02.12.2009 - 13.12.2009
After a time zone related mix up, Anthony and I picked mom up from the airport on December 2nd. It was really good/unreal to see her. We went to the Wyndham hotel in downtown Sydney (a block from Hyde Park), dropped her bags, and walked a few blocks to have Thai food for dinner. Afterwards, we walked to Circular Quay to have dessert...mmm lemon meringue pie. This was also when I gave her her christmas surprise: tickets to see Handel's Messiah in the Opera House!!! Circular Quay is the area on the harbor where the Opera House and Harbor Bridge are. We stopped and looked at the big Christmas tree and holiday displays in the city on our way. We decided the walk was pretty long and took a train back to the hotel.
The next morning we checked out of the hotel and headed for the airport. We flew south to Melbourne and picked up our rental car...a snazzy banana colored Hyundai Getz. Whats wrong with frugality?
Immediatly, we both recognized that driving was going to be a challenge. First off, the car was a manual. Second, the stick was on the left side of the driver, not the right...also the turning signals and windshield wiper controls were swapped (which she never fully straightened out). You got better though mom Third, traffic goes opposite ways and to top it all off, there are tons of roundabouts in Australia.
After getting the car, we navigated our way to Ballarat. Mom couldn't get enough of the 'gingerbread' houses. The town is full of original homes and buildings from way back. Ballarat used to be a meca for gold miners and is such an old school, historic town...it was pretty cute.
The resort was one of a kind for Worldmark. They had bought the Blythwood Grange...a place that used to be a boys orphanage. The resort includes 40 acres comprised of a huge lake (swans & ducks included), rose gardens, willow trees etc. The buildings themselves were like haunted mansions. Kind of like the Portland speghetti facotry turned into a resort. I introduced her to Tim Tams and solo (carbonated lemonade drink), she made me toasted cheese, we watched a lot of movies, went shopping in the little shops, never forgot dessert...Ballarat was so fun.
After three days in Ballarat, we checked out and drove six hours east to Lakes Entrance. Along the way, mom stopped in the middle of the highway, pulled over, and took pictures of Australian roadkill...fascinating! We saw a dead kangaroo, wombat, and parrot. After the drive, we were both pretty stressed out and ready to be off the road and away from roundabouts.
The resort was the nicest building in the town. Lakes Entrance is a small small fishing community. I'd say it's half, or less than half the size of Canby and on the coast. The beach was beautiful which was good because the town had little to offer. Our two days there were spent looking in antique shops, walking down the esplanade, eating cheese, crackers, and fruit, and watching TV.
We headed back to Melbourne on the day we were flying back to Sydney. We stopped at a mall and got my haircut because I was cranky. I was mildly cranky often...maybe stress of leaving aus? I'm not a teenager anymore so there goes that excuse. I was also stressed about showing mom a good time in Sydney in the limited amount of time she was here. I've been here since July and still haven't seen everything I wanted to.
Well, we flew back to Sydney at night time, got picked up by Anthony, and checked back into the hotel on Hyde Park. The next morning we went to Paddy's Market which is a huge indoor flea/growers market...for four hours we shopped for out souveneirs and christmas gifts...watch out everyone. After a rest in the hotel, we caught the ferry from circular quay to Manly. She got a good tour of the harbor...just as good as a cruise I'd say. After checking out the shops and beach in Manly, Anthony picked us up and brought us to his house in Seaforth. Judy has invited us over for dinner so mom could meet everyone. I think it went pretty well...ultimately, the conversation turned into timeshare talk which was good because mom loves talking about it and the Bennett's were really interested in the whole thing.
Well the next day was mom's last full day in Sydney. We went to The Rocks (the first architecturally established area of Sydney...on the harbor) in the morning. We ate 'brekky' at Pancakes on the Rocks and walked around the area for a while. Back at the hotel, mom took a much needed nap while Anthony helped me get all of my suitcases from school to his house. When I came back, mom and I got ready and headed for the Opera House. We both really enjoyed the show...who wouldn't. Some of the songs were ones I sang in choir at Canby, so that was fun. It was an event I'll remember forever. Afterwards, we walked to Max Brenner's and shared chocolate fondue
The next morning, we watched some Oprah, packed our bags, checked out of the hotel, and took a bus to my house and school in North Ryde. I got to show mom my house, I checked out of The Village, and we walked through Macquarie Campus for the last time. Initially this was a feeling of relief, but I'm sure I'll be sad and reflective once I'm gone.
We went to the airport, got dinner and dessert, and hung around for a while before mom checked in. We said goodbye and thankfully I wasn't that sad because I'll see her again in less than two weeks.
Ever since, I've been at Anthony's. We've been doing our same same...eggs in the morning, beach, naps, hanging out...tomorrow we are headed up to his beach house in Forster. Forster is the beach I went to when I first got to Australia. We're getting up early enough to see the sun rise on our way there...I should get some good pictures
Otherwise, I'm not doing much. Trying to soak in as much of Australia as I can.