Our Public Transport Woes

The kids are loving public transport in Sydney.

And I’ve got to admit, it’s a brilliant set up you’ve got down here. Everything seems to run on time and be reasonably priced and Opal cards make it so easy.

I confess, though, we have had an issue or two.

“Give me the keys and I’ll put them in my bag,” I said to Tracey as we manoeuvred the kids through the train doors and onto a Central station platform.

“You’ve got the keys,” said Tracey. “You drove.”

True. And what an angsty and tight lipped drive it was, racing around unfamiliar Sydney suburbs in heavy traffic trying to find a station to fulfil a promise we made to the kids the day before: take a long train ride.

We’d eventually found two stations, but the first one didn’t seem to offer up any parking, so we drove on and kept looking. When we finally found a car park we didn’t need to catch an Uber from the good mood we’d set off with an hour earlier was frayed and unravelling.

And it was about to get worse.

“I just assumed you had them,” I said to Trace, “because you were getting the kids out of the car while I tried to work out how to pay for parking.”

That’s a whole other world of pain right there. The screen would light up with heaps of instructions but then shut down because I wasn’t pressing any buttons – because I hadn’t finished reading the instructions yet! I admit my cranky mood wasn’t lifted by this. Tracey, to be fair, had her hands full trying to coax shoes back on to feet while giving judgements on squabbles which had broken out in the very back seat presumably for no other reason than three of our children had been sat next to each other for a spell.

While I was mentally stamping my feet over the whole parking meter scenario again, Tracey moved on quickly to a, if I’m perfectly honest, shock revelation.

“Wait,” she said suspiciously. “Are you saying you didn’t lock the car?”

“Oh, shit,” we both hissed.

We don’t leave our car unlocked in our driveway in little ol’ Gympie.

Tracey, always the voice of sense and reason, was for jumping straight onto a train and heading back, but I, always the whiney voice of ‘stuff that’, argued by then it would be two hours since we parked it so chances were the seats would already have been ripped out.

And by ‘argued’ I obviously mean I stomped off towards the light rail stop, as per the next step of our original plan. And although Tracey did concede to follow me, I suspect that might have been because I had all the Opal cards in my pocket and her purse in my backpack rather than because she came around to my side of the argument.

At this point, I should like to relieve you of any suspense on the matter of our car and announce later that night it was still where we’d left it, still had a stereo and didn’t smell of urine. The trifecta of ‘told you so’ I was hoping for.

Meanwhile, we’d had a fantastic time exploring Sydney’s Chinatown, Paddy’s Market and Powerhouse Museum, so our moods had lightened considerably.

This was about to change.

“Best bit of today?” I asked the kids on the light rail from the Chinatown district back to Central station.

They had a lot to choose from. We ate some cream puffs in Chinatown which were delicious, talked about architecture amongst the old and new buildings, filled our bellies with fruit from the markets, bought clothes and a couple of those stupid fidget spinners which are all the rage, plus seen some quite simply awesomely thought out displays at the museum: anyone who can hold the interest of a five year old for longer than a minute in an exhibit about the history of 3D printers is doing something right. Plus, we’d managed to catch to jump on several trains, light rail and buses to scratch their itch for public transport.

So I was keen to hear their thoughts. This is, after all, the reason we exhaust ourselves cramming these sorts of experiences into our days.

“The bottle of Coke,” said Miss7, waving her drink in my face and effectively puncturing my enthusiasm for counting heads when we jumped off at the next stop.

“Don’t be stupid,” said Master12 to his little sister, giving me some hope at least one of my kids was getting something out of all this. It was a brief reprieve. “Iced Tea is heaps better.”

I turned my attention to Tracey instead.

“Any idea which platform we have to head to?” I asked her, because we’d be disembarking shortly.

“No idea,” she said.

“No worries,” I said, pulling out my phone. “I can look it up. Which station do we get off at?”

“What do you mean?” she asked suspiciously.

“Where did we park the car?” I clarified. “Which station?”

“You didn’t look?”

“Oh, shit,” we both hissed.

So yeah, just the odd difficulty.

The kids had even managed to shut the back doors, which was the big surprise. In case you’re wondering how we worked out which station we were parked at, we didn’t. The bloke who overheard our conversation did after we gave him some hints – we went over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the station was sort of under shops. It was St Leonards. 
While we were in the city our bus had a roadworthy done because QLD Gov’t is silly about wanting those annually. Happy to say all went well. Except I knocked off a tap under the bus on an entrance the guys at the service centre said they wouldn’t have recommended me to attempt.
These photos are over two days – we came back to Chinatown, Paddys Market and Powerhouse Museum today as well.
Discovered ‘light rail’ as well. Sydneysiders, you’re so lucky to have all this.
Fidget spinners. I don’t get it.
Miss10 in her new Minecraft jacket. Tracey suggested I get one too – which was odd because I don’t play Minecraft.
A kind stall holder at Paddys Market gave Miss5 this squawking chicken. I’m leaving this on to you, Karma. The bitch deserves it.
Bought a heap of fruit and veg at Paddys Market. Kids ate a a bellyful of mandarins and bananas to ward off another pizza joint.
Blog reader, Elise, suggested I look for Emperor’s cream puffs while I was in Chinatown. I was told to look for the line up of people and it was spot on. I do have a confession though. When you told me about them I thought you were talking about puffy fish balls made of red emperer.
Apparently there’s a sign saying you can’t take photos. I deliberating didn’t look for it soo I could claim ignorance.
And the verdict?
Onto a winner. 36 of them actually. All gone now.
Miss5, naturally, got all tuckered out just as there was walking to be done.
Tracey captured this just after Miss5 announced to me, and everyone else walking across the road at the lights, she’d farted. Like I couldn’t feel it. “That’s enough fruit for today,” I told the kids.

They do red brick so well in Sydney

This brought back some memories. Exterminate! Exterminate! No, wait..
FYI we purchased a MAAS membership online which was $70 and covered the whole family. Not only does it get us into this exhibit for free, it also covers Sydney Observatory and they’ve reciprocal arrangements with institutions in other states, like Questacon in Canberra (that’ll be handy next week).
I should warn you, there was a Wiggles display downstairs. It’s interactive but a long way from the cafe, which is near this. This did not help. 
I wanted one of these so badly when they came out. Still felt a little giddy seeing it on display.
Lots of hands on interactive stuff for the kids.
Miss10 loved the fashion exhibit. I was loving coffee at this point.

There should be more crochet dresses. And bikinis. That’s my input.

Coffee shop rather sensibly has activities for kids. This place is run my smart people. Or parents.

Three days we’ve been exploring Sydney via public transport. We’ve only spent $159 for seven of us and haven’t had to wait longer than ten minutes for something to come carry us away. Bargain.
This photo of the kids on the Manly Ferry watching the seagulls skip along with the boat makes me happy. She can fart away on the chair instead of my bloody head.

Raising a family on little more than laughs

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