Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Day which we head to Sydney

I had insomnia early in the morning. I was awake from about three to five. Then I fell asleep and had a lucid dream. It was the type where I feel I'm having an out-of-body experience. They usually begin with me in bed. I want to leave my body, but I feel if I try it I'll just wake up. A lot of times in these dreams, I'm not sure if I'm awake or sleeping. This time, the TV was on with cartoons playing. I thought this proved I was dreaming. Why would a TV be on? But then I thought maybe Tim left it on.

I want to fly out of bed, but the blankets make me feel trapped. I feel if I made the effort to escape, I'll wake up. I make it, though. I fly to the window. 

Then I woke up. And I realized the room in my dream was nothing like the room I was actually physically sleeping in. The TV had been in the wrong place.

I fell back asleep and dreamed my older sister and my mom were in Australia. My sister asks me to take nuts home. Then she remembers I'm in Australia and laughs hysterically about that. If that doesn't make sense to you, don't worry. It makes no sense to me either.

Once we were all out of dreamland, we woke up and had our last hours in Seven Mile Beach. Check out is usually at 10:00 (seems to be the common check-out time in Australia), but we had requested late check out. For a fee, we could have stayed several more hours. But for free they let us stay one or two more hours. I forgot the exact time we left.

We kept busy in the morning, though. Tim and I packed and cleaned.

Jack took photographs of the cabin.

This is probably the most important one.

He also took a picture of our view outside.

When I was done packing, I called my dad because it was his Australian birthday. I figured it was best to call him on that birthday instead of his American one, because the next day we'd probably be very busy. Plus, my family is very competitive, and this way I could say I was the first to call him.

It was very nice talking to my dad. We shared some laughs. He gave me baby news. Actually, I don't remember if he did. But I'm assuming he would have.

I also decided to send texts to some of the people from Sydney. Maybe I didn't text Gina, though. I think I talked to her before that. We already had plans set. I forgot exactly who I sent a text to then. I guess the people I hadn't talked to yet. I just said I was on my way to Sydney and I hoped we could get together. Blah, blah, blah. At least this is what I think I said. I can't remember really.

As soon as the text  to Fe was sent, Fe called me.

I must say I usually hate talking on the phone. It makes me nervous. But by this time, I think I had gotten used to it somewhat. I actually enjoyed talking to Fe. We had a quick chat. She set up definite plans with me which I thought was really nice. Then she also said she hoped to see me more than once. I liked hearing that a lot.

At this time, I was a bit stressed about the whole social thing. It seemed we had a lot of people to see, and I worried about organizing all that. I worried I wouldn't have enough quality time for everyone. Yes, because I am so damn popular. No, really, though. In Fort Worth, I have one friend. That's it. It's easy to balance THAT. For some strange reason, I have more friends in Australia.

I was concerned that most people would be able to see us only on the weekend. We had only two full weekends there. My other concern was after all this concern, no one would end up wanting to see us. I figured this would be my punishment for having this delusion that I have such a full social calendar. It would end up being empty, and I'd feel lonely and rejected.

Anyway, so it did help to have definite plans set up with people. It kind of made my head feel more clear. And it made me feel popular. I haven't felt popular like that since I was in preschool. Seriously.

Before exiting the park, we did some good-byes. Tim said farewell to Mr. and Mrs. Near Palm Beach. They said they were going to be staying in Manly for awhile and told Tim we should call them if we were in the neighborhood. Tim also gave his phone number to Mr. and Mrs. Cronulla. Jack and I went over to say good-bye to them later at the pool. We talked about meeting them in the city or maybe visiting them in Cronulla.

One funny thing that happened is when we got in the car, Jack started waving at the Cronulla folks in the pool. Without looking , I waved too. Then I realized we had waved to the wrong people. It ended up we were waving to this older couple I've never seen before in my life. They didn't seem bothered by our friendliness....a little confused maybe. But they seemed to be happy to have someone waving to them.

It's funny, but also kind of sad. I've had the experience of seeing someone I don't know (or barely know) waving to me. I feel this happy loving feeling, and I wave back. Then I realize they're waving to someone else. It makes me feel a bit sad and rejected. I hope this couple didn't feel that way. I hope they think we really did want to wave to them. I hope they think we were very friendly people rather than simply people who had made a mistake.

