Australia: Day One

Posted by Arlo on Nov 12, 2007 under Postcard Valet, Travel

Darling Harbour Panorama

Well, we made it to Sydney.

The 14-hour flight from San Francisco wasn’t so bad. While the Qantas jet didn’t have any more legroom than the Alaska Airlines flights before it, they made up for it with many small amenities. We each had LCD monitors with movies, TV shows, and video games available. Thicker pillows and larger blankets were distributed alongside little pouches with a toothbrush, socks, and a card outlining our meal options.

Oksana struck up a conversation with the passenger next to her, Mary Lou, an Australian working in the travel industry. She gave us all sorts of tips on where to go, what to see, and how to get around. Very helpful.

Just before dinner, I took two Advil PM and then fought off sleep as long as I could. At around 12:30am, I flipped out the head rest’s “wings” and closed my eyes. Sleep with fitful, what with the occasional crying baby or bumped chair, but I essentially slept for the next 9.5 hours. A new Arlo record for in-flight rest!

We arrived at the airport on Sunday morning. Traveling overnight and crossing the International Date Line screwed me up so bad I had no idea what time it was back home.

We figured out the metro/train system, paid our $14 each, and caught the next ride into Sydney. Our stop was only two blocks away from the hotel.

Unfortunately, we were about five hours early for check-in. They offered to hold our bags for us, though, so after Oksana freshened up a bit, we hit the pavement.

Sydney is empty on Sundays – there’s hardly more people and cars than in Juneau, Alaska. It was a pleasant introduction to a big city. Our first stop was near our hotel, Hyde Park. The biggest structure there was a war memorial; we decided to walk through it. It was November 11th, Australia’s Veterans day, and “on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month” they have a nationwide moment of silence. It was a little after 10am.

From the park, we headed west, to Darling Harbour. Darling Harbour is tourist central with its Imax theater, aquarium, naval museum, boat rides, art exhibitions, and parks. Everything was outrageously expensive, but the walk along the docks was quite pleasant. Oksana and I took a bunch of pictures, sat in the sun and the shade, and let the time pass us by. More than anything, we wanted to get back to our hotel at take a shower.

At around 2pm, we finally made it back. Our room turned out to be small, but full of niceties. A microwave and mini-fridge helped make up for the lack of internet access.

It was 3:30pm by the time we were done with our showers; we decided to take a nap. Oksana asked, “Should we set an alarm?” Nah. We’re on vacation!

Well… The first time I woke up was at 11:30pm. So much for dinner! We slept on, though by 3:30am, I was more than rested. We finally got up at 6:30am the next day – 15 hours later!

While flipping through a newspaper, I noticed the 5-day weather forecast. Two days of “Sunny” followed by three more days of “Mostly Fine.” That sums up our first day in Sydney quite well: Mostly fine.