Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day which we search for our camera

I dreamed.  I'm with people. We're all going to take a test related to becoming Australian. I watch a woman take the test. When she's done, I ask for my turn. The woman giving the test says no. It's not my turn. She's very mean to me. I feel hurt and angry. Then one of my Australian friends sticks up for me. She scolds the test-woman and says she's giving people the wrong impression about becoming Australian. I'm very grateful to my friend.

I also dreamed about a killer whale. I'm at a pool where you might see animals. A killer whale swims over. I do something that scares it away. I feel guilty and embarrassed because I know other people want to see the whale.

The whale comes back and it does something that hurts me. Because of this, I now see the whale as being somewhat sinister. It grabs Jack. I hold onto the whale and poke it. I try to make it let go of Jack. It won't. But somehow I do manage to keep Jack's face above water so he won't drown.

I woke up with a dark cloud over my head; not just because of the dream, but because our camera was missing.

If we couldn't find this camera, we would be losing a whole week's worth of pictures. Wednesday-Tuesday. And I didn't feel we should buy another camera. I felt we were cursed. We didn't deserve to buy another one.

Tim had something he needed to do in the morning. Maybe he wanted to run? I can't remember. We knew the Lizard Lounge would be opening at 11:00. We decided we'd all meet there and ask about the camera. I have to be honest. I was a chicken about the whole thing. I didn't want to be the one to ask. I was so afraid of the bad news. I wanted Tim to do it for me. Lucky for me, he was willing to.

Jack and I went to Darling Harbour ahead of time. We went to Wildlife World.

We saw a huge Orb Weaver spider.


We saw the Southern Cassowary chasing a wallaby. That was quite a sight.

Now....if some of you recall.  In a past post I said there was a keeper feeding the parrots, and Jack, for some reason, didn't want to stick around and watch. It turns out (according to my notes) that this happened on THIS day and not the previous one.

After we spent a fairly long time at Wildlife World, we went outside and waited on a bench for Tim. He had tried to take the train over and the train was late. Therefore, he was late. We had to wait thirty minutes. It wasn't too bad though. I played with the camera on my mobile I never pay attention to my phone camera. But I figured this might end up being the only camera we have for the rest of our holiday. That thought was depressing, but I did actually have some fun with the phone. I don't know why I don't play with it more.

I took a photo of the Harbour and then saved it to my screensaver.

When Tim came, he went into the Lizard Lounge. No, wait. Jack and I went with him. I'm actually confused. I sort of remember Tim going in somewhere by himself and me waiting nervously for an answer. But then I know I went into the Lizard Lounge and talked to the person working there with Tim.


I do know this.

I sat there with that feeling of clinging to hope, but expecting the worst. My stomach was in knots. I felt so anxious. I thought suddenly that this could somewhat resemble how parents feel when their child is missing.

And then I realized my child is NOT missing.

All I've lost is a stupid camera.

In the scheme of things, losing a camera is really not that big of a deal.

I felt some relief after I put things in perspective. But I can't say I felt completely better. I wasn't skipping through Darling Harbour singing happy songs.

Losing that camera brought about a lot of deep thoughts though.

I hate comparing losing a material object to losing a person. I know the comparison is extremely weak. I do think though that some of the same emotions happen...just to a MUCH lesser degree. I had similar feelings when my sister was hit by a car. In your mind, you think of all the happy-ending miracle stories you've heard. You think that could happen to us. We could be one of the lucky ones. But then you think of the tragic stories you've heard, and you know that could be your ending as well.

And more thoughts.....

Once I lost a purse in Las Vegas. My parents told me I'd never find it. I insisted we try to find it. I believed I could get it back. And I did. That gave me faith in humanity.

I wanted to believe someone would find our camera and return it to us. I thought surely most people are decent enough to do this. I understand people steal stuff. They need money. They want to buy drugs. They might need food. Blah, blah, blah. But a camera? A camera is so personal. Who would be so cruel to steal someone's photographs? And then reality hit me. People ARE cruel. Cameras are the least of it. People steal children. People murder the ones we love the most.

