Day 253 - Eric the Eel

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Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney » Darling Harbour
March 12th 2007
Published: August 10th 2007
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We had a busy final day in Australia planned, beginning with a ferry ride to Olympic Park. The ride there was pretty scenic, and we must have passed thousands of yachts moored in various little bays along the way. One English gentleman got kicked off for trespassing in a ‘crew only’ zone in order to take a photo, and the 2 staff who reprimanded him had obviously missed the ‘how to diffuse a situation with an angry passenger using diplomacy’ section of their training. Even a quick visit to Olympic Park takes longer than you might think: 40 minutes ferry each way plus 20 minutes each way bus transfer the other end, plus waiting around time. We didn’t have all that long so only had about an hour to look round the venues. The Telstra Olympic Stadium itself is very impressive, even just from the outside, and it has to be said that the impression we left with - that it looks exactly like a slightly older version of the City of Manchester Stadium - probably doesn’t do it justice. There is an area outside resembling hundreds of digeridoos (sp?) placed in the ground. We did get to go inside the Aquatic Centre, the venue most famous for the ‘achievement’ of Eric the Eel in completing his 50m badge. Ian Thorpe also won a few golds here. There was a children’s gala in full swing, with ridiculously fast times being recorded. And as if one 50m pool wasn’t impressive enough, they actually have 2 in the same room here. The second one even has a moveable floor, possibly so it can be used for competitive swimming and for water polo.

We caught the ferry back to the Circular Key ferry interchange, and immediately caught another one out to Manly to meet Kathryn, one of Gemma’s friends from Ernst & Young. She took us to have a look at Manly beach - far more peaceful than Bondi and just as attractive - before we had a couple of drinks and a Max Brenner Ecuadorian Dark Orange Hot Chocolate and rushed back to the hostel, finishing at a run.

We caught the train to the airport, endured a dreadfully slow check-in at Gulf Air and spent our remaining Aussie dollars. At 10:20 we took off, hoping that we’d get dinner out of the way quickly so we could get a few hours sleep on the 8 hour flight. For some reason though it took them until gone 1am, obviously disappointing but that was nothing compared to the news that they only show Casino Royale on the Singapore to Sydney flight and not the other direction.

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