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A true account of our journey to and partial exploration of the Island Continent

A true account of our journey to and partial exploration of the Island Continent

May 19th, 2004, 04:17 PM
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A true account of our journey to and partial exploration of the Island Continent

Part One: Sydney

It was a dark and stormy night ... The excitement began as we departed Santa Fe's tiny airport in a nineteen seat prop plane that took us through the valley of snow capped 4200 meter peaks onto Denver.

We flew United on business class procured by a lavish use of frequent flyer miles left over from the operation of our B&B. Our flights, service, films and food were extremely comfortable and generous.

Our arrival in Sydney was eased by the pick up service at 6:30 AM ! of a friend who wishes to remain anonymous ( he didn't trust us to get into town on our own).

We then were treated to an early morning tour of some of the beautiful points of the downtown side of the harbour and then oriented to the Crowsnest where we would be eating and drinking for the next 4 days: Great Thai food and our own Woolie's.

We then headed down to the Commonwealth Games pool and while our host swam, explored the Milson's Point area. We rendezvoused for an excellent breakfast and political natter at Ripple's gazing up at the Bridge.

Left to our own devices, we took the ferry to Circular Quay and arranged our Bridge climb for the next evening, toured the Opera House and went back to Wollstonecraft to crash.

The weather was extremely fine while we were in Sydney and the city was thronged w/ vacationers enjoying the end of the school hols. It was extremely festive and everyone was having a good time.

Next day armed w/ our excellent value $40 weekly bus, train and ferry pass we headed out to Watson's Bay and hiked over to the lighthouse and South Head. On the way back while larking about, I fell off a very large cannon and unbeknownst to me tore a muscle in my calf and ligament in my knee. While anyone sensible would have bowed out of the Bridge climb, I perservered after fortifying take- a- way from Doyles.

We were booked at 4:25 and got out on the bridge w/ some color left in the sky. As we walked up the coathanger, lights were coming on everywhere and the city, ferryboats and pleasure craft turned to diamonds. While this was after peak time, it still cost $155, and was one of the highlights of our trip. There are the most spectacular views and the exhiliration of the climb made me forget my injuries.

Next morning we headed out to Manly and a rendezvous w/ our host. After sandwiches at the beach and lovely chocolate lined ice cream cones. We headed off towards Clontarf to start our hike back to Manly. This is certainly one of the most beautiful walks in the world.

Next off to Palm Beach for my first splash in the Pacific swimming east from the beach. We then headed over to Scotland Island on Pittwater to our host's cool cabin and a beer and wine lubricated supper. Great day!

Next day we spent at the Art Gallery off NSW where we saw a performance of contemporary aboriginal dance and enjoyed the collection of Australian works. After a good lunch in the cafe overlooking the converted wharf that houses the "W" Hotel we took a nice walk through the Botanical Gardens.

We then experienced one of our very few disappointments. Being fans of "Are You Being Served" we headed off to Grace Brothers only to discover it was missing! (yes just like the PM. governor general, the tallest mountain and Margo Oz's aunt).

Back to Circular Quay and dinner w/ Margo. Before we even , she identified us sprawled out on benches soaking up the view. I imagine she thought we were old soaks.

We a lovely conversation over dinner (only marred by the temporary loss of Margo's aunt). We had dinner at the reasonable cafe, next to the souvenir store adjacent to the Opera House.We sat up on the Esplanade and soaked up another grand view of the bridge. Meeting Margo was a treat, but we had to abandon her as we had tickets for the ballet. I highly recommend seeing a performance as it brings the place alive in a way the tour can't. We were treated to an excellent performance including two of my favorite Balanchine works: Serenade and Symphony in C.

Back here Sydney is often compared to San Francisco. Aside from the fact that they both have famous bridges (although one rarely sees the Golden Gate unless you live in Berkeley as we once did) and are both set on harbors, they couldn't be less alike. We even thought Sydney had a 'mediterranean' climate like San Francisco. (Remember Mark Twain said, " The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco!"
Sydney is much bigger; the setting and the Bridge and Harbour are more dramatic and the vegetation is completely different. Granted it was the end of school hols, but the old saw that "The Americans live to work and the Australians work to live" was evident everywhere we went.

The best part of our visit was certainly meeting our aforementioned anoymous host. He generously carted us about and punctuated our days w/ wry commentary and insightful conversation. Thank you , thank you, thank you.

Part Two:Coming Attractions: Breakfast w/ the kangeroos, weird and wacky Mt. Wilson,Chasing Alan and wife through the Blue Mountains and the wonders of the Jenolan Caves!

Cheers,
AndrewDavid

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May 19th, 2004, 04:38 PM
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So far, no slander! (or is that libel?!)
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May 19th, 2004, 04:41 PM
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More More!!!
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May 19th, 2004, 04:43 PM
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Dear Ms. M: Don't look so shocked, you've met us! The only thing disappointing about our trip is its over. I'm wearing black.
A/D
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May 19th, 2004, 05:11 PM
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I think AndrewDavid is doing just fine, given that an earlier intrepid explorer (William Dampier, in 1688) observed that "The Inhabitants of this Country are the miserablest People in the world". (His mood didn't seem to improve, either.)

