Here is another of my adventures from a few months ago, that I haven’t had the chance to blog about yet!
This was back in the beginning of Sept – before Paul got his Scary Sickie and had to be rushed to hospital and my Glaucoma Sickie got out of control…and all the stressy, horrible things that have happened since then. (Hsin-Yi gets a bit sad when she looks at these photos because it was one of the last happy adventures we had together as a family, before yucky things happened…)
One of the most famous places in Sydney – where all the Tourist Humans head to – is the Sydney Opera House, and the waterfront area around it, called Circular Quay and The Rocks.
This is a really beautiful part of Sydney – not just because it is by the water, with views of the harbour and Harbour Bridge, but also because all the buildings are the beautiful, old, antique kind (“with character” my humans say!) and all the streets are nice and wide and clean and there is no graffiti or rubbish or peeling paint or dingy shops or ugly metal fences everywhere (what a shame the rest of Sydney can’t be like this!).
The Rocks is one of the oldest parts of Sydney.
White Humans first arrived here in 1788 – they were a kind of naughty people called “convicts” from the faraway place called Britain and they took the land from the Aboriginals who had been living here for thousands of years.
Lots of ships started arriving here and lots of Sailor Humans and other interesting people lived here, although it was quite a “rough” place!
Today, it is full of art galleries and posh restaurants & cafes and fancy shops called boutiques – and it’s not “rough” anymore – it’s a nice place to wander around.
Of course, I couldn’t live for a year in Sydney and not visit the Sydney Opera House! My humans had been wanting to take me to visit for ages but we had to wait until winter time when it would be cooler for me to walk. As you can see, even in winter, Australia is a really sunny place!
We parked our car machine in one of the streets of The Rocks and then walked all the way around Circular Quay to the Opera House.
Of course, whenever I go out, I always get LOTS of attention…I think a lot of Tourist Humans went home with pictures of me on their camera machine – hee! hee! People always want to come up and pat me and ask questions about me and give me cuddles – I love all the attention. I met another doggie also out for a walk around Circular Quay – he was a cute little “white fluffy”, although we didn’t get to ask his name…
There are 28 ferries in the Sydney Ferries fleet – all different types, from catamarans to traditional old-fashioned ferries. And hey, we didn’t even notice – until my readers pointed it out – that the ferry behind us in the photos from last week, before I went into hospital, was called “Sirius” – the Dog Star! What a cool coincidence, huh? We looked up the Sydney Ferries website which gives details of all their boats and we found Sirius there!
Although we were halfway round to the Opera House by now, it was getting REALLY hot. Even though this was back in the middle of winter and the temperatures were low, the sun is so strong in Australia that it can still get really hot out in the sunshine. I was getting very panty, so my humans started getting worried about me. There weren’t any water taps around to wet me & cool me down – so my humans decided the best thing to do was cool me down from the inside…with an ice-lolly!
Mm…it was a rainbow one and it sure was icy and yummy!
Well, after that, I felt much better and we could continue walking around the waterfront to the Opera House…
On the way there, we had lovely views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge – this is one of the most famous icons of Sydney – and Australia, as well. It is the biggest steel arch bridge in the world and took 6 years to build. You can go on a special climb to the top of the bridge but it costs a LOT of money paper and it’s a bit difficult & scary if you’re scared of heights! My humans didn’t do that – but a long time ago, when they first visited Australia as Tourist Humans themselves, they went up the Pylon Lookout, where you can get just as nice views and it’s much safer & easier to do (eg. if you have human pups) – and it only costs about $12! (There are 200 steps to the top, though, so you have to be pretty fit!)
My humans say the Harbour Bridge is much nicer to look at from far away – driving across it is Hsin-Yi’s WORST nightmare ‘coz there are like 6,278 lanes and they’re all really narrow and everybody else driving is so aggressive and grumpy and driving really fast and if you don’t know which lane you’re getting off, then you’re in Serious Trouble and all the lanes criss-cross and get really confusing…Hsin-Yi loses 5 years off her life every time she has to drive across the Harbour Bridge. Besides, it’s not that pretty up close – you just see lots of metal bars when you’re actually on it and can’t really look out see the view of the harbour.
But it’s sure nice to take photos with, from far away!
Anyway, we were walking almost to the end of Bennelong Point now – that is the name of the peninsula that the Opera House sits on, at the very tip…
…Yay! I see it!
Shall I tell you something really cool? The Sydney Opera House was designed by a Dane!!
Well, OK, not a doggie Dane – a human Dane, from Denmark. You see, when Sydney wanted to build a special opera house for concerts and things, they ran a worldwide contest for the best design – and a young man in Denmark, called Jørn Utzon, won the contest. Some people say he got his idea from looking at the segments of an orange or at seashells…anyway, it was the most beautiful & unusual idea for a building that anybody had ever thought of!
The only problem was – it looked really cool in a drawing but how on earth would you build it? Nobody had ever tried to build a curvy building before and all the Engineer Humans & Architect Humans were scratching their heads. It was costing lots and lots of money paper too and taking much longer than they thought…there were so many problems that the humans all got grumpy with each other (typical humans!) – and they told Jørn Utzon to go back to Denmark and wouldn’t let him work with them on the Opera House anymore. So he took his family and left Australia – and he never returned to see his creation again in his lifetime…isn’t that sad?
