Chapter 2 - Australia

Trip Start Oct 21, 2006
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Trip End Mar 21, 2008


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Flag of Australia  ,
Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Today we begin Chapter 2 of our trip - Australia. After a couple of easy days in Wellington, we start travelling again in earnest. The Qantas flight lands in Sydney at around 5pm. We sail through customs, our bags are the first on the carousel, the quarantine people wave us through, our friend Terry is waiting to pick us up and we are sitting on the couch in his apartment by 6pm.

Terry is a friend of our friend Rosscoe. Terry and his two daughters, Liz and Jane, stayed with us in Toronto at the start of a skiing trip in February of this year. He politely said that we were welcome to stay with him if we were ever in Sydney, possibly not realising that we would actually take him up on that offer. Terry is also the guy responsible for getting us tickets to the Ashes cricket match in Brisbane - no mean feat - so we are doubly grateful to him for that.

Sydney at first glance is quite similar to the New Zealand we just left, particularly in terms of the weather, which is drizzly and grey. The distinctive purpole flowers of the Jacaranda tree are in bloom, so they add a nice splash of colour, not to mention a nice smell, to the city. Terry lives in the suburb of Annandale, about five kilometres west of the city centre, in a block of apartments that were converted from an old piano factory. I already felt a little guilty that Terry had driven all the way to the airport to pick us up, and we now discover that his daughter Liz is sleeping on the floor in the living room so that we can have her room.

Jane, Terry and I walk down the road to the local pub for a couple of beers and a bite to eat. When it is my round, I got up to the bar and ask for "two pints of VB" (the local lager). "Uh, right", says the girl behind the bar unconvincingly. A moment later she comes back and says "um, we don't have pints". She emphasises the word 'pints' like it was a foreign expression, as though I had asked for a 'salver' or a 'caraffe'. "Would you like a middy?" she offered. Not wanting to seem like a dumb out-of-towner, I said "uh, sure" but she then started pouring the beer into these little tiny glasses. "Do you have anything larger than that?" I asked. "Of course. We have schooners". Ah, a schooner, how silly of me not to have recognised this universal fluid measure. I was expecting something that a pirate might drink out of, but apparently a schooner is just a glass that is slightly smaller than a pint. Terry later explained that this complicated system varies from state to state and even within states.

Exhausted by all this, plus the two hour time difference between New Zealand and Australia, we hit the sack at around 10pm.
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