We made it to Sydney at 6:00 AM on 9/6/07. Flights don’t land before 6:00 AM because the noise would disturb residents near the airport! We have found that mindset of kindness typical of Australians so far. They go out of their way to be helpful. But, wait, I am getting ahead of myself.
Polly took us to the Savannah Airport on Tuesday (9/4). After a plane change in Atlanta, we flew to Los Angeles. From there we took off for Sydney at 10:30 PM PDT (1:30 AM in Metter). Crossing the international date line, we completely lost September 5th. How does that happen? We figure we spent about 13 hours enjoying two small seats and a few fitful naps on Quantas before landing in Sydney. But, all was not lost, since we got two reasonable meals and great service from the staff.
Going through customs was a bit of an experience. I had taken some trail mix consisting of nuts and dried fruit in my back pack. Realizing that this was a no-no coming into Australia, I discarded the package before entering customs. While waiting for our bags the sniffing dog came checking out my backpack. He alerted on my bag. There must have been some remaining scent of the dried apples. I explained the situation to the agents. They were most accommodating. (yet another of Aussie hospitatlity)
We took the Circular Quay ferry to Manly, where we will stay for the next four days. When we got off the ferry, we stopped for some coffee near the harbor. When I ordered a coffee, the guy asked if I was American. He told me that coffee in most shops here (with the exception of Starbucks) is not brewed like ours. I should always ask for a “tall black” if I wanted something resembling our coffee. Then he told me he was from Colorado. After walking around Manly and leaving our bags at Manly Lodge, our home for the next few days, we went back to the ferry area. While sitting at a table near the coffee shop, the same young man came over with another cup of coffee and told us to enjoy our stay. (More hospitality)
As I write this, I am at an internet cafe at Darling Harbor. It is about 1:00 PM here. We have been told that it is best to stay awake until normal Aussie bedtime so we will sleep well. We are taking in the sites around the Sydney waterfront, because tomorrow the area is in “lockdown”. Some of you may know that Bush and other world leaders are here for the APEC Conference. You would not believe the security around this place. Everywhere you look there are police, water patrols, security on the ferries and swat teams visible on top of buildings. The Opera House is off limits, as are other places we wanted to see downtown. We will have to catch those places when we come back through on our way home.
Tomorrow we are off for a day trip to the Blue Mountains. Tour information centers are suggesting alternatives for the next few days.
Not sure when I can post again. We will be off to Adeliade on 9/9.