Rules of Engagement

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
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Trip End Jan 04, 2012


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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Friday, November 4, 2011

Not always an appropriate thing to write about and it is kind of drifting off the point in terms of being a 'travel' blog, however it is something that I have noted while travelling and therefore it goes in the blog. Quoting one of my dedicated fans "it is mostly awful and it reads like it has been written by an 8 year old but there is something about your endless ramblings that is keeping us entertained back here in the UK", the blog shall carry on rambling, and therefore my initial primary point of todays blog which kind of highlights that it wasn't the most exciting of days is related to toilet activities.

Why oh why do other countries not operate to the same rules that operate without any signage in the UK? Why can I not visit a 7 cubicle toilet when empty and sit about my daily business in the end stall without someone feeling the need to sit in the adjacent stall? It's just not British. And clearly, thats the point. The reserved nature of being British, and from my observation of such movements, European also; means that when we visit the toilet we prefer it to be a secluded experience.
Much in the same way that as a gentleman, if you enter a toilet and find urinals 1,3,and 7 occupied it is nearly an evolutionary response that you will visit number 5; I think it is only good manners to sit as far away as possible to anyone that may be relaxing over their morning sitting. Asian and apparently Australasian persona do not find this is the case. It must be too much time on the convict isle with a lack of privacy but on 5 occasions now this has been the case (not on one day - Diet is pretty good at the moment).
To add to this and sadly we could not identify nationality to corroborate our claims, it appears the reservation of want of privacy continues within the female fraternity. While having a wash Kate identified that one of the cubicles in the female row was closed, but with a glance noticed no feet under the door. "How very strange" she thought. She washed her hands and turned the drier on for the alloted time it takes to dry; but before exiting the toilet block glanced back over towards the cubicle.
A curious sight could be seen. Two feet slowly descended from where they had clearly been lifted and were placed quietly, as if with great care to avoid making noise, back onto the floor. It was clear that this poor girl was so ashamed of being a human being she didn't want people to know she did the doo doo as it were and was waiting for Kate to leave before carrying on. She was probably British. We can only assume.
I highlight this as how different cultures and peoples can be. When in China it is ok to snort and hack whenever and wherever- when in KL it was ok for an Indian gentleman to fart as loud as possible within a Starbucks, in Australia it is ok to stand next to someone on a urinal and start a conversation (as has been the case now on two occasions) but in the UK it is percieved as rude to get anywhere close to invading someones so called personal space. What a funny country we are.

As for our actual last day in Sydney, it was a warm sunny pleasant day. We had but one plan post checking out and storing our bags in the lockers prior to our 8pm bus to Melbourne and that was to visit the Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour. For several reasons , we hadn't done it yet, we didn't have many other things to do, I like boats as does Kate, Darling Harbour has a nice ring to it, and museums are good at sapping time away.
We walked via a market which was as expensive as most of the highstreet shops and also via a playpark adjacent to Darling Harbour for kids which was brilliantly devised. The park had all sorts of climbing bits and pieces, water fountains in which the water could be diverted and changed in flow rate and a bouncy floor throughout the park. I liked the way the Australians had tried to mix a bit of fun with Engineering - clearly thats the type of thing that amuses me.

The museum itself was pretty hard work and tiring due to the mass of information. Australia's history of all things Maritime is pretty long and vast and covers everything from Captain Cook to Ian Thorpe the swimmer. This was all free though so no pain there.

We paid to enter the boats, 4 in all. First stop, The James Craig. The James Craig is a 3 masted Barque which had been renovated by the Maritime museum and is now active again on the high seas. It has been mainly restored to previous requirements and is very classic. It's pretty awesome. Kate and I both like this kind of thing. Although the fella showing us around was a bit of a keenie having been a tourist turn crew, he led us around and baffled us with sail terminology while we just stared dumbfounded a little but he was overwhelmingly passionate about his subject.
We then looked at a replica of the first ship from the west to find Australia in 1606, a small dutch vessel named Duyfken. This boat smelt like spices (as had been it's trade) and was manned during our 10 minute visit by two old fogies who volunteer to show people around. The volunteer group seemed to be everywhere, you couldn't escape them. They were like a grey army of over helpful, and (all but two) exceedingly friendly little old men. They dithered around a little but gave us some good information.
On the two war vessels (HMAS Vampire - Daring Class Destroyer and HMAS Onslow - Oberon Class Submarine) we did the normal thing of sitting in the Captains chair and what not but once again couldn't really escape the clutches of the grey brigade. A couple of the volunteers were a little bit assey for my liking but I guess the job gives them a sense of self importance which they wouldn't otherwise have. The rest of the gang were great and the fact they had such a passion for the history helped.

Off the back of the museum it was gone 5. We walked back from Darling Harbour enjoying the view of a large cruise ship getting tugged out for the continuation of their trip and then taking in a slushy from a seven 11 and a beer in happy hour before getting our bags. A good day in which we fully took advantage of our late bus out of dodge.

We got to the station for the last trip on the iconic Red buses of Greyhound Australia. And they give us a white bus. Australians. A night without sleep once again beckons.
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