Just arrived in SYD from ORD

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Mar 9th, 2010, 03:40 PM
  #1
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Just arrived in SYD from ORD

I made it to SYD. Those of you who were crossing your fingers for my upgrades... thank you. I was upgraded to biz class all the way from Chicago. I managed to get quite a bit of sleep, which is good, as it is 10am here and my hotel room will not be ready until 2pm. I have to stay awake!!! And the rain will probably keep me from heading to Manly by ferry. The monorail will perhaps win out today... to the QVB, perhaps.

SFO was a bit of a disappointment, shopping-wise, as the wine shop was not open. There was a sign on the door directing me to the DFS Galeria for duty free wine purchases. I had hoped to have a good look at the much larger selection of wines in the wine shop... but not a chance. But the good news is I did manage to purchase a really lovely red Napa wine (Dominus) for the special occasion that brings me to Sydney. Those of you who like SFO over LAX are right, as far as shopping options. The Red Carpet Club was so-so. I have not been to LAX Red Carpet so cannot do a comparison. SFO is very well lit and looks much more inviting than LAX. It's just too bad that my previous experiences with SFO we not so pleasant! I'll be giving it yet another chance when I return from BKK in May, by way of SFO international terminal.

There are a few showers today in Sydney, but fear not... I will not be kept from getting out there to explore! At home we were expecting it to maybe snow again today! No chance of snow here in OZ... Harbourside shops are fairly quiet right now, but it's early. Internet is fairly cheap... 3 A$ for one hour.

My trip report, if you want to go so far as to call it that, will not be very exciting, I'm afraid. I've been to Australia 6 other times, so I've done the sights, and I've been to all of the capital cities, some more than once. There will be no reports on climbing the harbor bridge or going to the top of the Centerpoint Tower, or snorkling on the Barrier Reef. I'm also not a big foodie, but a good bowl of pumpkin soup and chunk of bread makes me smile! I hope to find that for my lunch today.

I'm only here for one week, and a good portion of the time will be spent with my dear friends from the western suburbs of Sydney. But there will be an overnight trip to Jenolan Caves that will deserve some reporting on... and there may be a bit of a report on a "bling" wedding out in Parramatta...

In any case, join me if you'd like.

G'day!

Carol
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Mar 9th, 2010, 04:24 PM
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Hi Carol
Welcome back to Australia. If we were in Ireland, it'd be a "soft day". It's barely misting up here on the northern beaches, so you might be able to do some walking in town later on.

Can't remember where you're staying, but if you're down towards the Quay, Ash Street Cellar is a good option for lunch on a wet Wednesday
http://www.merivale.com/#/ivy/ashstreetcellar
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Mar 9th, 2010, 06:35 PM
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Welcome back to OZ Caro1. A big WOO HOO on the upgrade!

The last time I was in the LAX Red Carpet Club they were undergoing renovations and bussed us out to the sticks to a temporary building where I spent some eight odd hours. I'd think the new club would be nicer than SFO's, but that's purely speculation. It's still LAX afterall...

Weather-wise it's pretty nice here in Perth with a high of 32 expected, but the dog days of summer aren't over yet (unfortunately).

No pumpkin soup in these parts - too hot.
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Mar 9th, 2010, 07:33 PM
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I guess I'm going out for a burger instead. My tummy is growling at me. So, pumpkin soup must be a "winter time" meal, eh? (You folks don't REALLY know what winter is all about... heh, heh... try ILLINOIS sometime!)

That said, I'm at Novotel Darling Harbor. Lovely view. Plenty of food choices at Harbourside. I don't think I'll venture too much further out than that right now. Too tired; but desparately trying to stay awake until at least 7 or 8pm. I've gotta' be sharp by Friday!

This hotel has been my hotel of choice for three other trips to OZ. It's familiar, it's comfortable, and I "know" my way around here, more or less.

Two friends from home (fodorites) have asked me about flooding here. The news back home is reporting on it. Where is the flooding??? I told them I was just fine here in SYD.

