So... how do you prepare for Sydney in winter.... A bunch of assumptioners did go down there for world youth day to hangout with Pope Benedict... so i asked around.... and all they cld say was awesome and it was cold but bearable.... Well they were right about the awesome part and the freezing part but the bearable part i dont know lah..... ...
It was quite a rush after work last Friday (obviously not last friday) to collect a few things before going to the airport......by the time i got home i only had 25mins to get ready and do some last minute packing.... the cabby had to wait 10min .... The drive to the airport was filled with thoughts of whether i had taken everything or not....
Checked my bag in and then headed to my standard makan place (food place) in the airport, Burger King..... Sitting there eating my fries...it felt strange... This is the first time im traveling alone… so it was a bit strange for me… Actually another colleague of mine was supposed to join me on this trip but she had some issues with her visa.
Hmmm anyway I went around the satellite city a little bit before getting on board the 747-400... got a window seat next to the wings…yeah!!...hmmm.. Got some interesting pics but at the cost of not being able to go to the loo... The ‘uncle’ next to me drank whisky like there was no tomorrow. I stop counting after 5 cups. I tried waking him up during flight but he was out like a light bulb and only woke up during landing in Sydney.
The flight we had a lot of turbulence so it was bumpy...I had difficulty sleeping... I think I had about 3 hours sleep out of the 8.5 hour flight.... But I had the moon as company (seen in pic on the left) ... Watched a few episodes of Smallville but I got bored so I just selected a few songs and just kept playing them over and over,…. Had the song ‘Chasing Cars’ stuck in my head for the rest of the week…… Landed at Sydney airport at about 8am and got out into 13 degrees Celsius without my jacket… like hero like that… interestingly I was ok… but while i was getting my jacket out of the bag… wind started blowing and I could have sworn that it went right through my bones…and out the otherside... The thick shirt I was wearing on top of my t-shirt obviously wasn’t enough…. On went the jacket and a hippidy hop into the taxi and I was off to my hotel, Travelodge Sydney.
(the view of Sydney City from the plane as it was taxing)
The taxi driver started chatting with me asking a lot of Qs… When he found out I was Catholic he asked if I knew about the World Youth Day in Sydney a few weeks ago… blah blah blah blah… I was like woah this cabby is chatty… He also explained that he was a Falun Gong practitioner and how it has improved his life…. Then he went on about how in China his fellow Falun Gong followers are persecuted and even killed. Well im sure we all have heard how people in china are forced to follow everything the communist government forces on to them…. They are not free to practice their fate and beliefs freely and are treated inhumanly. Anyway you can google about it or go HERE for more details.
Well anyway I was really really tired and zombified and it didnt help that when I reached the hotel to check-in I was informed that the room will only be ready at 2pm … it was 9.30am and my pick up to the office was at 10am... sigh,... i cldnt even freshen up properly...... So I put my luggage in storage and just lightly freshened up (yes I brushed my teeth too)… … and then waited in the lobby…… for almost two hours…!!!
(The AMP tower and St Mary's Church)
I only met Fabrice at about noon after some problems with the receptionist who didn’t pass me my messages from him …The worst part was the receptionist kept telling him I hadn’t checked-in yet … OFCOS lah I didn’t check-in yet when they themselves know nobody can check-in before 2pm!!! What was the point of me signing the receipts and giving security deposit and my handphone number for then….Bodoh betul lah!! And I was there all the while just across from them… Stupid fools!!... they don’t allow me to check in then say I haven’t checked in AARRRggggHH!!!... anyway Fabrice called the Malaysian office and got my number… then got a hold of me and was confused with the whole receptionist thing and not to mention pissed…. Anyway he informed me that he will take about 40minutes to reach the hotel…since i was fed up of waithing in the lobby and bored to hell ..i took my tiny map booklet thingy andwent out to explore explore a little bit lah… then when I was headed back to the hotel, I took a wrong turn and got lost …… then it was Fabrice’s turn to wait in the lobby :P
… Anyway… Fabrice supervised my training in Sydney. So after he picked me up I was pretty much in the office for the rest of the day.