We drove to Sydney. Tim did very well. Our TomTom was kind to us this time and didn't take us on any crazy mountain roads.

When we were near Sydney (or maybe already in it) my blood sugar went all crazy again. I asked if we could stop at a convenience store.

We bought junk food. I bought one of those yogurt covered muesli bars. Last year I had loved them. I guess my taste had changed a bit because now I found them to be a bit too sweet. Jack bought the Allen's Party Mix which he had been wanting, and I had promised he could eventually have. For those unfamiliar with this candy, it's pretty much a mixture of gummy/jelly candy. Some of the candy reminded me a lot of circus peanuts.

Tim bought a package of Tim Tams that were reduced for quick sale. It was a great deal. Yeah, we found out later they were all stuck together. But who cares? They still tasted good.

We munched on our goodies and probably did further damage to my blood sugar.

Then we arrived at our home for the next two weeks. The Belvedere on Goulburn Street. Unlike the Medina we stayed at last time, this was not a hotel disguised as an apartment. It was a real apartment. There was no reception desk in which to check in. A woman from the rental company had to meet us to give us the key. I was embarrassed because we had SO much stuff to unload from the car. We had packed light initially--a small suitcase, a medium suitcase, a duffel bag, two backpacks, and a briefcase. I don't think that's too bad for people traveling around for a month. But in the last two weeks we had collected more stuff. Now we had multiple bags of groceries, cases of beer, and a scooter. It took us awhile to unload the car. Then our stuff pretty much took over the whole damn lobby.

We got it all upstairs as quickly as possible. Mrs. Rental Company was nice enough to help us. I started unpacking while she talked to Tim about the neighborhood. Then she left.

I explored the apartment and wasn't too happy with what I found. Of course, this was the place that Tim had picked out. He was critical/questioning about the places I had picked out. And I was critical/questioning about the places he had picked out. We're nice like that.

The awesome thing is we had laundry in our room. We knew the building had laundry, but we weren't sure if it would be in our room or not. The best thing about it being in our room is that it was free. The funny thing is the dryer was upside down. I guess that's the only way they could get it to fit.

Okay, so we had laundry. What did I not like? The storage space was lacking. There was room to hang a lot of stuff which I ended up doing. There wasn't a lot of drawer space, though. In fact, the only clothing drawers they had were those cheap portable ones. I stuck Jack's clothes in there. There was a lot of shelf space in the front of the apartment, but they were already full of stuff. There was a pack-n-play, a vacuum cleaner, and many books.

 The books excited me a bit. I still hadn't found a book to replace my beloved Faraday Girls. I figured maybe I could avoid spending more money and just read one of these books for free. They had a Bryce Courtenay novel. I had heard good things about him and figured this would be a good chance to try him out. The book was very long and heavy though. I wanted something light that I could stick in my backpack. Also, I didn't know if it was Kosher to take the book home with me. Finishing this long book in two weeks seemed a bit daunting. I know I could probably do it. It's just I didn't want to spend my whole holiday reading. I didn't want that pressure. I decided I'd go out later and buy a book.

My other complaint about the apartment is there was only one mirror, and it was in the toilet. Yikes, in American English that sounds really messed up. So, for any Americans who are reading this, the mirror was not actually inside of the toilet. Australia can be a weird country. But it's not THAT weird. The toilet was in the bathroom.

Before we had ever been to Australia, I had read that Australia toilets are kept separate from the shower/baths. You have your shower room and you have your toilet room. I have yet to see this arrangement! I really wish we had it in the apartment. It's a pain trying to get ready when you have to share one mirror which is in the same room as the toilet and shower.

I also didn't like the beds. We still co-sleep with Jack (and yes will probably end up doing so until he gets married and has his own family). The bed seemed awfully small to me. Tim claims it was the same size as the bed we slept in at Tracey's house. I don't know. It seemed much smaller to me. All I can think is that maybe we all gained a lot of weight.

The other thing is the bed had no top sheet. I like sleeping with a sheet. I like to be covered, but sometimes the heavy blanket is too hot for me. I also worried about whether the bed stuff had been washed. What if the rental company expected the last tenants to do it, but the last tenants had expected the rental company to do it? I wanted to wash the bed stuff, but I had no idea how I'd fit the heavy blanket into the washing machine. Then I remembered Tracey and her brief lesson on the Doona (although I remembered it back then as the Duvet). I remembered you can take the sheet off the Doona and wash that. Then you put it back on when it's all dry and ready. That last step was hard, though. I had to have Tim do it for me.

