|After a great three weeks in New Zealand it was time to head back to Sydney for the final installment of our Oz adventures. It was lovely and warm when we got to Sydney after the chill of New Zealand - it was great to pack away the winter woollies! We got the shuttle bus to the Four Seasons hotel where Mark's Dad (Keith) and brother were hanging about the lobby. We went to check-in and much to our shock as well as that off Mark's Dad, we were told we were being upgraded to a junior suite. We thought it was Christmas and birthdays all rolled into one, especially after the holes we have become accustomed to. Thanks Dad, thanks Jayne!
The hotel was beautiful and the room enormous with fantastic views of George Street and over the harbour and Opera House. The room was clean, had a huge bed, sofa, chairs, desk - the works. It was a struggle to prise Jo out of the room after four days!
That evening we went out for a meal in Darling Harbour then for a few drinks with the family.
After a great night's sleep (no drunks in the corridors), we headed to Watson's Bay with Dad, Jayne (Mark's step-mum), Joanne (Mark's step-sister) and Chris, who should need no introduction to those who've read earlier installments of the journal. As ever, the boat trip across the harbour was great. Although, the sea at Watson's Bay was not as warm as Chris and Mark had become used to in Queensland, both took very little time to dive straight in. After checking for sharks, Dad jumped in too!! The girls sat on the beach. Watson's Bay is much smaller than Manly and Bondi and probably quieter (hard to tell in Autumn). It's famous for Fish and Chips though we weren't overly impressed.
As it was Dad's birthday, we all went out for a really good meal in Darling Harbour on Cockle Bay Wharf. The restuarant was I'm Angus. We had a good portion of the menu between us including prawns, oysters, kangaroo, lamb, steak ...... and of course liberal coating of wine and beer.
The next day we did admin jobs... doctor visits for malaria prescriptions, internet, laundry... the bits we don't like. We also went shopping for a didg, but more on that later.
That night, Jo and Mark went to the opera house to see a show. We felt we couldn't leave Oz without going. Although we had the cheap seats at the back we could just about make out Lesley Garrett and Anthony Warlow (Aussie mate of Lesley's). The show was really good and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. The last ten minutes were certainly very entertaining; all of a sudden, a scream went up and a woman in the row in front of us collapsed, was sick and was then dragged out by husband (we assume) and friend. It was fairly warm at the back. And as if that wasn't enough, 4 minutes into the encore, another women collapses, this time on Mark. Thankfully this old girl wasn't sick! A very memorable evening, both for the show and the comedy. As we left, both ladies were coming around and we're sure made full recoveries!
Thursday, we got up early to say goodbye to Dad and co as they had an early flight up to brisbane. Today, we went serious didgeridoo shopping. As any didg expert will tell you, no two are the same and you have to be very dilligent when buying an instrument. We spent hours looking around, different shapes, different art styles, differenty keys... Eventually we chose one from Far North Queensland, created by an artist who did everything from finding the wood to final artwork and varnishing, a process which can take a year or more. The one we chose has pictures of a snake, a kangaroo and a kookuburra. Our neighbours will love us when we get back.....
That night, we went out for $5 steaks and a few beers. Back to the backpacker lifestyle!
Friday, we left Sydney for Singapore, an 8 hour flight.