He was less certain than AndrewDavid about how to categorise the place. He noted that New Holland was part of Terra Australis Incognita (the Unknown South Land) and called it "...a very large Tract of Land. It is not yet determined whether it is an Island or a main Continent; but I am certain that it joyns neither to Asia, Africa, nor America."

Dampier's well-written journal makes interesting reading and can be found at
www.bendigolive.com/links/dampier.htm
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May 19th, 2004, 05:23 PM
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Neil,
We found the people consistently sunnyand entertaining and the continent vast. The drive from Alice to Kings Canyon lasted about a week, but we did stop to see Dinky the world famous piano playing singing dingo of Central Australia at Stuart's Well, a treat that Dampier obviously missed. His saviour, Dinky's that is, Jim Cotterill, is a real gentleman.

A/D
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May 20th, 2004, 11:57 AM
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C'mon.....
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May 20th, 2004, 06:24 PM
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Margo, This is absolutely true. Dinky even appeared on ABC. You can call them to verify. Its definetly worth your while to stop at Stuart's Well when you drive out to pick your aunt up from her hike about Uluru.

xox Andrew David
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May 20th, 2004, 07:53 PM
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Brilliant report! I had no idea such writing talent was to be found here. I'm breathlessly awaiting the next installment and more confusing banter.
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May 20th, 2004, 08:44 PM
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Good to see you gave a proper priority to the north shore of sydney...sydney's premier area.

Always pays to be a little suspicious of those from "the other side"...
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May 21st, 2004, 11:44 AM
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Johnj

ppbbbbttttffffttthhhhh!!!!!!!!

from the Westie!
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May 21st, 2004, 04:10 PM
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Now John,

there's no point in being nasty to a great lady like Margo. After all she did get a parking ticket due to our dinner date and hasn't asked us to pay it.

Someone I personally know has made pretty disparaging remarks about the Woolie's at Crowsnest. Let's hear about Margo's neighborhood Woolie before we judge her too harshly.

A/D
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May 22nd, 2004, 05:58 AM
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I can't wait to hear about Mt. Wilson because I'm just writing about it for the last of our trip account on "Suggestions..." thread.

I also did the climb at dusk and loved it.

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May 22nd, 2004, 05:59 AM
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I'm just loving this thread and looking forward to reading more about your trip AD.
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May 24th, 2004, 12:54 PM
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waiting....

<taps foot impatiently....>
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May 24th, 2004, 02:36 PM
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Yes, we are all waiting.... waiting... waiting...
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May 24th, 2004, 02:52 PM
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Dear Michi, Margo, Pauline and Thyra,

Please give this boy a break as I am snowed under ( as opposed to lolling in the land down under) finishing the drawings for the first public hearing on our new house.

I will report ,including Mt. Wilson, Mt Victoria and how Alan got me out of the largest bath in Oz, asap.

In the meanwhile Margo, you really should sing the virtues of your local Wollie's to torment poor johnj who embarassing ( for a northerner) laments his at Crow's Nest.

AndrewDavid
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May 24th, 2004, 04:38 PM
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snowed, schmowed! WE have wants and needs and trips to plan .. It's your own fault you know.. try to make it a little more boring and a lot more poorly written and you can have until 2010...
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May 25th, 2004, 01:56 PM
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"....and our own Woolie's"

AD, the Australian Woolworths supermarket empire actually doesn't have any connection with the US chain (if that's what you meant). Maybe they paid for the name at some stage, but it's been Australian-owned for a long time. I should know - my first school holiday job was in the local Woolworths, in the days when it was more like what Americans would call a five-and-dime operation.

Likewise, K-Mart in Australia is part of the rival Coles-Myer empire.

I'm sorry that the same Coles-Myer corporate octopus had the bad grace to change their Grace Brothers stores to Myers - this must have happened just before you arrived. At least it saved you the trouble of trying to locate Captain Peacock, Young Mr Grace, Mr Humphries and Mrs Slocum's pussy. (Whoever accused British comedies of subtlety?)

By the way, do you still have that round-the-clock cable network showing nothing but British TV comedies?
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May 25th, 2004, 08:20 PM
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Neil,

As the french would say, Woolworth's n'exist pas ici.
Our beloved Woolworth variety stores (not food markets) vanished from Main Street America over a decade ago.

No, I was hoping that Margo 's neighborhood might have a more swish Woolies than that at Crow'sNest. That might raise Margo's stock in johnj's eyes.

"Are You Being Served " and other Britcoms are viewable Sat. PM in Santa Fe on PBS ( approx equiv your ABC). Lucky for you, our TV is in our guest room.

AndrewDavid
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