Anyway, they finally finished the Opera House in 1973 – it had taken 10 years longer than they expected and cost so much more money paper! (they originally thought it would cost $7 million to build – and it ended up costing $102 million!) But still, it has become so famous as a symbol of Australia that everybody thinks it was worth it.
And there is a happy ending to the story too – in 1999, the NSW Government finally decided to make up with Jørn Utzon and they became friends again – and he helped to design some new rooms for the Opera House. He also got a great prize (Pritzker Prize for Architecture) on the Opera House’s 30th birthday. He still never saw it, though, ‘coz by then he was an old man and it was too far for him to come to Australia in the Big Flying Machine – but his son came for him, to receive the prizes and awards and be at the special party.
The Sydney Opera House is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has over 7 million visitors each year! If you ever get the chance to visit, you should definitely do the Opera House tour – my humans did that and they said it was really good. Sadly, doggies are not allowed inside the Opera House so I didn’t get to see inside but my humans said it is really cool.
Well, it was time to head back now…but first, we had a little mooch along the tourist shops…lots of them were selling a famous kind of sheepskin boots that are made in Australia, called UGG Boots. (Actually, Hsin-Yi is wearing a pair in these photos, although hers are Kiwi ones from New Zealand! ) Hsin-Yi says they do keep your feet amazingly warm & toasty and are really soft & comfy to wear!
Hmm…I don’t know about the boots but I do like the look of those stuffies!
On the way back to our car machine, we stopped by the famous The Rocks Markets, which are on every weekend, plus Friday too. We didn’t actually go in to walk through the stalls ‘coz it was already very busy and full of people and a bit too crowded to take a giant doggie like me into – plus Hsin-Yi is always very careful about me not “disturbing” people – she thinks that doggies already suffer from a lot of “anti-dog attitude” and she doesn’t want to give anybody any more reasons to complain about doggies. All you need is one rude doggie and one irresponsible owner to give us all a bad name!
So we are always careful when we go out to be a good doggie ambassador – especially for big doggies – and we try to be polite and not do anything that might annoy people, such as get in people’s way or scare them by going too close without being invited (remember, not all people like doggies and that’s fair enough) or do any rude things like jumping up or grabbing food or leaving poo without picking it up…
If people just see me being very calm & polite, even in busy, crowded places, and think how beautiful and well-behaved I am – then they go away thinking in their minds that big doggies – and doggies in general – aren’t that bad after all. And so the next time they’re renting their house or opening a cafe or planning a park or any other thing – they might be a bit more petfriendly.
When Hsin-Yi got me as a puppy, one of her dreams was always to make me a good ambassador for doggies – that is one reason why she spent so much time & effort on my training & socialisation – to make sure that I always impress people wherever I go. She thinks it’s an important job and the best thing we can do to help doggies everywhere.
Well, it was getting awfully hot by now, because it was late morning and time to head home – but of course, no adventure is complete without a muffin!
So me & Hsin-Yi went to wait in the shade of one of the pub entrances while Paul went off in search of a cafe or bakery that would sell muffins…
…gosh, he took ages! We got quite bored waiting!
But finally he was back – and he was carrying something that smelled very good! Ooh – what was it?
It was a homemade Almond Meal Muffin and it was still warm from the oven…YUM! My humans were laughing because I was so excited and drooling so much that when I shook myself, bits of slobber went all over my head…
In fact, it smelled so amazing that Hsin-Yi – the total pig – decided that she was going to have a bite first. Huh! Not fair! That was supposed to be MY muffin!!!!! Can you believe it – she ate the whole top of it off and only left me the bottom half??!!
And she didn’t even notice that I was grumpy with her – she just kept giggling & squealing and going on about how the drool on my head looked like I was wearing a “little crown”..
Humph. Who cared about stupid drools on heads – I was more interested in muffins in tummies!
Anyway, Paul promised to buy me a whole muffin for myself next time, which made me feel a bit mollified. We had a nice walk back to our car machine – oh, and before we left, of course we had to get the usual family self-timer! (Some people take a tripod with them but my humans are lazy and always just look for a handy ledge or bin or bench or something to prop the camera machine on)
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed coming along to visit The Rocks and the Sydney Opera House with me. Or maybe some of you have already been yourself? (Well, I suppose many of my Australian friends & readers might have!)
I’m still having to wear the Stupid Cone of Shame sometimes – but I’m getting used to it now and don’t mind it so much – and when I’m wearing the cone, I’m not crashing into things so much anymore!
As for walking around and doing things since my surgery – I haven’t had any trouble at all. Well, to be honest with you, I haven’t been able to see properly on that side for months now and I’ve been completely blind in my left eye since that 2nd Sudden Pressure Spike from my Glaucoma Sickie, which was nearly 2 months ago…so I’ve had a lot of time to get used to things!
I know some of you were worried about me turning left and stuff like that – but don’t worry – I feel completely the same as before they took out my eye (except without the ouchies!) and I have no trouble turning left or walking past things.
In fact, my humans have been watching me carefully – especially when we go outside the house – and I haven’t smacked into anything once!
* Now that things have settled down a bit, we’re going to try our best to start coming around and visit your blogs and catch up on your news! We feel very bad that you have all been so lovely to keep visiting me and leaving me comments – even though we haven’t been able to “return the gesture”, because Hsin-Yi has just been too busy & stressy with everything that’s been happening. But anyway, we’re going to try now! So please bear with us – it might take us a while to get round to everybody but we’re on our way!