I've encountered mean behavior lately. I've seen people say rude things to someone who just needed comforting. I've seen betrayal. I've seen manipulative liars in action. I've seen people gang up on individuals who had an opinion they didn't like. It always makes me sad when I see this stuff. And I'm sure although I try not to be, I'm probably guilty of some of it too. We all make mistakes. But I wish we were all nicer to each other. I really do. I wish we could be there for each other. I wish we could say the right things. I wish we could be honest with each other. I wish we could accept that friends sometimes have different opinions, and that friends don't have to agree 100% on everything.

But after I realized someone might have stolen photographs without a second thought; and I thought about all the rapes, murders, kidnappings, etc.....well, I felt a bit hopeless in humanity.

It seemed in the scheme of things, lying, betraying, bullying, etc. are really not that big of a deal.


We talked to a woman in Wildlife World. She said a camera hadn't been found. Tim thought she acted defensive. I agree. I don't know if it's because she stole the camera though. It could simply be our questioning made her nervous. When I was student teaching, a father came in and asked if I knew why his daughter had a bruise. I must have acted so nervous. He told me to relax. He was super nice. He said it's just because he's a doctor and unknown bruises scare him. He wasn't angry that something might have happened. He just wanted to know if I remembered anything. Anyway, of course I didn't do anything to give the child a bruise. But someone might assume my nervousness indicated I was guilty.

We did get mixed up information though. That was a bit annoying. The people at Wildlife World told us that the Lizard Lounge had a safe where they keep lost objects. The woman at Lizard Lounge said we needed to talk to Wildlife World. We felt like we were being sent back and forth.

We ended up filling out a card with our information and handing it to both of them. We offered a reward.

I decided that we should also go to Passionflower and the food court. Maybe there was a chance we had lost the camera there. I did NOT want to return to Passionflower. I completely dreaded facing those people again, especially after that woman had given me the evil eye. She scared me.

Jack wanted to go to the Maritime Museum. I kind of hoped I could take him, and Tim would do the camera searching. And lucky for me, this is what Jack wanted. Unlucky for me, Tim decided to be firm this time about Jack's seperation issues. I hated having to be the one to search, but I knew it was right. First....I'm the one who lost the camera in the first place. Second, I figured Tim would probably enjoy the museum more than I would.

They went one way and I went another.

I got to Passionflower. I had hoped by some miracle they wouldn't remember me. But from the look on woman's face, I'm pretty sure she did remember. No, they did not have our camera. Or at least that's what they said. The worse part was when I walked to the food court. You can see Passionflower's kitchen from there. The cook just stood there staring at me. It was so incredibly creepy. He was watching in a very horror-movie-character way.

I went next door to the HSBC building. I went and talked to the security guard. He was so incredibly nice. He looked through this notebook for me to see if anything had turned up. Then he actually had me walk to the food court with him so I could show him what table we had been sitting at. He took down all my information. Then he suggested I go to the police station down the block. When I acted confused about the location, he walked outside with me and showed me the way.

The police officer was nice too, but horribly pessimistic. He thought the camera had been stolen. When I explained no, we had lost it. He said something like well, it's stolen now.

He told me the only thing I could really do is call back with the camera's serial number. Then they can prevent the camera from being sold in pawn shops.

By now, I had started to see the silver lining. Yeah, I had lost our camera. That really sucked. But in some ways this had been an adventure. I got to make an actual police report. How exciting. And if anything, I'd have something exciting to report on my blog. Exciting but not deadly. How can you beat that?

I met Tim and Jack at the Maritime museum. They had already been on the submarine and destroyer. I was glad. I'm not really into ships. They had waited to go on the Endeavor though. That was good because I had wanted to see that. First we climbed up this lighthouse. I don't know what happened to me but I was exhausted. I don't know. Am I that out of shape? Or was it something about the type of stairs? I have no idea, but my legs hurt me all day.