Thanks for the warm welcome back! Really happy to be here once again. Other trips were 1988, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1999, and 2004. (I came for the Australian Literacy Educators Assn conventions in 95, 96, and 99, btw)

Carol
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Mar 9th, 2010, 08:37 PM
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Floods are around South Eastern Queensland, mainly. St. George, Charleville,

And there was a huge hailstorm & flash flooding in Melbourne on Monday. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gO8sQcvd9Y

I'm sure you'd find pumpkin soup at a few of the places around Darling Harbour/Cockle Bay. You might even find it on the room service menu at the Novotel.
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Mar 9th, 2010, 09:48 PM
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Bokhara... so far I've not seen pumpkin soup on a menu. I've read all the available menus posted outside the door of the restaurants at Darling Harbourside complex. Novotel offers soup of the day, but no indication of what it is. Anyway, I ended up with a glass of chianti and a pizza... (not quite the same as the ones I get in Switzerland and Italy...) I brought back left-overs, so lucky me, if I wake up starving at 2am, I'll have food! haha

I did see that report on the hailstorm before I left the States. Strange... very strange. We get hailstorms at home, but I certainly was surprised to see the one that hit Mel'bn.

I think I'll be asleep by about 6:30... My eyes want so badly to close right now!!!
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Mar 10th, 2010, 10:42 PM
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Still no pumpkin soup! I keep reading menus... I'm not giving up.

Today was the perfect day for walking around Sydney and enjoying some retail therapy. The temp must be in the low 70s, with lots of sunshine.

I walked from Darling Harbour to Circular Quay (how far is that...??) stopping along the way at various shops. I love the QVB and the Myer and David Jones department stores. Pitt Street is always fun as well. I did end up with a couple of small packages to tote around with me today.

Then off to Manly on the stately old ferry. It was a pleasant ride outside, back end of the boat. Not too crowded today. Then, a stroll down to Manly Beach for a cup of coffee and snack. I stayed for about an hour and a half, and then walked back to Manly Wharf and took the stately ferry back to Circular Quay. A perfect day for this trip.

From Circular Quay, I walked back to Novotel, stopping at Harbourside to grab a (delicious) Greek salad for my dinner. If I'm still hungry later, I think I'll grab a McD burger! No pizza this time!

Tomorrow, the parents of the groom (I am here for a wedding after all) and I will be getting together. I'm going to relocate to a hotel in Parramatta. No more Harbourside... no more QVB; but lots of fun with my dear friends.

I may or may not jump in here again, once the wedding festivities begin. But afterwards, there is a trip to the Blue Mts and Jenolan Caves. I will probably come back here to give a few details of that excursion.

Some Sydneysiders were complaining about the "cool" weather here. You won't hear anything of that sort from me! I made sure I pointed out that there is no snow on the ground, and the temp is just fine by me!

Hoping to stay awake later this evening. Gotta be ready to party tomorrow night!

Carol
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Mar 11th, 2010, 04:03 AM
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Have fun Carol. We may have been in Manly at the same time today- I had lunch at Hugo's . You're right - there's something special about the Manly Ferry ... especially coming back to the Quay in the afternoon, with the Opera House & Harbour Bridge as backdrops to the sunset.

I'd be interested in what Jenolan Caves & particularly Jenolan Caves House is like now, if you feel like making some notes.

Cheers
Bokhara
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Mar 11th, 2010, 06:48 PM
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Carol,
Glad to hear about your upgrades. We are out of pumpkin soup but have lots of pumpkin if you want to come get some ;-) Only four day's drive!
Hope all goes well for wedding and afterwards.
Alan
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Mar 11th, 2010, 08:39 PM
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I'm now checked into my hotel for the next 3 nts in Parramatta. I can see the Sydney Harbor bridge from my window!!! Who would've thought..... I'm pretty far west from the bridge.

My dear friend, whose son is getting married tomorrow, tells me that pumpkin soup will be on the menu tomorrow!!! The bride wanted to keep it simple. I'm soooo happy! Now I can stop reading menus at every restaurant I pass... haha

Bokhara, I saw your posting about the food fair in Sydney. Sounds nice, but I won't be back in the city until I fly back home. I would have enjoyed it..... oh well...... I'm going to have a great time with the wedding festivities and then the trip to Jenolan Caves.

G'day...

