Monday, February 07, 2011

20 Nov 2010: The afternoon of choices made and a missed ferry

20 Nov 2010, Sat:

After a day of meeting up with a very kind friend, attending the Sydney Architecture Walk and visiting the Museum of Sydney, I was in the mood to visit Rose Bay. Yet again, there were some shopping to be done. Honestly, I did not like to shop. Yet, I figured I had to get the shopping done to get something for my colleagues back in Singapore and some local Australian products for my family.

The endeavour took a little longer than I had thought. First of all, I spent more than half-an-hour searching in a few supermarkets before I realised that the supermarkets in Sydney did not sell nougats (Thankfully nougats can be found at the airport). Next, I had to travel to the Darrell Lee store at QVB to get some Darrell Lea chocolates. The chocolates are pretty good for their fairly affordable price.

The most challenging issue that had held me up was that there was track repairs for the train services from Wynyard to Central station on a weekend. As such, bus services would replace the train services for the affected train lines. Trying to figure out where to board the replacement bus services could prove to be a slight challenge for a tourist. I was pretty glad that I had managed it somehow. Since I had quite a bit of items from the shopping, I decided to return to my hotel room to unload the items before I embark on my visit to Rose Bay. In some ways, this was a practical choice for I could not imagine myself carrying too many shopping items to Rose Bay and risking the chocolates melting away from the beautiful spring sunshine.

Finding my way to Circular Quay to catch a ferry to Rose Bay would take longer than usual since I had to use the replacement bus services instead of taking the train. Nevertheless, I was glad that I could manage it somehow. I missed the 5.10 p.m. ferry so I settled for the 5.40 p.m. However, past 5.40 p.m., I learnt that for some reasons which I cannot understand, the 5.40 p.m. ferry that would depart Circular Quay for Rose Bay was not in service. That meant I have to take the 6.10 p.m. ferry. While waiting, I made a trip to the Ladies. When I returned from the Ladies, I saw a ferry at one of the wharfs at close to 6.10 p.m., thinking it was the 6.10 p.m. ferry to Rose Bay, I rushed to board it. This proved to be a mistake! Before I board the ferry, my body gave me a very uneasy sensation that shocked me a bit. I could not decipher what the sensations meant so I did not think much about it.

On the pretty crowded ferry, I found myself a seat.The most shocking realisation came when the ferry passed the Harbour Bridge. From my one and only ferry ride to Watsons Bay, I was aware that the ferry to Rose Bay and Watsons Bay will NOT pass under the Harbour Bridge. The ferry was supposed to head in the opposite direction. That realisation spelt that something was wrong. I asked a kind passenger and she told me that the ferry was heading for the Cockatoo Island. Hoping to try my luck to see if I could head back to Circular Quay to catch the last ferry at 6.40 p.m. to Rose Bay, I immediately got myself ready to alight at the very next stop that the ferry would stop. The stop was the Balmain - Thames Street wharf.

At the wharf, I studied the ferry timetable. Learning to read and understand the ferry timetable was a useful skill that I had put to good use when I was in Sydney. My heart sank quite a bit when I realised that it would be past 6.40 p.m. before the next ferry to Circular Quay would visit Balmain - Thames Street. That meant that I would not be able to visit Rose Bay since I won't be in time to catch the last ferry to Rose Bay.

It was pretty cold that day and I was shivering from the chills of the weather as well as the realisation that I would be missing Rose Bay. My attempt to cope and make the best out of the situation was to sketch.

I realised that other the sketch, I did not take a single photograph of Balmain - Thames Street. I wondered if it was because I was still trying to make sense of how I could have caught a wrong ferry and ended up missing Rose Bay?

The world is kind nevertheless. At the Balmain - Thames Street wharf, I had the pleasure to meet two lovely Muslim ladies. They have been living in Sydney for years. They offered their companionship as we waited for the ferry to Circular Quay. I learnt from them that Cockatoo Island offers a good scenery from all sides of the island. The ladies encouraged me to visit Cockatoo Island. However, due to the schedules of the ferry for that day, I realised that it was not a feasible idea for me to check out the Cockatoo Island. I wondered if a missed visit to Rose Bay and an unrealised visit to Cockatoo Island meant that I have more than enough reasons to visit Sydney sometime again in the future?

When it was time for us to board a ferry to Circular Quay, I was looking forward to be back to the familiar Circular Quay. My thanks to the kind ladies for offering their timely companionship which had helped distracted me from the feelings of loss from a missed trip to Rose Bay.

On my way back to Circular Quay, the beauty of the sculptural Sydney Opera Houses against the twilight skies brought delight to my tested soul. I hope my readers enjoy the beauty of Sydney Opera House as well.

People and moments that I am grateful for:
1) My thanks to the two ladies for offering their timely company when I was at Balmain - Thames Street.
2) I am grateful that despite being lost at Balmain and missing Rose Bay, I am safe and sound throughout my journey.
3) I thank my friend, RL, for her good recommendations. The confectionery from Darrell Lea are good.
4) I am thankful for a good sense of intuition and hope to learn to trust it more.

New things that I did:
1) I visited Balmain - Thames Street for the first time, even though it was not my intention to.

My learning points:
1) I have learnt to be more aware and to trust my gut feel when I feel that something is not right for reasons unexplained. The following day, my friend, RL, reminded me of the book "Blink". That reminded me to make good use of our gut feel and to learn to trust our intuition.
2) I learnt to accept that things may go wrong at times and learn to make the best out of it.
3) I have learnt to be more aware and updated of transport schedules in Sydney.


Sydney Ferries


Richard Yap said...

Interesting read. I am a directionally senseless person...sometimes despite the best plan, I still get lost. So I learn to welcome all the strange and unwanted turns both in life and on streets. With an open heart, every unwanted turns can be an golden opportunity too!

pinkie said...

making best out of the 'worse' situation... I wouldn't have the patience to sketch if I were you! :P kudos to u!

oceanskies79 said...

Richard: Well said, with an open heart.

Pinkie: Thanks. It was chilling cold that evening, and I amazed myself that I could actually sketch in that condition.

EastCoastLife said...

That is quite an adventure in a strange land.

In year 2000, Chris and I were in Mornington Peninsula. We missed the last ferry but were fortunate to meet an Australian couple who welcomed us to their home and the husband drove us to the nearest train station so we could go back to Victoria for our early flight to Gold Coast the next day.

It was scary to be lost in such a huge country but there were kind angels out there who are ready to offer their help. Bless them!

oceanskies79 said...

Eastcoastlife: Yes, it was. And I was quite a memorable one.

Bless the kind souls. They are angels indeed.