When we climbed back down, we met this extremely lovely older volunteer. She was so sweet. She told she had an ancestor on the first and second fleet. Jack was whining for us to go. Tim took him away finally so I could talk to the woman. I asked her the name of the ancestor on the first fleet. She told me it. I made a note to remember it. I'd write it down later and look it up online. I was so excited about all of this.

And before Tim and Jack had walked away, Tim, out of the blue, told this woman we were thinking of moving to Australia someday. The dark cloud over my head was suddenly replaced with lollipops and rainbows. We had done lots of talking about visiting Australia again. We hadn't done much talk about actually moving there. And here Tim was telling this woman it might be a possibility.

We went into the Endeavor. As we stepped onto the ship, I told Tim the name of the first fleet ancestor. I couldn't imagine forgetting the name, but I figured I should have a back up.

In the Endeavor, there are parts where the ceiling is very low. You have to bend down. I did this and it made me really dizzy. It must have messed up my brain because when I stood up I couldn't remember the name of the First Fleet convict! I'm not joking. I asked Tim and he didn't remember either. I have a feeling he hadn't paid attention in the first place.

Tim suggested I go ask the woman again. I felt foolish doing so, but I felt I'd regret it if I didn't. Unfortunately I couldn't find her.

We went into the museum itself for awhile. That was fairly interesting. We then went to the gift shop. I think it's probably the best gift shop I've seen in Sydney. It had a lot of cool stuff. We didn't buy anything though. And now I can't really remember what was there that I thought was so cool. I do remember that I quickly read a Tim Winton picture book. It was about a little girl who's afraid of the deep water.

After the museum we decided to get lunch. At one point, Tim told me someone had called his phone. But....I forgot exactly. Something like he didn't understand the message? I was frantically excited. It must be about our camera! Someone had found it! I thought maybe it was the HSBC. I had given them Tim's number because it's the one I had handy. I don't know my own phone number. I called back. It was them. But they hadn't found the camera. They had called just to to tell us that it hadn't been found yet. I thought that was a tiny bit odd that they had to call to tell us that. But I also thought it was nice of them.

We decided to eat lunch. We're not big fans of eating at Darling Harbour. I think we tried looking for something. Nothing appealed to us. I had seen another chocolate cafe. I suggested maybe we go there. Maybe they'd have healthy food as well.

Do you notice we have a correlation here between lost camera days and chocolate cafes?

We went to the cafe. I don't remember if they had healthy food or not. I do remember that we were horrified at the prices. I suggested we just buy a couple pieces of candy and go elsewhere. Those were really delicious.

We left Darling Harbour and tried to find a restaurant. We had no luck, but we did find another cupcake place. Babycakes. We decided lunch could wait. Why pass up the chance to eat sugar? I forgot what Jack and Tim got. I got a mini-lamington. It was very good--much better than the one at the Aquarium.

I think this time we took the train home. Tim thought the station was close to Darling Harbour. I have to say I disagree. The walk is long enough to make me feel it's better to just skip the train and walk all the way back.

Sometime during this day, I suddenly realized my toe didn't hurt anymore. I had injured it in late December. It hurt for a long time...nothing horrible. I could still walk. It didn't slow me down at all in Australia. But my toes twitch sometimes, and when they did, with the injury, I'd get a little ouch. Or if I accidentally bumped it a bit, that would hurt. Suddenly though I realized my toe felt normal. I was healed!


It was getting late and we still hadn't eaten lunch yet. We had plans for dinner with Fe and her boys. I knew we probably should just skip lunch, yet we hadn't eaten anything healthy all day. We needed something.

We ate at David Jones. I kind of thought we'd get something small. But Tim ended up getting these two big pastas. I told myself I'd just eat a few bites. But one of them was SO delicious. I said screw it. I'll just eat a light dinner.

