Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Sydney Thoughts

I saw a lad kick a train station ticket barrier and it then opened for him. I think I can still land a kick. Why did we bother to put $50 on our Opal public transport cards? All we needed to do was kick a train barrier but then you can't kick a bus driver and with a $2.50 Senior cap for public transport in NSW including ferries, who would bother. The Senior cap in Melbourne is $4.50 and we don't have public transport ferries.

The bus route changes in the south eastern suburbs are untenable as I see it and must be reconsidered. I expect there will be changes. TfNSW wanted to dump passengers from the south east at the tram terminus to change to the light rail to complete their journey, adding hugely to their travelling time and bad luck if you wanted, as many do, to travel to Oxford Street. There is an interchange at Kingston that could be used but I can't see a possibility of one being built at Randwick. I am truly surprised this was even suggested. 

Generally public transport is good in Sydney, aside from as mentioned being dumped nearly half a kilometre away from Circular Quay when the quay is the bus destination. I think worse is the absurdly long distance to walk from the Central Station bus stop to the entrance of Central. It took an absurdly long time for the pedestrian lights to show green to cross Pitt Street.

My city Melbourne is referred to as the culture capital of Australia, the sporting capital of Australia and the food capital of Australia. It pains me to say Sydney does basic cafe and restaurant food as we eat better and maybe 10 to 15 percent cheaper than Melbourne. Much better. You can now get good coffee everywhere in Sydney which wasn't always the case. We've had some truly terrible coffee in Sydney to the standard of a dishwater coffee at a country bakery.

Melbourne people are known for wearing black and this goes back decades, but many Sydneysiders seem to have now embraced black clothing. Still, there is no doubt that Sydneysiders dress more casually than Melbournians. 

During past Sydney visits I never noticed commuter cycling, but it is big now. Some effort has been put into cycling lanes along with other cycling infrastructure and that is great to see.

Around Sydney Harbour it is truly beautiful and never ceases to amaze me. The harbour makes it a great tourist city. The Blue Mountains are wonderful, but in between there are many areas of bland and unattractive housing, lots of social problem areas and generally not desirable places to live. It is the same in all large Australian cities.

While it has struck me in the past, I really noticed it this visit. Sydney people are much more friendly towards strangers. Maybe even staff in shops and cafes etc are friendlier. But then customers seemed more friendly towards staff too.

We are all Australians, but depending where we live, we might be a bit different.

A couple of things I haven't mentioned. I did say Melbourne had gone into lockdown in our absence which meant the demand for air travel dropped and flights were cancelled. We were returning by Virgin as its time suited us best. Hotel check out time in Australia is 10am and our flight was for 11am. On the Friday, Saturday and Sunday that flight was cancelled but only an hour to the next one. We were lucky. Monday, the noon flight was cancelled and the 11am went ahead.

Before we met James for a catch up, he kindly sent me a link to download the Services NSW venue check in app. It not something I had given any thought to. In spite of Melbourne having more COVID outbreaks than Sydney, Sydneysiders are much more serious about checking in to venues. Well, they were. Melbournians are now taking checking in seriously. With our app we just check in. With the NSW app, you check in and check out and it was hard to remember to check out. I often did it the next day when I tried to check in to somewhere else. Where the NSW app is really good is that you can add a dependant and when you or your dependant, I suppose that can mean partner, check in you just and once entered the first time just check a box to include a partner. Brilliant, but of course Victoria had to reinvent the wheel and build its own app and not include such a useful addition. Oh how I hate reinventions of wheels. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Town Hall Tuesday

This is the last inner suburban town hall I know of and aside for one more post about town halls, we have reached the end. I wonder what similar photo theme I could follow up with? 

The town hall was completed in 1895 and was added to at different times during the twentieth century. In the 1990s local council amalgamations the City of Preston joined with the City of Northcote to become the new City of Darebin.

My eyes were focused on the building on the right with the name Preston City Hall.

Well, this is a bit of a disappointment.


But wait, now I see the main building. It is impressive and I liked it. It was worth the effort to see it.


Monday, June 14, 2021

It is was quite good to see many people who do more than just their paid job awarded Queens Birthday honours. There were the usual crowd though who receive awards for just doing their job.

I fear this is sexist, but then I've paid out on male politicians aplenty in the past.

One of the nastiest, outspoken, cruel and vicious political operators and media performers, although not an elected politician, received a Queens Birthday honour.

Shame on whoever nominated her and shame on the committee that approved her award. 

How the **** did Peta Credlin ever receive such an honour? She has done nothing for society except being very divisive. What a disgrace.

Photo from The Guardian. 

Sydney Day 7 (and Monday Mural)

In theory a trip to Manly should be straight forward. We could walk a few minutes to Museum Station and catch the train with one intermediate station to Circular Quay or one of the Oxford Street buses displaying Circular Quay. We made the grave error of choosing the bus.

