Thursday, January 29, 2009
Phil and I head to the airport to be there by 10:00 am for my 12:00 pm flight. Now for those not in the know, apparently January 26th is a holiday in Australia. It's Australia Day. Kind of like our 4th of July without the independence thing. Everyone carries or wears Australian flags (some literally, as in capes around their shoulders), has the day off of work, and many barbecue. It also means (for us in the city) road closures because of the classic car show that lined our street. Hence...the leaving extra early for the airport because we had to go an alternate route.
Anyways, we get to the airport and find out that my flight has a 5 hour maintenance delay. My first thought? Do I really want to get on an airplane that is going to cross the Pacific that just needed a 5 hour maintenance delay? My second thought? Well, shoot...I have a 5 hour delay before my 30 hour trip.
So Phil and I checked in my luggage and then left to go back to the festivities for a few hours. Well, from my previous post you've learned that it is hot in Sydney at the moment so I took off my sneakers and put on my flip flops to walk around. We got back to the apartment around 1:30 and Phil decided to go online to check the status of the flight.
Lo and behold...we learned the flight was now cancelled. I raced around the apartment grabbing my purse and my carry-on (that always has my ipod and at the very minimum 4 books, my crossword puzzle book, and my soduku book...remember, a 30 hour trip?). We get back to the airport and I have to go with an agent down through customs to baggage to retrieve my luggage. For a moment I thought I'd just made an episode of Border Security (one of my favorite Aussie tv shows) when the customs agents came towards us yelling that we couldn't come in this way. But made it through, got my bags, and wheeled them (all 3...yes, we are trying not to have to ship anything back, so everytime I come back to the states it looks like I've got everything but the kitchen sink in my bags) back to the ticket counter.
I was put on the United flight to Los Angeles that left at 3:15 and was on my way. After discovering that yes...I was still wearing my flip flops. No problem in LA, but a bit of a problem at my next connection. Which would be Toronto. Why? Because I was told that because it's an Air Canada flight, I have to have a connection in a Canadian city. Blame Canada, I say. And Toronto in late January is cold when you're wearing a light sweater and flip flops. The looks I was receiving as I was walking down the aisle were interesting. I could tell people wanted to ask me if I knew I was going to Toronto. Whatever.
Well...this is getting longer than I thought and American Idol is on in 10 minutes (I know...but I can't. stop. watching. it.)...so, I got to Toronto, thought I'd have to leave my bags there so I could get into the US customs hall before it closed, but 10 minutes before they closed, got my bags, made the mad dash to US customs, got on the flight and made it back to Philly at 10:45 pm on the same date that I took off . The longest Australia Day ever. So I toasted the holiday once I got back to the house with a nice glass of cold Diet Coke filled to the top with ice while petting Sox. Australia is nice, but oh...I love America.
Friday, January 23, 2009
I was on my daily walk yesterday...no, didn't see my running buddy...perhaps it was too warm for him? Anyways, I was on my daily walk and thought, "What the heck am I doing outside?" It was 9:00 am and the sun was already beating down on me. I'm sweating like a pig, I'm sure my face was bright red...just not worth it. And today is much of the same. Although I need to go out and get something for lunch. We are hitting the back of the empty food cabinet here at the Lankfords. On a totally different note...
Last Saturday, Phil and I had a fun day. We walked next door into the Botanical Gardens to take a tour of Government House in the morning. After our usual walk over to the Renaissance Cafe for coffee, tea, and warm ham & cheese croissants. Mmmm...
This used to be where the governor of New South Wales lived (until 1996) but now is just where the governor works. They also have receptions and dinners there for visiting heads of states. It was interesting (and free...what are the odds of that?) and had some really nice views of the harbour from the back gardens.
We then drove out to the suburbs because Phil needed his hair cut at the mall. We were going out there (the suburbs, not the mall) anyway to meet a couple from church for dinner but had some hours to kill before the dinner. And let me say before I go on...what is with the Australian practice of everything closing up at 5:00 pm? Even on Friday and Saturday nights? The only night of the week that anything is open past then is Thursday when things are open until 9:00. It's Saturday night...the stores are pulling their gates down to lock up...the food court is clearing out...and it's 5:00 pm. And our dinner wasn't until 7:00pm.
So...we hopped into the Jeep and drove over to the Sydney Olympic Park (just a few miles down the road) to see if anything was going on there. And we stumbled upon the Australian Youth Olympic Festival 2009! Going on from Jan, 14-18 was a group of 1,800 athletes from 25 countries competing in 19 sports. We walked into the Aquatic Center and were able to sit in the stands and watch some swimming competitions. Complete with medal presentations and singing of various countries' national anthems. I felt like I was at the Olympics. Sort of...the stands weren't that full and the athletes were just teens, but still...
All of this was to promote the...drum roll please...the first every Youth Olympic Games of 2010 to be held in Singapore! Truly! It's going to take place August 14-26 in 2010 for athletes between the ages of 14 and 18. The brochure we were handed (as well as the bracelet that Karen, I will give you for your Olympic collection) says that "Singapore 2010 will see some 3,600 young athletes from 205 National Olympic Committees competing in 26 sports comprising 201 events." Cool! For more info check out www.singapore2010.sg
Friday, January 16, 2009
a log ride, some shows and arcade game shops, the Scooby Doo Spooky indoor roller coaster...and when I tried to take the picture of the outside of the building, look who rolls up in the Mystery Machine for the Scooby Doo Disco Detectives Show...zoinks!
The last thing we saw was the Hollywood Stunt Driver show. Very much like the stunt show at Disney's MGM park. Sunday morning we got up and drove over to Sea World. Here's my picture of the polar bear that would not turn around even if his life depended on it.We did the Jet Rescue roller coaster (you're on side-by-side jet skis), the Corkscrew roller coaster, the Bermuda Triangle log ride, went to see the fish and sharks in the aquarium, watched the dolphin show, rode the monorail, did not go into the water park (I hate walking around parks in my wet bathing suit), watched the water ski show, and finally watched the Fish Detectives Sea Lion Show...picture below.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Get up really early. Slept in till 7:45 this morning...finally getting back to a full night's sleep.
Eat toast and tea for breakfast. Mmm...my favorite breakfast food, toast.
Walk for an hour in the park. (and see my running buddy.)
Shower and get dressed. (I am dressed when I walk in the park. I know this is Australia, but I think even here, people would stare a bit at that.)
Go on the computer.
Play some Yahoo games. I'm frustrated I just can't get past making $360 a day in Penquin Diner. What is the secret?
Clean or do laundry.
Finish cleaning or laundry.
Go on the computer.
Maybe go on another walk. (Although it's been in the 90's here a lot this week...too hot for me.)
Sit on the balcony and people watch.
Eat dinner here or walk and meet Phil at some restaurant.
Watch reruns on tv. Seriously...Friends is still the funniest show on tv.
Go on the computer.
Read some more.
Go to bed.
Yeah...I know...my life is tough. But this weekend will break up the vigorous pace. Phil and I are flying to the Gold Coast tonight. I don't know too much about it, except that it's about an hour or hour and a half flight to an area on the coast (uh...duh) between Sydney and Brisbane. We're going to Sea World, Warner Brother's Movie World (sort of like Six Flags), and the Australian Outback Spectacular Dinner and Rodeo show. Whoo hoo! I'll be sure to post some pictures when we get back. That is, if I can fit it in sometime in my schedule.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Part of the boat parade (if you can see it in blurry picture...sorry about that)