Jack and I went to the juice place. He ordered a make-your-own juice. The one he made had ginger, orange, and mango. It was very good!

We went back to our apartment.

I think Tim went to a pay phone to call the credit card company. He believed and hoped we had insurance that would pay for the camera.

I don't remember what I did...probably let my stomach rest.

We talked to Fe later, and decided to go to this Thai restaurant Tim had been interested in. Spice I Am. Fe is much more organized than I am. She called ahead to see if we could get a booking. I think they told her they don't take them. Maybe? They told her to come early because it gets crowded. She was nice enough to leave ahead of time with her sons to get us a table. Then she got there and they told her they wouldn't let her have a table until our whole party was there. It was really annoying. But I'm kind of used to that because it happens in the United States at certain restaurants. I can understand the rule to a point. It would be awful for one person to hold a table for eight for an hour. But I don't think it hurts to let half a party hold a table for a couple of minutes--while waiting for the rest of the group to arrive. Sometimes these restaurants take their little rules a little too far.

The company was fabulous.

The food was okay.

Well, honestly I wasn't at all hungry. I just had an entree (That's Appetizer for you American readers).

Tim told me later that the food was incredibly spicy--even for him. He was shocked that Fe's sons managed to eat it. Those kids are very impressive. They should enter a spicy food contest!

We had fun talking. I told Fe my story about meeting someone who had First Fleet ancestors. She trumped that with a story of her own. That Fe never ceases to amaze me.

One thing I found annoying about the restaurant is they were very reluctant to take ingredients out or substitute stuff. I don't know why that is. It could be that they have one of those ego-infected chefs. Eat my food the way I serve it or get out! If it wasn't that, it could be that the food's not made fresh. Maybe it's all made already and they can't change it.

Who knows.

We walked to World Square and ate at Breadtop Cafe. I tried Mochi for the first time. I didn't like it. And I don't think anyone liked it. I kept trying to push my food on the others. And I can't say they were eager to take it.

The three boys went into a dollar shop while we talked. Jack used his allowance to buy glasses with pop out eyes. What a treasure!

I just looked at my notes to see if there was anything else I've forgotten.

There was. Unfortunately, it wasn't a good thing.

When we were walking to the restaurant, Tim, Jack, and I had stood on the curb waiting for the light to change. We were talking among ourselves--being a family. There were people crossing from the other way. I vaguely saw a woman approaching us with a small wheeled suitcase. She was mumbling something. I wasn't paying much attention to her. I thought she was mentally ill or talking on her mobile. When she got closer though, we learned she had been talking to us. We were in her way and she was trying to get her suitcase up. I can't blame her for wanting us to move.  No, not at all. And maybe we were standing in the wrong place. Maybe we should have been more to the side.

But this woman treated us like we had just committed the worse crime against humanity. She was incredibly bitchy. She asked us to move in a very uncivil tone. We moved out of her way and I imitated her voice. See, I do things like this. I can't just let things go. I don't sit there and think this might be a crazy woman. She might have a knife and come over and stab us. Reactions just pop out of my mouth sometimes. The woman didn't attack us, but she did turn around and spat out some very angry words.

She was a scary woman. There was something incredibly creepy about her. I won't say she was ugly. But like the Passionflower cook watching me from the window....this was another person who belonged in a horror movie. She kind of reminded me of the scary girl from The Ring.
That incident made me lose even more faith in humanity. I think there's just some people out of who get their joy out of bullying strangers. Someone glances at them in the grocery store and they take it as an attack. They're happy to have an excuse to bitch out a stranger. Someone doesn't move out of the way fast enough and they verbally attack them.

But we all have our opinions. The bitchy woman probably went home to her blog and said she's losing faith in humanity because stupid tourists don't know how to move the f*ck out of her way.

Yeah. We live in a nice world.

But actually that doesn't have to be a sarcastic statement. Because to make up for all the meanness in the world, there are these incredibly nice people. I met some of them in Australia.