Tim soon had to leave to return our rental car.

While he did that, Jack and I took a walk. I told Jack that he could choose which direction we went. He had fun with that. We ended up walking west on Goulburn and ended up at World Square. We went to Coles and bought some groceries. Then we headed back. I got lost and confused. Jack knew the right way to go. I started realizing my child is pretty good with directions. I praised him for it, which caused problems later on because he got a bit overconfident about the whole thing. Tim would want to go one way. Jack would say that it was the wrong way. We needed to follow him. The two of them would argue, and I'd be caught in the middle.

When Tim returned from farewelling our car, we all headed out to Manly. Earlier we had debated whether to buy our travel pass today or get it the next day. We decided we'd wanted to get it right away. The cool thing is for some reason our travel pass added an extra day. I think it was supposed to expire the following Wednesday night, but instead it said it expired the following Thursday night.

We went to the Museum Station and took the train to Circular Quay. We were lucky. The train was right there when we arrived, and so was the ferry. We had no waiting.

I'm not sure it had been a good idea to go to Manly. I felt a bit rushed. I didn't want to get home too late in the evening, because we had plans in the morning. Going to Manly takes a thirty minute ferry ride. I felt we needed to do a quick swim, get our ice-cream, and then get back on the ferry.

I didn't enjoy Manly as much as I had last year. The changing rooms were gross to me. They were full of sand and water. And they smelled bad! I hated trying to get my clothes on and off without getting dirty. I don't remember the changing rooms being that bad last year. I think last year though we went in the early afternoon. The changing rooms probably hadn't had enough time to get gross yet. Now it was close to dusk--time for gross changing rooms, and also time for sharks to find their dinner. We had seen the news reports about the shark attacks. One of the things they said is not to swim at dawn or dusk. Here we were at dusk about to go swimming. We figured if we stayed near the shore we'd probably be okay.

We played on the beach for awhile.

We saw a few Blue Bottles. It concerned me a bit, but there wasn't that many. Well, at least I tried not seeing many.

After we swam, we couldn't find the place to rinse our feet. We looked for it without success. We ended up seeing some Asian tourists washing their feet at the Corso in a decorative fountain. I thought that was very inappropriate of them, but we decided to copy them anyway. We casually went over and stuck our feet in the fountain.

With our clean feet, we went to Royal Copenhagen--our ice-cream haunt from 2007.

It disappointed us this time. I don't know why. Maybe Scoops had been better? Maybe we were jaded now?

We rode back on the ferry.

At the Circular Quay Train Station, there was a very friendly employee. He seemed very eager to talk to, and assist, all the tourists.

I can't remember what we had for dinner. Jack says he had his Ramen Noodles. I'm not sure what I had. Maybe Humus? I think Tim picked up some Japanese for himself.


  1. Fe is really nice, I'm glad you caught up :)

    Can you send Tim this way once a week or so to put my doona back in its cover? That is the job I hate most in the world!

    And finally a word of warning for your next beach visit, a guy that got killed by a shark in Perth a few years ago was about knee deep in the water (very close to the shore)! I bet you're glad you didn't know that before :)

  2. M+B,

    I totally agree about Fe!

    The doona thing. Ah! Maybe that's our key to moving to Australia. Tim can start a business where he goes around and puts the sheet back on the Doona.

    Scary about the shark. Yeah, glad I didn't know that before I went. And now I'll have to try to forget it before we go to another beach. I'm also glad I didn't know about how evil emus are. I think I'd be trembling in fear the whole time I was in Australia.

  3. Sounds like you are having a fun time. If you ever get up to Queensland gve me a yell.

  4. Ariad,

    I hope to get to Queensland someday
    : )

  5. My doona cover does not get washed as often as it should, because I dread having to put it back on. Please send Tim!

    There are still plenty of separate toilets in Au. We have one separate one and one in a bedroom ensuite. Perhaps not many in tourist accommodation.

    Why do people ring after you sms or email them? Like, if you wanted to speak to them, you would call them. Ok, for you it was ok, but generally.

