Sunday was a day off so we went exploring. Anthea dropped us at the Neutral Bay ferry stop and we went across the sparkling, sunny harbor into downtown Sydney. We discovered a free shuttle bus and rode it up George Street to The Strand and Westfield Mall, a swarming shopping center where we needed to buy some walking shoes for Daniella. This was an area with no cars, hundreds of shops, and thousands of Aussies out shopping. We wandered in and out of stores looking at everything. Eventually we came to David Jones department store which seemed equivalent to Macys in New York. To celebrate the arrival of spring they were having their annual flower show, with massive fresh flower arrangements throughout the store.
We also discovered their mouth-watering food court where we had a wonderful lunch to fortify ourselves for the afternoon: green curry chicken and stir-fried asparagus & snow peas.
We wandered out into Hyde Park, full of families out relaxing. There were street entertainers there, including a Beatles tribute band of 4 young guys who looked about 14 (The Brothers) and sounded great. We drifted into the Botanical Gardens and walked back towards the harbor. Spring is bursting out everywhere here. One long pathway was called the spring garden walk and it was fully blooming along both sides. Exotic bird life everywhere, including bright parrots who were quite up afraid of humans, and lots of ibis.
We went into the National Gallery of New South Wales and saw the Archibald Prize show (portraits) and then our favorite part, the Aboriginal art -so gorgeous and inspiring.
The best part of this magical day was yet to come. At 6 pm we met five of our dearest friends here for dinner at a notorious restaurant, Mr. Wong's. Never mind that we had to sign over our first-born child to get a reservation (sorry Annie! You'll love life as a slave in Australia, don't worry). The Chinese food here is some of the best we've ever eaten. The atmosphere is electric and artistic. And seeing Derek and Celia and Verity and Phil was priceless and joyful fun. I hope to soon have a photo of our little gang to post up here. Tomorrow we are going up to the Blue Mountains. Excited!!
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