September 26, 2010

Sydney Wrap-Up

9/17/10, Friday
The Expert is already in Sydney, so I am ridin' solo like Jason Derulo.

3:55 pm
The plane is almost full, the doors are almost closing and I am quietly rejoicing because the seat next to me is vacant. The Expert lovingly used his SkyMiles to upgrade me to Business Class, so I am feeling pretty sweet and relaxed. Then I see this guy wandering onto the plane. I’m thinking, don’t sit by me, don’t sit by me. But I was thinking this for no real reason. Well, the real reason is that I don’t want anyone to sit by me. I am praying for two seats to myself. In Business Class. So spoiled. But he looks nice enough. And then, he sits down. Apparently, I’m in his seat. He doesn’t care. One point for the new guy.

Well, the new guy is Chatty Cathy, my worst airplane fear. Stuck on a flying tube with chitter chatter and no end in sight. I’m thinking, crap, I have five hours of chat now? Come to find out, he is actually Chatty Carlos from Lebanon.

Our flight attendant is super flamboyant flight attendant extraordinaire. He loves Carlos. He serves Carlos first. He daunts over Carlos. It's hilarious. Regardless, I was glad to have a friend on the flight. Until Carlos told me about the seatbelts.

4:55 pm
Me: Why do we have to wear seatbelts on the airplane? It’s not like a seatbelt is going to save us in a plane crash.
Chatty Carlos: No. But eef you heet an air pocket, zee zeetbelt vell come in very handy.
Me: Air pocket? What are you talking about?
CC: Zometimes, ze plane vill hit an air pocket, and then eets like a roller coaster, and den, eff you heet the air pocket, you vill freefall and you vill hit the roof of the plane.

Nice Carlos. Thanks for the anxiety. Seat belt on. Check.

6:00pm (Los Angeles time)
I arrived in LA alive. As I am checking in at the Qantas terminal, this woman at the adjacent ticket counter accosts me, tapping me on the shoulder and saying, How do you have such a HUGE bag, and it only weighs 22 pounds? Her beady little nosy eyes are glaring at the scale, weighing my bag. She looks back and forth between my bag and her husband, in disbelief. I crane my neck and look too. I glare back saying, I think the Aussies are speaking in kilos. Either that, or I am packing a whole helluva lot of cotton candy. Her husband then glares at her, like you nosy old biddy. I second that.

Sitting at the bar in the Daily Grill in LAX, and feeling pretty awesome. I haven’t had this much time to myself in a long time. I’m thinking that the Expert is pretty lucky with all his travels. Yeah, he’s working hard and missing the kids, but quiet time to think is something I do not access very often. This is nice.

I boot up my laptop, have a drink and order a cobb salad. The bartender is rude, but I don’t care. He can stick it. So I’m snack attacking on my cobb salad and watching all the people pass by and I’m thinking… I wonder where she is going, I wonder where he is going, what's he thinking. And then I realize, that even inside my own head, I sound just like my mother.

9/19/10, Sunday
7:00am (Sydney Time)
Landed in Sydney. Yes, that is correct. I completely lost an entire day flying. It just vanished. For me, September 18, 2010 just does not exist. Put that one in your pipe and smoke it. Weird.

The Expert meets me at the airport, and I am so glad to see him. That fifteen hour flight from Los Angeles was torture. Coupled with the five hour flight to LA, plus five hour layover...that's a long day. On the Qantas flight, I was next to another Chatty Cathy, but I cut him off with headphones.

The Expert and I did the Circular Quay tour, took a gazillion token pictures with the Opera House looming in the background. After a while, we head back to the Swissotel Hotel and take a swim. The weather is pretty chilly, so after the laps, I am eyeing the hottub. Then I see the hairiest man ever emerge from the steamy tub, and I'm thinking I don't think I can get in there. The Expert says, suck it up and I hop in. One-two-three-four-five seconds and I'm out. Creeped me out. I was scared I was going to get stuck in the hairballs floating around in that thing. Ick.

After a fabulous dinner, the Expert had to head back to the Convention Center, and I walked to the hotel. I stop at the corner convenience store.
Water, Diet Coke, peanut butter M&Ms and gum = $20.
Being in Sydney = priceless.

I hit the sack at 7:30pm. Don’t even hear the Expert as he comes in.

9/20/10, Monday
The Expert wakes up grouchy. This is a working trip for him, so I think he’s crabby that he doesn’t get to play all day. He’s grumbling along and I’m like, “Hey, what’s with the crabby tude?” And he’s still mumbling and grumbling under his breath, so I’m like, “If it wasn’t a twenty-four hour flight ordeal to get home, I’d be OUTTA here.” And then we crack up, because that’s preposterous. This is the first time in my life, I literally, cannot be “outta there.”

I was able to Skype with the babies, but once we hung up, I knew I could not do that again. Strangely, it was too hard, and I cried when we logged off. I missed them more than I imagined.