    The standard of Manly changing rooms is not unusual, unfortunately. I avoid them if I can.

  6. Andrew,

    I'm starting to think Tim's destiny is with the whole Doona thing. It's like Desmond pressing the button.

    When we come to Victoria, I'm inviting myself over your house. I want to see your toilet!!

    I didn't mind Fe calling at all. I do the opposite towards people sometimes. They'll call and I'll respond with an email.

  7. Our bathroom and toilet are separate, too, so you can go on a Toilet Tour of Victoria (most say our Yarra River is like a sewer anyway :P)

    The trick to the doona cover -
    was going to write a huge long explanation but I'll take photos and post 'em on my blog instead LOL.

  8. Jayne,

    A toilet tour sounds delightful.

    And I can't wait to see your Doona blog post. Although if you manage to teach everyone how to do it, what career will Tim ever be able to find in Australia? I was hoping he could get a job door-to-door as the Doona Man.

  9. I'm so glad you didn't mind me calling you after you texted..

    I usually hate talking on the phone too, but I actually thought that you had texted ONLY me, and knew that it would take ages to organise and confirm a date to see each other by back and forth texts.

    Also, I thought that you might have been on a really expensive mobile phone plan and that it was cheaper for me to call you than for you to call me.

    (Hope that clears it up, Andrew!)

    Anyhooo... am so glad that I did. It was great to "meet" your voice before meeting you in the flesh. I knew then and there that we would get on well together, which is why I said that I hoped that we would be able to get together more than once.

    I was outside your apartment again this morning as it's two blocks away from the Family Court of NSW. Also, I ran into World Square shopping centre... it's the first time I've been there since we were there together.

    You were HUGELY on my mind.


  10. Fe,

    I think talking to you on the phone was a GOOD thing. You're right. It WOULD be hard to make plans via text messages. And I think talking to people in Australia on the phone was actually therapeutic for me. I'm better with the phone now. When I was in Hawaii. I found I had a phone message from a old high school friend. In the past, that would have made me nervous. I would have dreaded calling her back. But I was totally fine with it...even excited to talk on the phone.

    I think you're right too. Talking on the phone before meeting kind of eases the transition of meeting in real life. Tracey also called me after getting my text. And I think it made things a little easier.

    I still don't know if I'd be brave enough to make the first phone call though.....

    Although I did call Magikquilter. I didn't realize until I arrived that she hadn't given me her mobile #, so no way to just text. I had to call and I was SO nervous. But I managed to do it.

    I love how you say "my apartment" I wish it still was mine! And I'm so touched that you thought of me.

  11. I don't know why, but most dryers seem to be on the wall upside down. Hmm.

    And yes, the shower and toilet separation is actually quite common. Perhaps in houses where there is more room?

  12. Hi Dina, in Sydney if you buy a ticket after 4pm than it doesn't count that day, so your ticket doesn't start until the next day. Its a good trick to know.

  13. I can relate to your comment about catching up with people.

    Sometimes it's a good intention that just doesn't work.

    The important thing is you had a great holiday and did the things you wanted to.

  14. miss diarist: Maybe shower/toilet separates are more common in Victoria? You're from Victoria, right? Or not? I forgot. But it seems those who are saying it's common are from Victoria. Maybe it's less common in Sydney? I don't know.....

    Funny about the dryers being upside down!

    Matt: I wish I had known that before!! I'll definitely remember it for when we come back. I'm trying to remember when we bought our new ticket...Friday. Yeah. If we had known, we could have just arranged our plans so we wouldn't use transportation until after 4.

    Michael: It is hard to catch up with everyone. It might be easier if we came on a holiday because people might have more time to see us. But then it's more expensive for us.

    I think though that the thing we most wanted to do was be with people. That became our priority. There were things I wanted to see, but being with friends became much more important to me. It might have been different if it were our first time in Sydney, of course. But for all intents and purposes, if there was something I just HAD to see, I would have already probably seen it in 2007.

  15. Hope I did not offend Fe. I was really just speaking generally. I don't like using the phone much. It calls for snap decisions. Our main toilet is large enough to fit a wheelchair in Dina.

  16. Andrew,

    I HOPE Fe isn't mad at you. You don't want to get on that girl's bad side. TRUST ME!!!

    No, I'm joking.

    I doubt she was offended.