Friday, March 13, 2009

Day 4...In Which I'm Very Nervous About the Upcoming Weekend

We thought we had conquered the whole time change thing because we had gone to bed at a decent hour...not too early and not too late.

But then we woke up at four in the morning. Ouch!

We stayed in bed for about an hour and then got up and got dressed. Tim went on his morning run. While he did that, Jack and I made our way slowly towards Darling Harbour.

We had stayed in Darling Harbour during our 2007 holiday to Australia. This year we were staying in Darlinghurst. (we're big fans of Governor Darling, j/k) I had looked up walking directions on Google Maps before we left, and Darling Harbour seemed an awful long walk away from both our Sydney hotel and the apartment we'd be staying in later. I was a bit bummed out about that.

But we decided to try.

We walked through Hyde Park. We saw the Anzac Memorial which I had totally missed/ignored last year. The thing that shocked me about the memorial is it's huge! It doesn't look like a statue. It looks like a building. In the photos I've seen, it looked smaller to me.

When we came to the northern half of the park, Jack stood amongst the grand fig trees and I took his picture. There's a circle with HP on it. Of course that stands for Hyde Park, but I told Jack it stood for Harry Potter. I think he knew I was joking.



We walked north and we walked west. We stopped at a little cafe and shared a honey banana smoothie. I figured a treat would make the long walk seem shorter.

Okay, but you know what? Once we got there, we realized the walk wasn't as long as we feared. It's not short, but it's bearable.

We did see some sad things on the way to the harbour. Our favorite food court from last year was closing. I knew Tim would be disappointed about that. Last year, we'd go to the food court and pick up food for a Hyde Park picnic. I figured we'd have to find an alternate source of food.

I saw other places closing down as well. I guess that's what happens when the whole world is having an economic crisis.

Anyway....

We made it to Darling Harbour.

Both Jack and I were eager to go to Wildlife World and the Aquarium. But those places don't open until 9 am and we had time to kill. We went to Tumbalong Park. This place is significant to us because it's where I first met one of my favorite friends Michelle.

Jack played. I sat.



Eventually, enough time passed and our beloved tourist attractions opened. By this time, Tim had finished his run and had finally caught up with us. He came with us to get our passes at the aquarium. Online, we had purchased combined passes for the aquarium and Wildlife World. I had the printed out receipt and handed it to the attendant at the aquarium. She told me I needed printed tickets from the Internet. I was supposed to print these out when I had printed out my receipt. I had been a bad girl and didn't read the directions well enough. The woman acted as if there was nothing she could do for us. We needed these tickets! She told me I could go and print them from my computer.

Okay. The problem is I didn't have that email saved. I MIGHT have been able to retrieve it in Texas...if I had stuck it in my saved-mail folder. There's no way I could get it in Australia. I had no access to my saved mail. I explained this to her the best I could. She finally called up Wildlife World to see if there was anything they could do for me.

Yes!

We went over there. They were very nice and helpful.

Tim and I tried to decide if he should go with us to Wildlife World. We hadn't included him in the passes because he wasn't as much a fan as Jack and me. And it's expensive to buy tickets for just one day...close to thirty dollars.

We decided Tim should stay out. He'd take a walk and we'd text him when we were done.

Jack and I saw all the beloved animals including a wombat that kind of looked dead.





We had fun, but there was something slightly melancholy about the whole thing. It was that sense of trying to recreate something beautiful from your past, but knowing it will never be quite as wonderful as it was in the beginning.

Nothing gold can stay.

When we were done, I sent a text to Tim but it took awhile for him to get back to us. While waiting, we didn't go to the Aquarium playground because it was no longer there! What happened to that thing?

We consumed more sugar instead. A Lamington from the aquarium. It was edible, but not impressive.



I had planned to share some of the Lamington with Tim when he showed up, but he took too long to get there. Sorry Tim! Once he was there though, we walked back towards our hotel. At one point, Tim pointed to a building and asked if it was the Queen Victoria Building. I told him I wasn't quite sure. I didn't want to give a definite no, but I remembered the QVB being pretty damn impressive. This building was okay....sort of fancy. Maybe. But it wasn't all that amazing. I figured maybe the QVB was grander in our imagination and memory than it was in real life. That happens sometimes, right?

Later we came across the real QVB and it was as beautiful as it should be. It then seemed very funny that we thought maybe the other building might be the QVB.

I wish I knew what building we had seen.

In my notes, I've written that I did laundry. I would have never remembered that without my notes. I do remember it now though. It seemed ridiculously soon to do laundry already. But I didn't want to do laundry at Tracey's house in Tasmania. I feared it would be rude.

Oh and I also feared going to Tracey's house period. I didn't want to go to her house. I was so nervous about the whole thing. I pretty much dreaded it. I really haven't met people I've known on the Internet. I did meet my husband, but we actually met briefly before reconnecting on the Internet. So, it doesn't exactly count. Also, we had only been emailing each other a few months before meeting.

Tracey and I have been reading each other's blogs for at least three years....maybe longer. I think there was this fear that we'd meet each other and we wouldn't get along. And then, I don't know? I guess there'd be a huge loss. Or could we continue an online friendship even though the real life one didn't work out?

I also felt a little bit intimidated by Tracey. She alway seemed a bit popular to me, at least in the Internet world. I felt a bit like I had back in elementary school when I had a playdate (although we didn't call it that back then) with one of the popular kids. I'd have this sense of inadequacy, this feeling I'd never measure up. I would be too boring or too weird. I would embarrass myself.

I think I saw Tasmania as not something to look forward to, but as a hump to get over. It was three days we needed to endure. Then our fun would begin. I cheered myself up by thinking that even if it turned out as awful as I feared, at least it would be a cultural experience. We could watch REAL Australians sit in their REAL Australian kitchen eating Vegemite on toast. And if anything, we at least were assured they'd have adorable accents. They might hate us. We might hate them. But at least we could enjoy hearing them talk.

While our clothes were in the wash, we hung out in the lobby. Tracey had asked me to call or text her the day before we came to her house. So, I sent her a text. A few minutes later the phone rang. I was scared to answer, but I did.

I talked to Tracey for the first time. I was very enchanted by her accent. We shared a few little laughs. I learned her daughter's name Tara is not pronounced the way I expected. And in the few minutes we talked, I realized phone Tracey is as sweet as Internet Tracey. MAYBE meeting in real life would be okay.

I was still scared though.



Anyway.....

We went back to our room at some point. I watched ABC and listened to some guy talking about something that's probably important. I didn't really pay much attention. I just liked hearing his accent.

I watched Parliament and found that incredibly entertaining. The politicians were arguing about Rudd's proposed stimulus package.

Later, we all walked on Oxford to The Jewish museum and Green park. I had promised my mom I'd go to The Jewish Museum. It was too late in the day to go now, but I figured I'd see where it was so we could go later.

I can't say I loved the area. I don't know. I think I smelled vomit on the way there.

I hate vomit.

The gay memorial in Green Park was a bit disappointing to me. I expected something a little more grand. I mean it didn't have to be as big as the Anzac Memorial, but I wanted it to be a little bigger.

We ate dinner at a little pie shop called Pie Face. Tim and Jack had a meat one. and I had a yummy vegetarian one. Then we shared a cherry pie. I have to say this. Jack is being incredibly helpful with these posts! He has an incredible memory. Without him, I'd be missing a lot of information. It's Jack that remembered the name of the pie shop, what kind of dessert pie we got, and what kind of smoothie we shared on the way to Darling Harbour. I'm not sure if his memory works on everything, but at least with food, he's spectacular!

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