Carol
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Mar 11th, 2010, 09:07 PM
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Carol, would you post about Jenolan Caves when you get back, please?

I believe Caves House has had some (sorely needed) renovations and would be interested to know what you think.
I have some friends coming in from the UK and they'd like to have a weekend up there. If Caves House is still sitting in the 40's, we'll stay elsewhere and just make a day trip to see the caves.

Hope the weather holds for the wedding tomorrow. Is it at Lachlan's by any chance? I was at a very nice party there last year. http://www.lachlans.com.au/index.htm
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Mar 11th, 2010, 09:53 PM
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Glad to hear you're likely to solve the pumpkin soup deficit.

I was just about to offer to make some - I have pumpkin! If you're desperate:margo33au at yahoodotcomdotau
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Mar 11th, 2010, 10:35 PM
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Be thankful you're not in Perth Carol - it's 40c - GAG ME.
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Mar 12th, 2010, 12:08 AM
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Oh poor Melnq8, 40 C that's cruel! It's cooling down a little in Sydney, just 20 C today.
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Mar 12th, 2010, 12:43 AM
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Hi Margo, are you coming to the Melbourne knees-up in May?
Cheers
Bokhara
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Mar 12th, 2010, 02:33 AM
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Bokhara

I have it in mind, but there is some talk of going to Tassie in May. Waiting on a medical review next week. (not mine!)

If we don't go to Tassie I may well do the Melbourne thing.
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Mar 13th, 2010, 04:30 PM
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I had a fabulous bowl of pumpkin soup yesterday at the wedding reception!!! Craving has been sated!

The wedding was lovely... a light sprinkle did not cause the ceremony to have to be moved inside, thank goodness. The garden and gazebo were really the perfect setting. The bride and groom both said "I do" so it's a done deal now!! It was a lovely day.

Today, a short walking tour of Parramatta with groom's dad. Dinner at a local pub tonight, and then Jenolan Caves in the morning!

Really enjoying this quickie trip to OZ.

Carol
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Mar 16th, 2010, 01:19 PM
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Breakfast is waiting for me, so I'll just post a quick note to say that the Jenolan Caves were fantastic!!!! The Caves House hotel has not been renovated, other than some paint. But it was still a nice experience staying there and eating in the big dining room.

More later... Will try to post from either SYD or LAX as I'm on my way home today.

Carol
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Mar 16th, 2010, 04:10 PM
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Bon Voyage, Carol & enjoy this gorgeous day. Nice memory to take home with you
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Mar 16th, 2010, 07:06 PM
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I'm sitting in the Air New Zealand Lounge. It's really a nice lounge! Plenty of food/drink and free wireless. Glad I'm a "Gold" Star Alliance member.

Back to the Jenolan experience. The hotel has had a coat of paint, but the floors still squeak, the furnishings are dated (antique?), and there is no telly or phone or wifi. I didn't miss them though. I had too much fun, conversation, wine, food, wine, more wine... you get the idea... the really be able to concentrate on email/fodors anyway!!! We had a great time!

The River Cave is very interesting. It is a strenuous 2 hr hike, lots of steps up and then back down, up and back down; but I enjoyed it. The guide did not move along too quickly, so we could (all) stop and take a breath as needed. The river at the bottom is awesome! The minaret formation is really beautiful! I don't know that I would repeat this tour, now that I've done it. A bit too much work for me...haha.

The Oriental Cave was really much more elaborate, with more stalactites/stalagmites and the "curly"-tites, what ever they were called. I can't recall. The wal was up not-so-many steps, and took 1 1/2 hours to complete. The distance we hiked was considerably less than on the River Cave. This one is rated "average" fitness.

Still waiting (hoping) for my upgrade. I saw 3 seats in biz class last night. I hope I'm #1 or #2 on the waitlist. Last time I was #3, and then someone moved and I was #2, so I managed a biz seat all the way from ORD to SYD.

This was just a really lovely week in Sydney and surrounds. It was a true Aussie sort of week, having spent it doing normal life things, like shopping, attending a wedding... no touristy things except for the ferry to Manly.

Gotta run. Battery running low! Can't wait to return to OZ again in the next few years.

Carol
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