It was a hot day, the year we moved in, and it was a hot day, this year also.
We had forgotten it was School Holidays, and when we first arrived to attempt to visit the Aquarium, it was packed with excited children, in snaking long queues!
We decided to beat a hasty retreat, and have some lunch instead.
It had been about 6 years since I had visited the Casino, so we decided to walk
in my case, hobble over the Bridge at Darling Harbour, to the 'other side' to see about lunching in the Casino.
Huge mistake! The shabby seedy 'joint' is being renovated. Finding entry was almost impossible. We encountered some Asian Tourists, who were also having difficulty finding how to get into the place.
Eventually we gained entry to a floor, which, it appeared had a Private Gaming Only area- so we ignored that!- as well as a Gaming Room.
We met a huge Mountain of a Man, brown of skin, huge of smile, and politeness itself. Mr Obliging and Extremely Pleasant Brown Mountain Man, informed us that Son ~ if we wished to proceed into the Gaming Room ~ would need to check his backpack into the downstairs front desk,
what desk?, what downstairs?, the only downstairs we had seen was pavement at the foot of arduous stairs!
Stairs for me, are very difficult to negotiate.
However Mr O & E P Brown Mountain Man, gave us complicated directions on how to reach this area, and thence. how to proceed to the Restaurant area.
We proceeded ~limped, in my case~ to some lifts, where we once again encountered the bewildered Asian Tourists, who agreed with us, they did not really know where they were going either. Eventually, after trekking through what seemed miles through the cold and ugly car park, we found the lifts that would supposedly take us to the Desk Area, then we could apparently be allowed access to the Restaurant Area.
After standing politely in a stuffy small area waiting for one of the 3 lifts to arrive, we were dismayed to find a crowded lift, full of hostile faces, daring us to enter. We stepped back, only to be almost flattened by extremely rude ...shall we say, tourists, shoving us out of the way, and barging into the already full lifts.
It seems some countries are so used to this type of behaviour it was accepted! We stood, astonished, as 3 more slow lifts came and went, with behaviour quite the same as before. There seemed a never ending stream of rude, pushing, sweating ignorance, just waiting to outrush us into the already groaning lifts.
We decided lunch was not worth that, so we headed off back, to take the hideous trip back to Mr O E & P B M M, who decided to 'illegally' let us through the Gaming Room, with Son's Backpack still attached.
After threading our way through the sad, tired & disgusting looking Gaming Room, we reached Mr Blond Mountain Man, who was equally O E & P. He told us he should not let us into the Restaurant area, but seeing we were there already, he would.
After reading the Price list, and deciding we did not really want to purchase the Restaurant, or even Buy Shares in the Silverware, we beat a hasty Retreat. Mr Blond MM was quite understanding, and allowed us to retreat the way we had come- in spite of the illegality of it all.
We once again encountered Mr O E & P B M M, who cheerily bade us a goodbye, and fond wish for us to Enjoy Our Day.
The Casino seemed a very sad, shabby grubby and seedy place. I felt it an ugly blot on the lovely face of Darling Harbour. Just my impression.
After limping ever more slowly and painfully back across the Harbour, we found a place to dine, which did not include prices for Permanant Residence or Lease, or Puchase of Shares in the Business, or indeed the Silverware. It did however have seagull access, and the screams of a small girl, whose meat was stolen by a cheeky seagull, who ripped the food almost from her mouth, bore testament to the fact that it was a somewhat 'risky' place to dine.
I was rather shocked to see ashtrays on the tables, and could scarcely believe they could allow smoking in a place for dining, even though it is, 'outdoors'.
The food was very nice, which, after our fruitless trek to the Casino, was most welcome. We had worked up quite hearty appetites, with all the frustrations and tramping, and hobbling in search of sustenance.
We were glad we had waited to try to gain entry to the Aquarium. The queues were almost nil, and we did get in quite quickly. However the visit was rather disappointing for many reasons, not least being the crowdedness- rudeness again with pushing tourists, obviously used to such rude behaviour.
Many of the viewing windows of the more interesting sealife were far too small for crowds, and it was, overall, not a very pleasant experience.
The shabbiness was disappointing too. One would expect better, for our wonderful Darling Harbour, and the fact is is quite the Tourist 'attraction'.
We both agreed later, that our Local Aquarium Shop is much more pleasant, and a lot of the displays are much superior~ plus it is free, and one can spend as long as one likes studying the wonderful displays.
Overall it was a nice day away from my 'Real Life' which is increasingly sad and I am struggling to maintain some balance.
America, Don't Cross the River