|Journey got off to a very bad start when arrived at Rio airport to find my 1st flight had been cancelled! Was a night flight to Santiago and was nobody around to ask what was going on. Had seen the next one was early the next morning so was just settling in for a night on the airport floor with my backpack as a pillow when someone turned up at the LAN desk, found me and sent me to a 5* hotel on Ipanema beach for the night! Was pure luxury - room service, cable tv, swimming pools, sea views etc etc couldn`t stop smiling the whole night - a great way to spend my last night in South America! And I still made my connection for the same flight to Sydney the next day so all turned out for the best in the end...but having a taste of luxury is not always good as now not looking forward to the total holes I am going to have to stay in in Asia!
Arrived at Beth`s flat in Elizabeth Bay (after trying speaking to the taxi driver in Spanish & getting blank looks!) and got a lovely welcome...
"Oh my god you look like such a backpacker!" followed by "Here`s the shower, here`s the laundry and here`s my wardrobe - borrow ANY of my clothes!" Ha! Don`t think my flip flops are going to go down too well then here in the Sydney bars and clubs!! But I know she was pleased to see me really!!
Beth`s flat is lovely - is near the waterfront and is so homely and cosy. I knew immediately I wasn`t going to want to leave. Is so nice just to be able to lie on a sofa, watch tv, have hot showers, sleep in a comfy bed with a duvet, drink water out of a tap, blow dry my hair, not have to wear flip flops in the shower...the list is endless!! All the little things you miss from home...
Was totally jetlagged when arrived after flying half way around the world, crossing the dateline and losing a whole day of my life! But in true Beth & Amy style it was straight down to the pub and get on the beers...already am finding Australia a culture shock - there are so many rules!! And I can`t even get served without having to show ID - is ridiculous!! But I think everyone got tired of my moaning and having to remind me I wasn`t in South America anymore so I soon learned to keep quiet!! And I think is bit of a taster of what it`s going to be like going home...
The whole week was great though and Beth was an absolute star. She had got loads planned for my stay and took time off work so we could do lots of nice things together. I met up with Jules and Dan a few times - old friends from when I lived here before and was great to see them...nobody changes really - everyone just looks a little older!
We went to the Live Earth concert at the Aussie stadium the first day, which was amazing. Saw loads of bands - the highlights probably being Jack Johnson and Crowded House..such a great day...but I realised my drinking skills are not what they used to be and cannot keep up with the others or do all-day drinking anymore so Beth had to take me home as soon as it ended and everyone else going out for the rest of the night! (In my defence I did drink 10 schooners of beer!)
Beth & Gen (her housemate) hosted a big "Christmas in July" dinner party and was absolutely brilliant - prob one of my highlights Beth! Had a huge roast dinner with lots of friends, secret santa, party games, followed by karaoke, far too much red wine and basically carnage (and then a fight with the next door neighbour...!)....the cream carpet the next day was not a pretty sight!! So much fun though...it almost felt like a real xmas especially as was so cold and rainy outside.
We hired a car for a couple of days (my first time driving for 8 months - fortunately I`ve not forgotten how!) and went down to the Hunter Valley wine region for some wine tasting. Had such a good laugh, pretending we were wine experts and basically just drank wine all day. Ended up in a pub at night where apparently we were too drunk so got "taken off tap". Well I nearly lost it with the barman after he said that to me (more stupid rules!) and got a bit aggressive, so we had to leave before we got into anymore trouble! (Agro Amy is now my name..ha ha!)
Did a few of the city sights, although didn't feel like had to be too much of a torusit as have been to Sydney before. Saw the Bridge and Opera House on a lovely sunny day, great for the photos! Sydney really is such a beautiful city - I love it. Also did the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk and a trip down memory lane for me in Coogee Beach where saw all my old haunts and my old flat..was a very weird feeling going back!
Also met up with Adele, another of our friends from home a few times and great to see her too - a big thank you to both of you for my dinner treat at the Summit restaurant (40th floor revolving restaurant with amazing views of the whole city) was fab!...And Beth a big thank you for basically treating me all the time and looking after me! Lots of good times and happy memories! (Although I think we were both secretly glad when I left so we can get back to normality, stop drinking and detox!!)
Was a pretty emotional goodbye though on my part and horrible feeling having to go off on my own again, I didn't want to leave! Still finding it hard to get enthusiastic about Asia as I just don't think anywhere in the world can compare to South America. Will definitely make the most of it though as I know it will soon be time for me to go home and then I`ll be wishing I was away anywhere again!
So the last leg of my trip begins, South East Asia...first stop Bali, Indonesia!