe, and it is very nice. Ken has done an excellent job of selecting hotels so far in Australia. The hotel is similar to a W, very trendy, and the location is great as we can walk to almost anywhere we would want to go. It is very close to Chinatown, so that made our lunch decision very easy. We went for a wander and stumbled upon a Schzewuan restaurant. They had lunch specials for $12, which is very cheap for Sydney standards. Since it was a Schzewuan restaurant, all the specials included some sort of hot pepper.
Chicken with chili, hot and spicy beef, soup with hot pepper to name a few. The food comes and the specials are gigantic as it comes in a bento box. Ken and I got the meal with rice, veggies, peanuts, and orange slices for dessert and Amy got a beef noodle soup. As is typical with the restaurants we ate at in China, we did not receive napkins and only a tiny cup for water. This made things interesting as the food was very spicy and our noses were running like a faucet. We walked out of there completely stuffed and satisfied.
We were close to Darling Harbor, so we decided to walk around there next. We didn’t want to do too much exploring since another friend of ours, Adam, was arriving tomorrow and would want to see all of the big sites as well. There is a huge IMAX in Darling Harbor that was playing Pirates of the Caribbean. Amy, being a huge fan of the series (and Johnny Depp of course) wanted to go see, but the movie was already sold out and tickets cost $30 per person (another example of how expensive this country is). So instead we decided to go to one of the many bars (a place called the Watershed) located around the harbor to figure out our next plan.
While sitting at a table outside we see a few barges floating in the water containing fireworks. We ask the waiter about it and he tells us that there will be fireworks at 8:30. This made for a tough dilemma as it was only 4:00 at the time. We decided to have a few drinks and see how we felt as it got closer to 8:30. Five hours later we spent all of the money we would have used to see Pirates of the Caribbean, but at least we got a great show anyways and a perfect way to spend our first evening in Sydney.
We get free breakfast at our hotel, which is common practice throughout Asia, but not so in Australia (internet is the same, it is free everywhere in Asia, but extremely expensive in Australia, go figure). However the breakfast consists of different forms of toast or cereal. I popular item to put on your toast here is Vegemite. It has been described to me as the leftover goop at the bottom of the barrel when making beer. Sounds pretty tasty to me, so I thought I would give it a try. Similar to durian, the locals either love it or hate it, with most picking the latter. I have to say that I was not a fan at all. Besides the very strong oniony taste (that's the best way for me to describe it and I like onions), one tablespoon is probably my daily consumption of sodium as well. We quickly finished breakfast in order to get to the airport for our flight to Sydney. Amy and I have had amazing luck with scoring exit row seats on this trip, which we once again did, but this is the first time we turned it down as I prefer a window seat to an aisle. Boy am I glad I took that aisle as on the way I got a great view of the Great Barrier Reef and on the landing I had an amazingly picturesque site of Sydney, especially the Opera House. I didn’t even need to book a special scenic flight to see these. In between the flight was very smooth and relaxing.