The bus dumped us on the southern side of Bridge Street and we then had an over 350 metre walk to the quay. More annoyingly after we were kicked off the bus, it moved further along towards the quay where it waited for to make its next trip.  At least it was a downhill walk but really if a bus has a destination of Circular Quay, that is where it should go. After investigating, from what I could work out, most Oxford Street buses do go to the quay, just not the one we were on. We grumbled about it to each other.

The Manly ferry has a clock face timetable, meaning it leaves at the same clock time every thirty minutes. I went to toilet while R double checked the time at the wharf. Staff informed him the ferry wasn't sailing and there would be a bus replacement.  The bus turned up on the ferry time. I never realise until after it happens, but an Asian man pushed past me to get on the bus. The bus wasn't crowded. Earlier in the week we had a caught a ferry to Double Bay and we've caught the ferry to Manly many times, so I thought the bus trip might be interesting, and it was. Surprisingly the bus took the same time to travel to Manly as the ferry but it was Sunday with light traffic. One poor chap at the quay made a run for the about the depart bus and profusely thanked the driver for waiting for him. As the bus swung towards the Cahill Expressway and the harbour bridge, the man realised that it was not an Oxford Street bus. There was no where to let him off until we reached the north shore whereby the driver dropped him opposite a bus stop to return to the city.

We had lunch at our usual excellent place, Fusion Point, and it never disappoints. We watched surfers for a bit. Melbourne had gone into a one week lock down after a COVID outbreak and I intended having my hair cut soon after we returned home. We return Monday, one week lock down ends Thursday, but I had my suspicions and had my hair cut in Manly. Cash only at the weekends, Sir! Not sure what that is about. I was right. The Melbourne lock down was extended by another week. 

The bus driver had told us when we left the bus at Manly that buses would depart from the same stop to get back to the city.

We went to the bus stop at the correct time and a bus did not appear and there were few people at the stop. I heard three hoots from the Manly Wharf as the ferry departed. I thought all ferries had been cancelled because of rough seas but apparently it was only the ferry we wanted to catch to Manly. Half an hour later we were on the ferry back to the quay it was the roughest Manly ferry trip I have undertaken. I tried to film it, but the footage did not show the rolling of the ferry.

We had another terrific meal that night upstairs at the Courthouse Hotel. Home time tomorrow, to Victorian lockdown. We had to fill in online permits using our phones to return to the state where we live. 

Here are a few Manly photos. 

Objects in the sea.


Here we go. A couple are up.


Body surfing?


Well done surfer dudes.


I left this photo of Central out when posting. It's undergoing a huge internal renovation.


The Corso, quite busy. 


I think this mural is in Market Place.



And some pleasant art on a utility box.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Sydney Day 6

Not only does Sydney have new tram lines, sorry a light rail system, it has a new 'Metro' driverless train travelling 24 kilometres from the suburban Chatswood train station to its terminus at Tallawong north west of Sydney city.  The Metro is being extended to the city and then will go on to Sydney's south western suburbs. It is fast and efficient, but I found it a bit noisy and rough, and I dislike sitting sideways more than I dislike sitting backwards. It is rather a contrast to Sydney's normal suburban trains that are superbly quiet, smooth and comfortable. 

We caught a bus to (near) Central Station, and a train to Chatswood. A woman was kicking off at the bus driver about how the bus went past the entrance to Central to a stop quite a distance away. The bus driver was not a transport planner and while her point was valid, she was complaining to the wrong person.

Chatswood was an interesting and quite vibrant area with many young and Asian people out and about. We had a nice brunch in a cafe after walking about a bit and then caught the Metro as far as Castle Hill. The train travelled most of the way in tunnels, so there was little to see externally. The Castle Hill Station was below ground level and we rose to the surface to view some historical panels, but there was little historical about Castle Hill Station itself being being bare, sparse and soulless, though no doubt efficient.

You can if your eyes are inhuman for viewing distances, see from one end of the Metro train to the other, something like seven carriages. The best that can be said about the Metro is that it is fast and the live onboard information displays are very good.


For the return journey we boarded the front carriage and the had the forward looking window. Exciting, not.


As some English people say, I got wrong from R, for pretending to try to open the emergency driving controls. We saw similar emergency driver controls on London's DLR.


Just once we out of a tunnel! We caught the Metro back to the other interchange at Epping Station and caught a quite fast and very comfortable suburban train back to the city. The outing took longer than we thought. R is only vaguely interesting in public transport and I try to make such trips not too arduous and interesting.


It was Saturday party night in Sydney's gay mile, but we forwent that and had the best ever curry meal at Tandoori Palace. It was about our third visit over the years, but by golly, was it good this night. The curries were to die for.

Hey R, we haven't been to Manly by ferry this visit yet. We must remedy that tomorrow, our last full day in Sydney.