Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Go Climb a Bridge

Happy new year! I'm excited about lots of things in '09, starting with a new President and including a new dress and eventually a new husband! The next few posts will take you along on the journey Adi and I just had travelling around Oz with my parents. It was a great trip and it will be hard to remember all the highlights but I'll do my best.

It all started as my boat came into port, me wearing a powder blue knit suit circa 1939. My eyes scanned the crowd, seeking the handsome bloke who was to meet me upon arrival. Meanwhile, Adi was doing shots in an all-white bar and shouting out "crikey" at regular intervals, while regaling the crowd with tales of his most recent cattle drive across the outback. A short while later, Adi stood in a large bucket and used a pail to shower and I couldn't help but notice how his muscles rippled against the water. Oh, wait. That's not my story. It's Baz Lurhman's. My photos won't be as good and some might not see Adi's resemblance to Hugh Jackman (I do though) but hopefully the stories will be less trite- and it shouldn't take you 3 hours to read them!

I met mom and dad in Sydney on Saturday, 20 December. I snuck into their hotel room where they were fast asleep, recovering from a longer plane ride than I had. We hung out until we went to dinner at the famous Rockpool's which was very good. My highlight was my entrée (in the everywhere but American sense of the word, meaning appetizer). Goat cheese tortellini with prawns in a sweet and savory sauce finished with pine nuts. Yum. We spent the next day on a private tour with Glenn, who, incidentally, really liked to use the word incidentally. We drove around greater Sydney and got a feel for some of the suburbs. Personally, I would have preferred to wander on foot but I was just along for the ride. We saw a number of perspectives of Sydney's beautiful harbour, with the bridge and opera house in the skyline. Afternoon tea watching the surfers at Manly beach was fun but we didn't make it to Bondi, so that's on deck for my next trip to Sydney. We saw where Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman and the prime minister reside when in Sydney but couldn't secure an invitation to any of their spots. I'm sure when they all come to Melbourne, they'll be driven by Goathlands st. to check out our abode.

On Monday we rose earlier in an effort to catch Hugh at his favourite brekky spot. (Mum watched the Oprah special and took careful notes- unfortunately, she lost her notes) She remembered one place was called Bill's and we went and enjoyed their great ricotta hotcakes. She realised after the fact that this was Nicole's spot not Hugh's, but we didn't see either of them. Then we walked from Darlinghurst up the rolling hills of Sydney, through Hyde Park (which, if it is in need of private sponsorship, should contact Hewlett Packard, as their shared initials are inset into the ground at frequent intervals). It was a nice breezy day and we continued our walk down through the Royal Botanical gardens all the way to the Opera house. We grabbed take away lunch and sat by the water in Circular Quay, watching a mean mother force her unwilling daughters to busk for their Christmas presents with their violins and a 3 Christmas song repertoire.

In spite of this lovely morning, the best was yet to come, at least for two of us. Mom returned to the hotel to relax while Dad and I participated in Sydney's famous Harbour Bridge climb. The three hour journey begins with the issuing of Star Trek like space suits and a safety briefing. Then us, joined by our group of 12 and our guide, set off to climb the over 1500 steps to the top of the arch of the bridge. Other than 4 ladders which get the heart beat up it was suprisingly less scary than anticipated. The views of the city standing above 8 roaring lanes of traffic, were magnificent, and it was a fun afternoon. I brainstormed that Dad's next job can be BBCC- the Brooklyn Bridge Climb Commissioner. He scoffed at my idea until he heard from teh guide that Giuliani had been in discussions with the owner of the operations until 9-11. ONce he heard Rudy liked the idea, he suddenly thought it might actually work. Those of you who know how my dad feels about Giuliani will understand why I was a bit insulted. Nevertheless, we're currently seeking volunteers for the first BBCC, perhaps to be completed in 2011....Adi and I have decided we'll wait to be the 5th or 6th group to do it!

We finished our stay in Sydney with our best meal yet, at Altitude, above the Shangri-la hotel. The chef himself came out to chat with mum about her needs and the views were even more spectacular than on the bridge.

Having heard many disparaging comments about our neighbor to the north, I was expecting the worst in Sydney. Instead, I found a beautiful city with people who were friendly than I anticipated. At the same time, however, it all felt a bit hollow and showy...lacking the substance that we have here in Melbourne. I am now more convinced than ever that Sydney is a good place to be a tourist but Melbourne is a better city to live! (And being a tourist here is fun too...but you'll have to wait a few blogs for details of that!)

Until the next blog- which will follow us up to Queensland- enjoy some pics of Sydney and Happy New Year!

The iconic views of Sydney harbour

Dad and me on top of the bottom of the world


Amy Kopkin said...

Your iconic shot of the harbour bridge with the opera house is much prettier than mine. I had a grey, cloudy backdrop. I like the blue sky better!

falbs said...

Melbourne v. Sydney? Is that a friendly rivalry (S.F v L.A.) or an ugly one (N.Y. v Boston)? Great to hear you are doing well.

Ellen said...

Hi! Great post! I am sorry I have been AWOL, I have just been completely and utterly sucked into my new blog, work, kids (reason for said blog), yadda, yadda, yadda. I WISH I could just come grab Hedy and come visit you. Man, I miss traveling. Count me in for bridge climb in 2011, it'll take me till then to train for it.