After another fab night spent at the aptly names Tahiti Airport Motel, we were cautiously optimistic about our chances of getting to Sydney as scheduled. Air Tahiti Nui, our airline company from Papeete Tahiti to Auckland had been having labor issues for the last past week. Some days it was the pilots striking, other days the ground crew. The desk employees on the ground were the unhappy campers on our departure day. If they didn’t fly we were screwed. There wasn’t another flight going to Auckland out of Tahiti until Friday morning (this was a Monday morning). If they were delayed, we were likely to miss our connection to Sydney, which was going to be tight even with everything working well. It was a small miracle: no strike and even though we were delayed, the tail wind Gods were with us. With little time to spare we made our way through the very lovely Auckland Airport (no sarcasm there, really slick spot), only to find out we needed visas to get into Australia. I researched almost all of our destination countries as to our document needs, living in Argentina does that to you. Never even thought I would need to consider Australia. If you are Australian you are one of the few countries that don’t need a visa for the States. Even GM wasnt annoyed by my administrative error, he couldn’t believe it. Fortunately for us, we were tended to by a very nice Quantas employee that was able to apply for us via phone. After playing a fee we allowed on board were some phone calls were made to Canberra, and after a considerable ground delay we took off. Wasn’t sure if we were suppose to get to Sydney after all those obstacles, be we did arrive safely.
We got in late to our apartment, it was cold and we were all tired and a bit confused about the time and date…we had crossed the very arbitrary international date line. We went to bed. The kids woke up at the crack of dawn. We had a few hours to kill before anything would be for open breakfast. The kids happily immersed themselves in some English speaking TV and GM and I caught up on the internet.
I loved Sydney. I loved the physical beauty of it, its a bit like San Francisco. I loved that it was a city after being on remote islands for the last two weeks. It was nice to be understood and it was nice to eat a piece of meat. Our apartment was right on Circular Quay so we could ferry around to the zoo, aquarium and the beach, and we did. We had views of the Opera House and the Botanical Gardens from our apartment. The locals all apologized for the cool and sometimes cloudy weather, but it was great for walking around and welcome change from the tropics.
I found the Australian people a lot like Canadians, really friendly and helpful, just louder and more fun loving. From what I could tell from TV they have a naughty sense of humor.
What I also noticed is that Sydney is home to a ton of restaurants, a lot of ethnic ones as well as an inordinate number of stores selling everything. After living in Argentina and having relatively few shopping choices it was a bit overwhelming. For good or bad, we were not shopping this trip, but it was still fun to look.
For our last night in Sydney, GM and I left the kids for a nice dinner and then a night at the Symphony in the enigmatic Sydney Opera House. While from a far it really is quite beautiful, when you are close up, it becomes something quite different. Its elements are dated: creamy yellow tiles are what make up the exterior along with a lot of brown concrete. The considerable glass is smoked and the interior is pretty much concrete and there are mod (not necessary in hip retro way) light figures. So not that it was disappointing, because it was still quite cool, I was a bit surprise how timeless it wasn’t. They Symphony was great. We had good seats and there was a great violinist who played the Sibelius Concerto. It was a nice way to spend our last night in Sydney. I would like to come back, without kids.