Saturday Morning in North Sydney

There are so many beautiful suburbs to live in Sydney and we really lucked out when we found this place in Lavender Bay. We’re on the lower north shore so we try to patronize the businesses in North Sydney, particularly the Sat. AM farmer’s market. What’s especially nice about this wonderful mild climate is that these markets are available year round. So many great vendors, not just fresh fruits and veggies but also artists booths and vintage shops. I found a “Country Road” cotton/rayon sweater (jumper) for $15, easily $50-75 brand new. Also picked up a bottle of local olive oil and some nice, crusty rosemary artisan bread. We also found a fabulous vintage furniture vendor who could turn any piece of junk into a work of art. Can’t recall her name at the moment though. :-/ I wanted so much to buy a vanity and matching upholstered chair for $250 but considering we’re still buying “essentials”, I sadly had to pass it up. :-(

Later on we stopped for a pizza and a beer were shocked to see kangaroo on the menu! :-( But, seeing they are similar to deer in America, and we eat venison there, it’s really not that shocking after all. Personally, I can’t eat it but I don’t judge others who do! I will say though that pizzas are a bit different here in general. Australians love beetroot on everything, from pizzas to burgers.

Aussie Phrase of the Day: “Crack A Coldie” - open a beer

New Friends, more utility entertainment and a Walk over the Sydney Harbor Bridge

TPG was supposed to come back today. As of end of day yesterday, we had not heard back, when exactly, a TPG technician would come back to install our internet connection. Jim receives a text at 5PM last night, the tech is to arrive between 12 and 4, please respond within one hour or reschedule! WTH is wrong with these people?!

9:15AM - someone is buzzing my apartment. It’s Energy Australia, to read my meter. I did not ask anything else. So done with them.

Last night Jim mentioned that he befriended a colleague, Craig, also an American. Since he and his wife have been here about three weeks longer than us, they are a few steps ahead of us in the “settling-in” process. They also have phone and internet w/ TPG. Once his phone was set up TPG confirmed the account with
“Dale.” What happens next sounds like something out of a Monty Python skit.
Craig: But my name is Craig.
TPG: No, we have Dale, yadda, yadda
Craig: But that is not me
Just to be sure, Craig called the phone # and sure enough, someone else (not his wife) answered the phone.
Craig: Who is this?
Stranger: This is Dale yadda, yadda
Craig: This is supposed to be my phone #
Stranger: Well this is my phone #!

Back to my own internet woes…
I continue to wait for “Michael” from TPG, who called at 12Noon to say he was on his way. It’s now 1:30 so I called him to be sure
he was still on his way.
Michael: I was already there but no one answered the doorbell.
Me: I have not left, no one rang my bell (angry voice)
Michael: I rang door #4 but no one answered.
Me: We are in unit #6, why did you ring unit 4?! (grrrr)

After all that, Michael determined that he was unable to connect me to the internet because the wiring required a special adapter that
I needed to buy.

Time to get out of this apartment and walk off my frustration. Walked over the iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge for the first time.

But first, a little more excitement in my building before I leave for my walk. Someone’s alarm went off in my building. My first visit w/ the fire dept!

Fire trucks parked in front of our building.

Fireman examining the fire panel in the lobby.

What an amazing sight! It’s so difficult to describe it’s imposing size. It seems no matter where you are in the city, there is always at least a glimpse of it in your view. I met Jim after work in the CBD to go out for dinner. We found a happening spot called the The Office hotel and unlike your typical work office, we enjoyed a fine atmosphere of good food, spirits and music.

Today’s word - BUGGERED: ruined, broken, tired

Joggers can be seen running over the bridge on a regular basis.


View from the bridge you can see this incredible vista of the harbor, opera house, botanic gardens, CBD, Circular Quay

Looking in the other direction, north, is Kirribilli, considered one of the toniest suburbs in Sydney

Still Waiting for the First Meter Read (sigh)

(rant) Yesterday was not the best day in Oz, waiting all day for Ausgrid to read the meter. They have to do a “first read” to begin the electricity billing process. What a convoluted and almost certainly corrupt system of cronyism of utilities. In 2014 the Australian government released utility companies to form a system of retailers and corresponding distributors that offer gas and power to customers. Since March 20th, we have been trying to set up gas & power in our name. Yesterday we had an appointment with Energy Australia (retailer) between 8am - 6pm. I waited ALL DAY for someone to show – no one ever did.

Called several times, Energy Australia, then AusGrid, neither knows what the other is doing, so poorly orchestrated. One tells me I need to be here, the other says no, the technician has access to the building- ugh - which is it? Then AusGrid said they set up their appointments through the retailers in the AM and PM (7-12 or 12-5.) Hmmm… So I called En. Aus. back, they knew nothing about the time options. I called again at 5PM ready to explode and AuGr tells me, no one was ever coming out today, my unit was scheduled for Friday, 8/4! Grrr!! I called EnAus to confirm this and it was indeed 7/4 as I had remembered it and I even had a confirmation # to prove it! They had no idea why AuGr had our apt for 8/4. No joke.

Simultaneously, I waited for TPG to set up our internet wi-fi/phone/dsl and was told someone was coming out between 12-5. A Telstra technician showed at 11AM to do preliminary work before TPG hooks up the line from the main in the cellar. Whatever… just glad someone was doing something! This is a pretty old building, charming “Arts & Crafts style” but the cellar was a site to see, crumbling and filthy. I worry a bit about the foundation of this building, yikes! A mass of wires and pipes, amazing that it all functions properly.

Well, not long after the Telstra tech was here and gone, we received a call from TPG later in the day and now we need yet another appt with another technician who can set up the internal cabling from the MDF room to our apartment, another $60! Did the previous tenant really not have internet access?! So, we still wait, since 20/3, for internet in our apt. (/end rant)

Last night I thought I would check with a neighbor, in apt #2, to ask if this was the typical protocol for utilities set up. Young, good-looking guy answered the door. Very casual, “no worries”, they (the utility co.’s) just ring everyone’s doorbells until someone let’s them in! It’s hit or miss basically. He, Alistair, also told me that his apt was broken into today and the police would be there any moment! I was sickened and shocked as he was taking it so well. Apparently they had bent the bars on the bathroom window and slipped in and out w/o anyone noticing, stealing Alistair’s laptop. I was home all day, frequently going outside, out front looking for the utility folks and never saw any suspicious activity. Forensics and police were back again today too. I still can’t believe they were able to bend the metal bars. Not feeling very safe here now even though we are in such a great neighborhood.

Oh well, next post should hopefully be a little more upbeat! Until next time…

Today’s Aussie phrase: “Act the Goat” = playing the fool

Enjoy a few pix of my building and beautiful neighborhood!

This is my apartment, #6, conveniently located directly across from the lift = elevator. The little door on the left opens to a spot where the milkman once left bottles of milk for the original residents.

The lift, check out all that beautiful original woodwork inside.

The Sharp building 55 Lavender St., where Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban own a penthouse suite. Although rumor has it they sold it not that long ago.

Our building with all the mature palm and fig trees in front.

A typical find around the area!

A letter we all received regarding the break-in in our building, although it was Lavender St, not Walker.

One of the volunteers that tends to Wendy’s Secret garden, across from our building.

One of many rainbow lorikeets that take up residence high up in the palm trees in Clark park, also across from our building.

A regular and his scottie in Clark park.

More beautiful lorikeets

Telstra guy examining the wiring in the cellar…

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