Monday, January 26, 2009

Australia Day 2009

Isn't that something. Today also happened to be Chinese New Year. Not only did my parents give me red packets with good luck money, WHQ's mom also gave me one. Not that I'm expecting one when I greeted her "Gong xi."

WHQ and I went to the city to join in the celebration. Passed through Martin Place on our way to Hyde Park. I was ready to start taking her pictures, but she declined my offer. We had a quick tour of the food stalls around Hyde Park and the vintage cars on display at the NRMA Motorfest, then walked down Macquarie Street. Entrance to Hyde Park Barracks used to be free on past Australia Days. Now, they're going half-price. Checked out The Mint, but nothing much to be seen. No wonder it's free entrance. Didn't join the Sydney Hospital tours anymore. Slipped into the Parliament House just in time. They close at 4pm, and the guys standing in line behind us were not allowed entry any more. Thought of going to St. Stephen's Uniting Church and catching one of the music performances, but they're also closed for the day.

Around 4:30pm we decided to head for Darling Harbour. Bought a couple of cupcakes from The Cupcake Bakery along the way. Started drizzling, so we got wet a bit. Took cover under the Pyrmont Bridge. A few brave souls at the Cockle Bay steps decided to sit out the rain. Spent the time by talking about some serious stuff. By 7pm, the SES boats and some government boats started coming in through the open bridge. That's our cue to go for dinner if we are to catch the fireworks on time.

Long queue at Pancake on the Rocks. I reckon the patrons inside are just sitting pretty and waiting for the rain to stop. Anyway, we got our seats about half an hour later. We were just finishing our chicken Caesar salad and Aussie breakfast (with extra sausages!) when we saw lights flashing and hear loud noises going off. Man, the fireworks spectacular has started without us. By the time we finished our dinner and paid our bill and ran out of the restaurant into the rains, the fireworks is finished. Caught about 10 seconds worth of the finale. Turns out the fireworks display is supposed to start around 8:50pm instead of 9pm as I originally thought. Ah, next year.

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