Manly men on Manly Beach.
Where the bloody hell am I? Oh yeah, Sydney. Australia. On my own with no Glynn and a Jish in my pocket and a whole week off work!
In case you're thinking I'm the world's worst wife for abandoning my husband, allow me explain. My nan, Betty, who is 82 has flown over to Sydney from the UK to for a holiday. She's staying with my aunt and uncle who are seasoned house-exchangers and have landed themselves a pad in the beachy suburb of Manly. I haven't seen my nan since we left England 1.5 years ago so I jumped at the chance to hop across the ditch and visit Aussie for the first time. Glynn, worried that NZ Immigration might decide not to let us back in if we left the country (with good reason given the amount of problems we've experienced with them to date), decided to stay behind.
My flight across was lovely bar some extreme turbulence off the Australian coast. Air NZ certainly knew how to look after me - my favourite beer (Steinlager), a great vegetarian meal topped off with NZ Kapiti hokey pokey ice cream and an excellent choice of in flight movies.
Catching a Wave
Surfing isn't so much a hobby here but a way of life :-)
After negociating baggage claim, customs and biosecurity I made my way through to arrivals with a very sorry looking suitcase that had a broken lifting handle as well as a missing section from the pull along metal handle. It was hard to manoeuvre my case so I grabbed a luggage trolley only to find that one of the wheels was stuck and the trolley kept ploughing into the wall. In the arrivals hall I had a minor panic when I didn't see anyone I recognised and then realised I stupidly had no address or phone number for my aunt and uncle but moments later, a small possee of family members came striding towards me and all was well.
We spent the evening chit-chatting and having a big catch up which was lovely but all the while it felt like something was missing. As much as I love new adventures, it just didn't feel right being here without Glynn and I found myself shedding a tear or two when no-one was was watching.
The following day brought sunny skies and the lure of the beach. Just 2 minutes' walk from the apartment was Manly beach and my uncle Kev
In England, you learn how to ride a bike at school. In Sydney, you learn how to ride the waves :-)
and I sat on the steps along the promenade watching the surfers catching a ride on the big swirling waves. The beach looked inviting but my aunt had arranged to go to lunch with some future house exchangers so I made do with a pecan and pistacio ice cream instead.
The house exchange people lived in a very posh townhouse on the waterfront in a different suburb of Sydney, although this was a 'downsize' from their previous house! Stepping inside their home, I instantly felt way out of place as I was suddenly surrounded by expensive looking furniture and fittings and an ivory carpet - the sort of thing you only see in Hello magazine or an exclusive show home. Ouside, there were views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and a small marina where they moored their 51ft yacht which may also come as part of the house exchange!! I needn't have worried about fitting in as our hosts were really lovely, down to earth people. I left the conversation over lunch to the grown-ups at first but when talk turned to travel, I suddenly felt like quite an authority and happily regaled everyone with stories from our round
View along Manly Beach early on Sunday morning.
the world trip - even Jish made an appearance! All in all, it was a very enjoyable lunch that extended to almost 5 hours and it was starting to get dark outside by the time we left.
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