Two Yanks Downunder

A blog about the experiences of two Americans on their first visit to the fabulous continent of Australia

Monday, July 24, 2006

Wet and Wild In Sydney

(Well, wet anyway!)

Ok, so we are on the ground down under (finally) and it is Saturday morning July 15 in the megalopolis of Sydney. The city is home to 20% of Australia's entire population, (in the U.S. such a city would have about 60 million people), and the sky is overcast and there has clearly been a lot of rain and more to come. The cool 60 degree temperatures are quite a break from the 90s we left behind in MN just 24 hours earlier!



First of all, we needed to get a shuttle to our hotel, and for some reason we actually went to an information kiosk and inquired about the process. Directed to station 7 outside of the airport terminal, we expect to find a KST shuttle van, but for some reason there are a bunch of other vehicles (of questionable quality) and drivers all beckoning that we avail ourselves of their services. Pretending to be dumbfounded and jet lagged foreigners, we outfox these rouge drivers at their own game by our silence and they all promptly scatter when an actual KST van pulls up.

Within minutes the van is all but full as a few other traveling couples join us, but we sit there for some minutes while the driver waits to see if he can fill his last remaining seat. At some point during this wait, a woman comments that the open seat could be the drivers profit margin and from that point on, she and Wendy (and occasionally this writer) are involved in a conversation that lasts until she and her husband are dropped off at their hotel. (Wendy adds - yes, she was quite a talker, but a fascinating woman who had painted her hot pink suitcase with all kinds of metallic paint in whirls and swirls. I thought it was gorgeous!!)

Our fellow traveler is from Aberdeen Scotland, but when Wendy notes that her accent does not seem particularly Scottish, she reveals that she is originally from the Tasman Island (just south of the eastern part of the Australian mainland) and that they are returning to visit family. Beyond that, she and Wendy share a lot of interests in arts and crafts and the creative process in general, so the conversation makes the ride pass rather quickly, although we later realize that it lasted about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, I am kind of freaking out that the driver sits on the right side of the car and drives on the left side of the road. Fortunately, all the other drivers seem to be doing the same thing.

When we get to our hotel in the Darlinghurst area of the city, the rain comes pouring down as if on cue and we get our first baptism down under. (Wendy adds - Darlinghurst is the Bohmeian section of town, full of chic pubs and little bistros and it was a totally perfect part of town for us.) There are two people sitting on chairs smoking cigarettes on the front porch of our hotel, and they turn out to be Andrew, our host, and his girlfriend whom I will call Anna since I cannot recall her actual name.




They give us a friendly welcome and show us to our room, which is up a couple of steps into a hallway and basically just on the other side of the wall from the porch. Andrew speaks fluent English with this interesting accent and he soon reveals that he is from Poland, as is his companion Anna. They both remind me of a Scott and Janine like couple in appearance and manner. He being a charming person of immense character and humor, with a sports cap atop his head everytime we see him, and she being a willowy blond, easy on the eyes. Much like Scott, Andrew show his appreciation of his companion by remarking how lucky he is that she came from Poland to be here and now they have been together for over two years.



Our room is not much to brag about, but it is in Sydney Australia, it is very economical, and that is a good thing in a city where prices for just about everything are significantly higher than in MN. We have our own bathroom (not a guarantee in many places), a small refrigerator, a microwave and a water heating device for tea, and a space heater (no central heating or air conditioning), and a double bed with lots of blankets.

So, we do what many other couples do when they have arrived at a seedy hotel in an exotic city and passions begin to overflow. We each take a shower (separately), put on fresh clothes, and ask where we can get a cheap but tasty lunch in this town.



(Wendy adds - Yes, my heart sank a bit when we first walked into the room - it was clean but probably best described in the four letter word term as being a "dive". It was the front room in the hotel and thus on the street and would be both noisy and a bit cold that night.) The next day we got to move to a bigger room with a balcony and some insulation from the street and that looked no better really, but was much more comfortable nad had good natural lighting so we were very happy for the change. AND Andrew and Anvette were so charming and helpful, that I would go there again!)

2 Comments:

At 7:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melbourne is a much nice place than Sydney and it's home to a much better sort of person. Just ask Min about the folks from Melbourne. Come down and see us sometime, Gainore

 
At 11:37 PM, Blogger Wendy and/or Don said...

Hi, Gainore,
I guess we will REALLY love Melbourne, cause we liked Sydney too! Thanks so much for reading our blog! Pictures are going up slowly (even in the old posts). (ws)

 

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