I think it’s fair to say that all visitors to Sydney go through Circular Quay. Here you have the Harbour ferry terminals to a variety of locations, including the Toronga Zoo. There is the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanic Gardens, The Rocks area, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There are cafes, restaurants, street entertainers, and CROWDS. Yes, I suspect that for most residents of Sydney, this area is one to avoid if possible, like residents of Oahu avoiding Waikiki.
The walk started off with a potentially gruesome observation. Under the Harbour Bridge, police had cordoned off an area right at the edge of the bridge, and had erected a tent. They were not moving excitedly, so whatever had happened, had already happened. My imagination tells me that there was a jumper, who landed where the tent now sat. Let’s hope I was wrong. We kept walking.
The Sydney Opera House tour was interesting. We had taken this tour years ago, and had forgotten everything. In actuality, you could probably pick up everything the guide mentioned in 5 minutes on the worldwide web. The only unique thing was going inside a couple of performance rooms, and with no performance, to me, it was just space. Factoid: The initial cost estimate was $7 million. The final cost was $102 million. Was it worth it? How much is a UNESCO World Heritage Site worth to a city, and a nation?
For lunch, we had an expensive treat from our daughter in a little cafe with a million dollar view in the shade of the Opera House.
Yesterday, we took the city bus to the Toronga Zoo. I first visited the zoo in 1988 when we were visiting my brother, Paul, who was living and working in Woomera at the time, Katelin was 2 months old! So her visit this time was her second, and she had good reason to not remember the first trip at all. All I really wanted to see were the platypus, and there was a new exhibit that really made them easy to see, swimming in the water.
I have mixed feelings about zoos. On the one hand, I’ve seen and appreciated some great zoos (Toronga Zoo is one of them). I’ve also visited some really crappy, depressing zoos. When a zoo accepts an animal, I believe there must be a commitment from cradle to grave for the care of that animal, even if it gets moved to a different facility. And appropriate behavioral enrichment must take a priority over the visitor experience.
Speaking of animals, I went for my cat walk this morning. I walked in a neighborhood with a significant amount of trash and food waste on the sidewalks. No cats, no rats (however, it was 9 AM).