Friday, 18 December 2015
Well it has been quite a while since writing anything at all in this travel blog. I must apologise for this because whilst I have not done much travelling, I have still travelled a little and not shared because my mood was a bit blue. I've been battling quite a number of health issues and supporting my Bonnie Ronnie with health issues of her own, also through the passing of her nearest and dearest friend.
Okay now that we have all the doom and gloom done with lets get on with sharing our most recent adventure. It all started as we were about to leave the UK on our world tour in 2011, Ronnie made contact with a number of her school friends all over the world via social media however we were out of time and didn't get a chance to catch up in person with those in the UK. So, about a year ago when one of Ronnie's school teachers (Alison) now living in the UK let her know that she would be visiting her (Alison's) daughter in New Zealand in December 2015, we decided to 'make a plan' (an old ridgeback expression - for those who don't know Rhodesians commonly refer to one another as Ridgebacks after the breed of dog Rhodesian Ridgeback who have a ridge of hair along the spine which grows forward or against the grain - a beautiful, tenacious animal bread for the hunting of lions.)
'The plan' would see Alison take a five day stopover in Sydney and we would book into the same hotel as Alison for the same period and catch up on the news since their last meeting some 44 years earlier. Bookings were made to stay in the Oaks Goldbrough Apartments at Darling Harbour ... don't you just love these names, by the way they are just as romantic as they sound so if you get the chance do yourself a favour and visit a really beautiful part of the world. Flights were booked well in advance through a company (Skiddoo) whose name didn't inspire confidence I must confess. Because the flights were booked almost a year in advance and being domestic, of course they were rescheduled. Much correspondence took place during the interim and as the date drew nearer so anticipation increased proportionately ... after all 44 years is a heck of a long time - over 2/3 of our lifetime.
Ronnie asked Yvonne (a great friend and quasi relative) if she would mind taking us to the airport on the day which was December 9th, 2015 at about 05:30 as our flight departed at 07:15am and we expected traffic to be heavy but not quite gridlock. The date and time arrived with a sudden rush and it was panic stations when Yvonne was 10 minutes overdue .... she had overslept but arrived within two minutes of Ronnie's panic attack with her son Ray in tow. Ray a polite young teenager helped us put the bags into the boot (trunk) and off we went lickety split for the airport.
Our flight was uneventful and we arrived in Sydney's domestic terminal 30 minutes after takeoff because NSW has summer daylight saving and QLD does not, this drives small business in both states just a little insane because they are on the same geographic time plane and doing business just gets a wee bit tougher for this short period. I'm not getting into a debate here on the pro's and cons of daylight saving suffice to say that some of the arguments against it are hilarious - '..the cows don't know what time to come in for milking', '.. the extra hour fades my curtains' or '.. the extra hour is just too long for my pot roast' etc.
Alison's flight was due to arrive about 2 hours before ours but when we arrived at the hotel just after 10:00am Alison was nowhere to be found and check-in had to be after 2:00pm, Ronnie was worried again... I said, "She probably found a place to get some shut-eye cause she will be jet lagged." Ronnie couldn't accept this and kept calling and messaging Alison ... "She said she would meet us at the pool", Ronnie insisted. On further investigation it turned out that Alison was able to get into her room early, had a shower and fell asleep, the front desk had been asked to send us up on our arrival but the message seemed to have been misplaced or misinterpreted.... all is well that ends well.
The reunion was quite gleeful with the girls hugging and laughing, I could just imagine them as young adults thrilled to have found one another at some event or other. I'm always amazed to see the young person in an older body, that spark in the eye remains forever young. The Hotel we were staying at was one of those residential apartment hotels with a great history. Built in 1883 it had been a Wool store constructed with Ironbark columns and beams to the 7th floor, the one Bonnie Ronnie and I happened to be staying on. The original beams, columns and Tallowwood floors have been preserved, exposed and polished to produce an old world charm in a very comfortable modern hotel. Another 7 floors had been added with the penthouse suite's on the 13th Floor and permanent residential apartments on the floor above.
It was decided that we would set out to explore Darling Harbour briefly, collect some fruit and veg for breakfast and a bottle of wine for supper. We found that we could walk through to to the harbour under cover of walkways, carparks and shopping centres within 10 minutes. We had no sooner arrived back at Alison's penthouse apartment when we saw a storm approaching from the west. I'll let our images do the talking now.