You know, for some reason…. I was really hyper… must have been because of lack of sleep or something… I was just not myself… I shld have know I wasn’t myself when I got lost in the city even with a map..(even if it was tiny)… and while in Fabrice’s office… I walked right into his glass wall…. Not only was it embarrassing… with everyone including the GM coming out of his office to investigate the loud BANG!…. it hurt like hell…. My forehead and left cheek was inflamed… my glasses got bent and a little scratched….. There was a nice round smear on the glass wall… What a way to leave an impression …sigh!! Everyone was shocked and worried if I was ok or not…. I just kept saying im ok!! im ok!!… while trying to bend my glasses back into shape… Actually … I wasn’t too sure if I was ok… my head was spinning but after awhile the room stopped moving and I stopped holding the table for balance……I was embarrassed and bruised but I was ok. Felt even better after a late lunch with Fabrice… then continued with the rest of the training.. I did get some good news during lunch. My colleague Fiona got her visa sorted and was booked on the flight to Sydney that night and will arrive in the morning the next day…
Finished around 5pm and took a taxi ride back to the hotel. This time I got a Lebanese taxi driver who was very inquisitive about where I was from… and wondered if I was born in India or Malaysia… He seemed more interested in India then Malaysia… . As we chatted away…the sun went down really fast. The journey from the office is about 40 minutes to the city, so by the time I got back to the hotel it was about 6pm. … everything was closed or closing… and it was dark…
First think I did when I checked-in was to take a nice long hot shower…. Oh I did ask the reception if I had any messages just to spite them….pandis!! The room was pretty decent and clean and according to the map I had, the location was not too bad. After sorting my things I decided to take a walk and find something to eat….. but after looking at the map… I sort of thought… hmmm Sydney harbour seemed near… maybe I will walk over there and take in the scenery. I walked passed a 24hrs pizzeria along Liverpool street and decided since I wasn’t really hungry I would eat on the way back from the harbour.
First thing I noticed is that Sydney was quite hilly… and I was doing more downhills then I was doing uphills. That wasn’t good because that meant I will be doing more uphills when I walk back…… everytime I reached a landmark I would think hmmm shld I just head back to the hotel… but no… I went on… determined to reach the harbour. I cld have taken a taxi… but im cheap that way… besides its very expensive ok….. Town Hall looked nice… and The Queen Victoria Mall was like wow… Too bad I didn’t have my tripod lah…especially when I reached the iMac shop which was really nice… It was like a glass box filled with iMac products which you can touch and feel and even use…. Too bad the photos I took of it didn’t come out well.
(The interior of Queen Mary's Mall)
I can’t remember how long I walked, all I remember is that it was freezing….. I reached an area called The Rocks. I had read that it was the oldest part of Sydney… that’s where I caught a glimpse of the Harbour Bridge……. checking with the map I decided to walk down to the pier and there she was….. The Sydney Opera House… a white marble ship floating on the water across the harbour…. (if only I had my tripod…sigh!!... I managed to brace myself on the lamp post and railing to get a few shots…)
(a tall boat docked at the restaurant after a day of sailing)
(The Harbour Bridge from across the Circular Quay)
I then decided to walk around the Circular Quay to get to the foot of the Opera House. It was quite a walk but when I got to the steps of the Opera House… a silence fell over me… it actually felt so peaceful being there…I just sat there looking up at her… wow!!... maybe because there wasn’t anyone around except maybe one or two people around braving the winter wind like me…. The wind was really getting to me…. The camera felt cold against my palm as I took a few shots…. Hmmm I should have brought gloves… I then went up close to the arch and touched the marble tiles that covered the famous structure …. Her construction looked so simple yet it was so amazing…... just amazing….
Well it was getting late… actually it was only 9.30pm but it felt like midnight... I was really cold and hungry so I took the long walk back to the pizza parlour and got two huge slices of pepperoni and a nice cup of hot chocolate and headed back to the hotel… snuggled into bed after a nice hot shower ................what a day.... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
TO BE CONTINUED…
Go HERE or view the slide show below for pictures from my first day in Sydney.