Published: March 14th 2007March 14th 2007
Ok well first thanks for all the blogs!! I feel popular now!! (Katie you are my fave Bap girl :-), Great to hear from you all!! I'm travelling at 11kg so there's room in my bag for friends if anyone wants to come and visit! MJP my twin thinks you are flirting with me.. and she doesn't know who you are! (keep it up!). Good lcuk with GSE!!! HAADers good luck with Kosovo! Send my love to them all..
So Saturday in Jo'Berg was a quiet day.. where I caught up on a LOT of sleep!! I relaxed by the pool and just had a nice peaceful day. In the evening Tracy (manageress and also a twin!) made a curry for us, plus cake and cheese board and some fab SA wine.. and we enjoyed that with one of the super 14 rugby games on TV.
Sunday I was all packed and checked out.. then Uncle Alan took me on a big tour of Jo'Burg on the way to the airport. We were out and about for 3-4 hours. It was great. Saw Nelson Mandela's bridge, Nelson's current house, Riveara, Market Thetare, and lots of other great sites.
At the aiport the flight was already 2 hours delayed (ran out fo fuel on the way from Oz to SA) and by the time we left was 3-4 hours late. I sat next to the lovely Joan, who is 72 and flying for her birthday, for the first time in 20 years, to visit her children in New Z. She's S African. We had a great time, and it was brilliant to sit next to Joan as she's just like me when flying - excited by everything! Quantas even brought us ice cream.. beat that BA!!
Customs was fun.. I had wood, had been to Africa, had been to Kruger, had soil on my shoes.. but they let me in!!! Found my YHA which was really easy to get to - 5 stops away on the train direct from airport (although I did walk into the wrong YHA at first as there are two next to each other, and had a minor panic when they couldn't find me on their list!!). But I'm in the nicer one - its an old railway carridge! Monday night I went to bed early, as didn't get to YHA until gone 8pm, so all ready for an early start Tues!
Tuesday I was at the SOH by 7:30am. Its amazing. I saw it and the bridge on the flight in. Can't believe I'm here!! Went to Hyde Park and saw the pool of reflection, and Anzac monument (from Galapolis I think), visited St Mary's Cathedral, went to the Australian Museum which was facinating. Natural History (not mostly my thing) but much more my thing was the indigenouse people and lots of info about their culture. Similar to Apartheid in a lot of ways.. I had no idea Europeans forceably removed children from aborignal homes in order to make them more 'white/Christain. What ever happend to respecting people's cultures. So much has now been lost.
Anyhow after all that I hit the Rotary Club of Sydney for lunch.. all 130 people there! It was a consular day so lots of visiting consulates, speaker was US.. bit weird really - apparently Oz and US are very very close... infact the 'closest' - isn't that what they tell UK? Anyhow there were also 'children from the bush' ie rural teenagers who Rotary funded to experience city life....! But I don't think they take them to bars etc!
After that I went to The Domain and The Royal Botanical Gardens. Saw some funny bats, which were kindof scary! Walked all round by the Pacific, and had great veiws of SOH and bridge. Then went off the The Rocks for a pub tour.. and it wasn't just drinking it was learning about the area too! A great way to meet new people and enjoy the lcoal bitter in a schooner or a middy! And I tried Beez Neez and Victoria's Bitter. Not bad but will stick to Jacob! After we all went to see the sun go down from the middle of the bridge, and then for pizza.
Today - Wednesday it was an even earlier start and I went to the RC of Darling Harbour for breakie. Word had got around that I was visiting. This time there were 30 members, so I did my little speach and exchanged banners. Was a buffet so filled up for the day :-) Took a walk around Darling Harbour which is fantastic. Lots to see and do - I wish I had more time! Went to Chinese Garden of Friendship which was beautiful and very tranquil, saw Touramaline Park (which is being re turfed!!) and went to Market City. Then took bus to Bondi Beach! Was 30 min ride away. I had been warned Manly is better, but I wanted to see BB. I thought it was great. Lots of trendy people but equally lots of more relaxed tourists. Huge waves! I paddled in the sea then went to the iceburg club, and then the public swimming pool right on the edge of the ocean.. so you can swim and see the beach and the ocean! I also swan a bit in the 'little pool' - there was a smaller shallower one to the side.. if anyone's seen my swimming you know its doggy paddle all the way!!!
Bussed back to Sydney then went to Quayside Brasserie to meet Paul Y for dinner. Paul is a friend of a friend- Mike M in Cardiff Bay RC, and I've been emailing Paul for a few months now. It was great to meet him and Margaret. The food was brialliant, and the view stunnign - we could see the Sydney OH and the bridge easily. I had rhubarb crumble for dessert.. Paul very very generously gave me a ticket to the opera, Alcina by Handel and off I went for 4 hours! It as great, 1,300 seater, (the concert hall is the largest space there), almost full, beautiful scenery and set, 3 people were sick but the understudies were fantastic, and it was typical opera story line, and the good triumphed and the bad ran away at the end which was refreshing for opera as usually evreyone dies!!
So now I'm back in the YHA for the last night! Pictures to follow soon I hope.
Anyhow I love Syndey.. I've walked everywhere, I feel so safe, it has a great vibe, everyone is super friendly and all the men are rather attractive..! Methinks I'm going to have to come back one day..!!
Just spoken to mum and dad.. such a clear line can't believe I'm on the other side of the world..
Brissy tomorrow night and I'll see Sian again for the first time in years!! We worked together at the NAW and she is Ozzie.
Lots of love to all,