We then jumped into a big taxi that took us to our hotel: the Intercontinental. This is where Oprah stayed, so we knew it had to be good. We didn't get a suite, but we did get a spectacular view.
After we checked in, most of us got a much tastier breakfast at Pancakes on the Rocks. I didn't take any pictures, but let's just say that they have a lot of pancakes there. I go there every time that I go to Sydney. Afterwards, I took a much-needed nap on the biggest and most comfortable pillows I have ever sunken my head into. After that, Al and I walked around to see if we could find a styrofoam cooler and a hearty supply of beer for the evening's festivities. We came back empty-handed and soaking of sweat. It was very hot out there. At least we had wine. More on that later.
Look at our views!
To start, we had pickled baby heirloom vegetables, Edith's Ash and grape gel. Are you starting to see why I was confused? The vegetables were a combination of tomatoes and carrots, and they were beautifully placed on the plate. They actually delicately peeled the bottom and sides of the skin on one of the small tomatoes and flipped it up inside-out on the top so that it looked like a flower. You can kind of see it in the left corner. The green and red dots are different sauces, so there were lots of tasty varieties. There was also a soft cheese (I'm not sure what it was, but it tasted like brie), so I was very pleased. I cleared my plate and then ate the rest of Al's veggies.
The third dish was a Wagyu sirloin, kromesky, sarladaise potato and red wine vinegar juis (it's funny how my spell check on here is going crazy. I guess it doesn't know any of these words either). This was divine. I wouldn't have shared this with anybody. I used to never eat steak, but now I'll have small bites of it every once in a while. This seemed to melt in my mouth and made me wanting more with every bite. The sauces were also great for dipping. The meat in the middle was breaded and lightly fried. That was also perfect. So were the potatoes. I could have easily had a second helping of that plate.
We also had some drinks with dinner. We left feeling full, but not too full. I actually felt depressed when I left, because I did't know the next time I would be able to get food that good! Thank you, Etch! You made all of us happy. Really, if you can make my dad clean both of his dessert plates (and he never eats dessert), then you have done well!
On our walk over, I caught a very blurry picture of police on horseback patrolling the area outside of the Royal Botanic Gardens. There were hoards of people. We were lucky to have gotten tickets in advance, because people without tickets literally camped out the night before to get a decent spot and view of the fireworks.
I, of course, couldn't get any pictures that remotely resembled a firework in the sky. I tried again and again to get a good photo, but I finally decided that it was more important that I try to enjoy myself. I put the camera away. The fireworks lit up the entirety of Sydney Harbour. There were sparks flying off the bridge and illuminating the sky. There were all kinds of fun shapes and variations. It was impossible to pull my eyes away.
It was well worth every penny for a good view. All in all, sobriety and all, it was the perfect night. We planned to go out to some pubs afterwards, but everything was packed with people. We were also exhausted. I was thrilled to wake up on January 1st feeling refreshed and NOT hung over!
Manly Beach is a famous Sydney beach, although it's not quite as popular as Bondi. This is appealing to many people, because you won't always be competing for towel space during the summer months. I've already been to Bondi twice, so we decided to try something new.
Manly is on the far opposite side of Sydney Harbour, so the best way to get there is by ferry. We were less than a five minute walk from Circular Quay (I LOVED our location), so it was very easy for us to get there. We missed the first ferry, so we had to wait about 30 minutes to catch the next one. We were first in line, so we got our choices of spots. We decided to stand outside on the front of the boat. We wanted the best views.
Here we are, leaving the ferry dock!
The Last Day :(
I don't look happy in the photo, but I was enjoying my noodles and mojito very much.
Here is my dad sitting in the lounge in the lobby of the Intercontinental that night. It was so beautiful. I'm not sure why we didn't take more photos. There was a gorgeous old-fashioned elevator just to to left of him.
In other worlds, I can't believe that Brazil and southeast Asia are also having terrible flooding. It's so bad here, but people are getting by day by day. The water has now spread to New South Wales and Victoria. Look at this from last week (this is from Queensland).
The amount of support for the flood victims is remarkable. There are volunteers from all over the place helping clean up. I heard that there were 90 buses in Brisbane picking up volunteers and taking them around, and those buses kept emptying out and filling up with more people. It's all very inspiring.
Okay, good night friends! I hope your eyes are still in your sockets!