After the Expert Grouch left for the day, I took a long walk down to the Sydney Opera House, stopping at a little placed called Hole in the Wall Espresso. The Korean ladies behind the counter continuously commented on my hair, and I tried to tell them over and over that it wasn't "real" red, and they wouldn't believe me. I am thinking, ladies, really. And they're saying, oh, to be born with hair that color. I say, no, no, I wasn't. And we just talk in circles for five minutes, getting no where. I leave there trying to figure out what in the world happened. Oh, and I ordered a "flat white", which is an Aussie version of a cappucino/latte something. I think. And I had best Ricotta and Sundried Tomato breakfast sandwich ever.

I walk around Circular Quay awhile, before taking the train back to Darling Harbour.
I lunch by myself at a seafood restaurant called Nick’s.
Hostess: “How many?”
Me: “One.”
Hostess: “All by yourself?”
Me: “Yup, just me.”
Hostess: “All alone?”
Me: “Yes. Alone. Me.”
Hostess: “Do you have a reservation?”

Ugh. I order wine and the waitress talks me into ordering this Local Snapper Pie. Blech. It comes, and that’s what it was. A pie chock full of fish. Blech. And here’s the super blech: it was $40. Nice.
Have I mentioned that everything is ridiculously expensive in Sydney??? Everything is twice the price, and equally as nice.

Drinks with the Expert and friends in the Hotel Executive Suite. This is fancy. But it is only faux fancy, because my husband’s business partner managed to swindle the hotel into a pass to the Suite. We in turn, swindle our way into the Suite with them.

Dinner at Bavarian Bier Café, where in the spirit of me, my beer arives with a hair in the foam. Yes!! The Hair Curse follows me all the way Down Under.

9/21/10, Tuesday
Today was the day I had been waiting for. I woke up bright and early. The Expert and I have breakfast in the Executive Suite again. Nice!

I hop a taxi to the area of Sydney known as the Rocks. I am stoked about the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. Awesome.

Tuesday night we were scheduled for a fancy dinner at Bird Cow Fish in Surrey Hills. The Expert and I were both too tired. Instead, we headed back towards the Rocks and found a pizzeria and had a perfectly fine dinner. We walked the streets for awhile and ended back in the hotel by 10. Thirty minutes later, we were asleep.

9/22/10, Wednesday
Last day in Sydney.

The Expert was heading back to the conference, and I was at a loss with what I was going to do for the day. I did know that I had one final mission in Sydney: 1) Find Koala Bear; and 2) Pet Koala Bear.

After breakfast, Operation Pet Koala (“OPK”) commenced. I was walking towards the train and saw a sign: KOALAS. Sweet. This was the Sydney Wildlife World at Darling Harbour. I had a coupon and it was close to the Convention Center. I hovering outside at 9:00 am sharp, waiting when the gates opened.

I am running through the exhibits in pursuit of OPK. I see a sign, “KOALAS THIS WAY.” I go. The exhibit is closed. Reportedly, the koalas were still sleeping. The lady at the exhibit says I should just wander around and see the other animals. Come back and thirty minutes. Bollocks. Okay. So I go.

I see the crocodile. I walk through the kangaroo pen. For the record, kangaroos are disgusting. They look like large rats, stink like giant poop-pens, and hump like rabbits. The area held about twelve kangaroos. I walked by the pen three times and each time, I saw at least one pair, all paired up and humping. Busy creatures.

9:45 am
Throughly over all the other exhibits, I scurry back to koalas. I see koalas! I have picture taken with koala! I pet koala! And…koala kisses me on the nose. OPK is a huge success. I am elated.

Chinatown and Market City. I buy a scarf in Market City and feel much more Australian. I have another lunch with the Expert before hopping the Manly Ferry from Circular Quay.

The Manly Ferry is apparently quite historic, and I understand why. The Ferry passes by the Opera House and provides spectacular views of the Harbour and the landscape. Highly recommend.

I had scheduled for us to see a play at Opera House, thinking that would be the perfect end to a perfect vacay. Well, that play is a blimy disaster. Asphalte is some sort of convoluted hip-hop dance deal, that sounded really awesome on paper. We left twenty minutes into the play - the Expert and I really could not contain ourselves, and we were getting the hairy eyeball from some of the patrons. The only way out was just to leave. Horrible. Shame on you Board of Directors for the Opera House. James and Stella could put on a better show than Asphalte. Because I picked the play, I am bracing myself for the ridicule that is going to ensue from the Expert. Here’s the thing. I thought it would be important to actually see a performance at the Opera House. Not so much. This play was tragic. Our friends went to the Marriage of Figaro, which I think could have gone either way in success for failure. At least we could escape the crappy play. I don't think one can just walk out of the main opera theater.

9/23/10, Thursday
Farewell, Sydney. It was a whirlwind tour, but I am so thankful I had the chance to go.

Arrive home the same day we left (again, freaking time zone travel), where Stella runs towards her daddy with a fervor I have never seen before. James runs to me. I am delighted to see the babies. I really missed the little boogers.

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