Week 1 Update
Trip Start Nov 11, 2006
10Trip End Aug 31, 2007
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(by the way, if at any point, this blog starts to feel like an unnecessarily long flight, feel free to pull the chicken switch and go straight to pics and vids.)
Mom and I arrived in Sydney at 10:30 p.m Sunday night, after leaving home at 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning. We cleared customs, waited for sleepy taxi drivers to make it out to the airport to pick up the last flight of the night (evidently), and headed to the Four Points, Darling Harbour hotel
The beginning of the week was mostly about recovery, but included a fantastic ferry ride with great pics and video of the harbour bridge and the opera house. By Wednesday, we were ready to explore our Aussie roots, so we hired a car and set out for the southern suburbs.
We spent the morning with Keith & Jean Smith who still live across the street from the Bexley North Church we attended in 1970. That was about the only detail that had remained constant over the last 30 years!
Here's the rundown on the status of all the meaningful places:
78 Permanent Ave, Earlwood - first house family lived in upon arrival - apparently abandoned and run down... but still there!
12 Walamutta Rd, Carringbah - second house - razed to the ground for new apartment complex, the land was dangerously close to the ocean, so much too valuable to be left as-is.
11 New Illawarra Rd, Bexley North - Mance (Parsonage) next to the church - along with the rest of the church, was transformed into a day care. Ironically, the church building is a heritage site, so they can't touch the outside, but the inside now makes up a nursery and learning school. The gracious staff gave us a tour and assured us that it is all being put to good use.
Sutherland District Hospital, Carringbah - where I was born - also demolished to be replaced with Version 2.0.
19 Glyn Street, Punchbowl - the only house I had a chance of remembering - also demolished to make sure an upwardly-mobile Aussie couple could live out their suburban dream.
The highlight of the day:
Colonial Pre-School, Lakimba - did some time there at age 2 - we sheepishly knocked on the door to see if "Auntie Billie" my favourite Maori caregiver was still working there. Once the staff realized that I had been there as a child 34 years ago they paraded us through the building telling everyone that the prodigal had returned home
So now we're on to Manly Beach in north Sydney. We found a great hotel right on the beachfront, just in time for the wintry weather! I defied mother nature and planted myself in the rooftop hot tub long enough to get a sunburn... I'll tell everyone here I got it surfing - just like my finger injury.
Observations so far:
- Australia IS fantastically beautiful
- Aussies make fun of Kiwis (New Zealanders) just like we make fun of people from Arkansas... and for the same reasons!
- Not everyone says "Crikey!"
- At every intersection, remind yourself that you're in Australia before proceeding (don't ask)
- The Aussies are as friendly and hospitable as everyone says... I've received offers for Christmas Day, sailing, tea and a place to stay.
That's it for now... there's more to come, so stay tuned.