From the beginningEric | August 6th, 2005 | 10:30 am
Now then. You all know we made it safe to Sydney, and that we are doing well. But you have missed out on all the particulars. So let’s start from the beginning of our trip to Australia…
As you know, we finally got our visas and made our flight arrangements. We left on Thursday the 21st of July and landed on Saturday the 23rd. Never got a proper Friday, but that’s international jet-setting for you. Our flight was relatively uneventful and we flew from Tampa to LA, Auckland, and then finally to Sydney. Angela’s friend Manuel was kind enough to meet us at the airport and then we all went off to his and his partner David’s apartment/gallery in Surry Hills (Surry Hills is a suburb of Sydney, which is like a section of town to you and me). We dropped off our bags and then set off to get some lunch and see the city.
It’s weird to think that all of our belongings are in those four bags. We pretty much took only what we could fit in the allowable checked baggage and it wasn’t a lot. So we took over the guest bed and met the third roommate. David and Manuel have an adorable Weimaraner named Jed. He was great company while we stayed over at the apartment for the first few days in town.
So on our first day in town, Manuel took us around the city. Heck, we had just flown 19 hours and needed to eat lunch for goodness sake. It would have been cruel to sit around lolly-gagging. Our first stop was the train to take a trip up to the harbour.
The “subway” here is really more of a regular commuter train. The neat thing about them is that they are double decker trains where you can either sit at ground level or up top. We found our train and then it was off to tour the city. We went to the Museum restaurant that had a great view of the harbour and if you strained your neck you could see the Sydney Bridge.
Then we decided to visit the famous Royal Botanic Gardens. On the way to the park we walked past the Sydney Opera House, which in reality is a lot smaller and a lot beiger (more beige?) than it ever looks in pictures. Even my photo comes off looking pretty much like you’d expect it to look – but trust me, you could practically but that thing in your back yard. It’s still impressive, but the unexpective diminutive nature of the building is tough to get past for the first day or so. And did I mention it’s beige? Here is a picture shown actual size:
Then we sauntered over to the gardens. It really is a remarkable park and they have a lot of exotic plants and trees, and all sorts of birds and such. They even have a section where all the trees are full of fruit bats. These are like regular bats, except they are as big as your head and could carry a small puppy away. Luckily, they would only be interested if the puppy was pomegranate shaped, so no worries. But the flora was wondrous.
From the park you can get a great view of the city. Sydney is pretty small compared to New York, as far as a downtown area, but the skyline is great and the small little towns all nestled around it give Sydney a small town feel as well. The first picture is looking towards the city from the park and the second is looking back over the harbour.
So then it was back towards home through Hyde Park which is more typical of a city park, although through the middle it has a beautiful tree lined walkway. It reminded me of something you might see in Paris or some such place. Very regal and a nice way to break away from the city.
Then we finally headed back to the apartment. David has a great little car parked outside. It’s an Alpine Sunbeam and it’s just large enough to fit the Opera House in it. David also has a 1960 Belair, but you’ll have to see that later. Here’s the Alpine:
Finally back at the apartment, we settled in for the night. It really is a fantastic space. It was fun living in such an artsy flat, and it didn’t hurt that David’s art gallery was just downstairs. Here is a picture of of the apartment above the gallery:
If you are interested, you can see David’s gallery website at www.rex-livingston.com. So, that was it for our first day. Sure it was over two weeks ago, but with the whole crossing the date line, it’s really like 23 days in the future, or something. I will be attempting to catch up in order of how things happened in the last 2 weeks. So stay tuned…