Our arrival in Australia was filled with trying to stay awake until night fall. Once off the plane, we followed the polite Asian guy holding the “Smith” sign. I’ve always wanted to arrive in an airport with a driver there to greet me. We loaded the car then set off in this huge Mercedes Benz van, which would never be seen in the US, driving on the opposite side of the road. We saw glimpses of the city, but we were mostly driving under it through a series of tunnels. Once at the apartment (which would be our September home) we unpacked a bit, checked out the view and balconies then ate lunch of sorts (oatmeal from the thermos anyone?), dressed for church and headed out the door.
The view from the balcony, what we saw most days in the apartment if in the dining room, otherwise we saw the apartment building next to us.
We could see the Sydney skyline if we leaned over the balcony.
The view from inside the apartment.
On our walk to church we were a bit unfamiliar with which way to look while crossing the streets and it was steep, down hill then up! We passed a playground with an impossibly long slide down one of the hills and of course the kids had to go down it once with the promise of returning. I never did get a photo of that slide. Sorry.
We made it to church and enjoyed listening to talks in English! How nice. Although I must say I didn’t pay too close attention, since I hadn’t really slept in the last 24 hours. Ugh. We did meet a guy who had lived many places in the United States and even once lived in Fulerton, CA in the mid ’90’s. When I mentioned I was there often in ’93/’94 he said “Oh for the music scene?” I was shocked. I didn’t expect to find someone familiar with my High School haunts in Sydney, Australia. He knew about No Doubt and Sublime and was curious to know the other bands I liked back then. Off the top, and in my zombie state, I couldn’t think of any other bands. We ended up having a lovely dinner (later in our stay) at their house where I rattled off a few other names, if only for the novelty of hearing a few no-name band names. Suburban Rhythm, One Eye Open, Wash, Supernova. Supernova is actually still around and were on one of the first Yo Gabba Gabba shows, which was created and produced by a couple guys from The Aquabats, another band (Mormon even) from Utah and Cali which were popular at that time.
That first week we spent getting familiar with our surroundings. We returned to the park with the long slide that first day (which was boring for India), then set off on the bus to Balmoral Beach (“The bus stop is on the right side of the street.” “Uh, ok, I think I know which side that is.” Turned out he meant the correct side of the street. Ugh). There is a photograph right where we would sit at Balmoral Beach at this blog page, scroll down to the Balmoral Beach heading. There was a little bridge to an “island” where there are remnants of the old shark net. We learned later that we liked to be on the side of the island which had no shark net. It was amazing, people swimming the length of the beach (even without the net), back and forth, in wetsuits, swim caps and goggles (the water was freezing). Every day we would go, we saw the same man smoke his cigarette, change into his budgie smugglers (slang for Speedo), then swim a length of the beach. Swimming really is the national sport. I have never seen anyone swim like this in California. Maybe it’s because I avoided the beaches in the harbors and bays. Who knows? Sorry again, no photos at the beach we visited the most. We’ll just have to return some day.
One of those days in that first week we took the train to Circular Quay (pronounced Circular key) to see the Opera House up close. I also wanted to walk through the Botanic Gardens. To accomplish this I told Ezra he could look for snails. Well, once he started looking I got nervous about his getting bitten by some strange spider. The day was gray and a bit cold and Ezra was in a state, luckily Zed was asleep. We started to search for some lunch. We were right downtown, which looked like a tropical Boston, with signs of old building along with several modern skyscrapers. The tropical was seen in the foliage, palm trees and ferns in the parks through the city. We found a modern food court at the bottom of a skyscraper with several places to choose from. Japanese chicken teriyaki for India and a meat pie for Ez, you know, cuz it’s what Harry Potter eats. That was the day we decided to see what wheat would do to him. Three days later we found out. Screaming gas pains that came and went for about 2.5 days. Needless to say, he had wheat for those three days only.
Circular Quay with the Harbor Bridge and a Manley Ferry coming to dock behind the kids. Zed zonked out soon after this. If you look right of the Ferry you’ll see Luna Park, an amusement park on the harbor.
Opera House. That’s as close as we got, that day. This photo is a terrible mix of two images. Don’t judge me.
Royal Botanic Garden. Ezra was done soon after this.
To be continued….