Well, have just spent the last 2 days with my 83 year old grand-aunt in Sydney and managed to have the scariest experience of the trip so far... Elizabeth, my grand-aunt, doesn't like to drive in the dark, so she asked one of her friends to take her to the airport to collect me...her friend, at 76, is no spring chicken either..and they picked me up 1.5 hrs after I landed - I was almost the last person here and they were closing up..the ladies had gotten lost en route. Anyways, sitting into the car with Sr. Dorothy was about the most dangerous thing I've done. She's a speed demon but doesn't seem to realise it, criss-crosses lanes like it's going out of fashion and, having realised we were heading in the wrong direction AGAIN (!?), stopped quite suddenly to pull a U-ee (or however you're suppsed to spell such words..) in the inside lane of a 3-lane highway Needless to say there was plenty of beeping from behind, but fortunately the roads weren't too busy as it was late enough in the night...I was never so happy to be alive as when we finally arrived at our destination.
After that experience, the rest of my stay here has been stress-free.. On Monday we spent the day (using public transport - phew!) visiting parts of the city and south of the city. We started at Watson's Point at the southern head of the harbour, then went south to Bondi - not as impressive as I had imagined...much smaller than it looks in photos. It was windy enough to put us both off swimming. From there we headed into the city centre where we visited Hyde Park, the Anglican cathedral, the outside of town hall (they wouldn't let us in cos there was some concert on), the Victoria something building and finally Darling Harbour. From there, as night was falling and the city lights were coming on, we took a ferry under the bridge to Circular Quay - it was lovely.
The following day we were exploring the northern beaches (by car - but fortunately Elizabeth is a far better driver than her friend and I was able to do some of it too) beginning with Balmoral, then onto Manly and finally up the coast to Palm Beach. There Elizabeth took out her picnic basket, filled with everything you could possibly need - cutlery, delf, napkins and even a table cloth!!! How cute!! Anyways, there seemed to be alot of activity at the far end of the beach and, as Palm Beach is the location of the beach and surf club in 'Home and Away', I went to investigate.. I'd heard that they only film there once a week and luckily for me that was Tuesday!!! So I took a wander up the beach to see what was going on. At first I was trying to skirt around it all (they were at the surf club by this stage, not the beach), feeling a bit intrusive and foolish armed with my camera, but I quickly realised that the big group congregated in the area were not in fact cast and crew as I had imagined, but lots of other tourists armed with cameras. I joined them (50% at least of whom were Irish - the GAA jerseys and pale skin a dead giveaway). Anyways, to cut a long story short, I got to see 3 scenes being filmed, mostly with newer actors whose names I don't know...but Alf Stewart was in one scene and he was really nice - he offered to have his photo taken with everyone!!! So now, the hightlight of my Sydney visit (and maybe even the whole trip - how sad is that?!) was meeting him and getting my photo taken with him
Anyways, we also did manage a swim - or rather, a roll about in the waves cos swimming is impossible there unless you go beyond the waves to the potentially shark-infested waters... Not surprisinly, Elizabeth was in swimming too..all 4 ft of her..even tho' I found it difficult to avoid the washing-machine sensation there..Oh yeah, and I nearly forgot, while I was checking out the filming, I bumped into Ciara Hayden, a girl from secondary school whom I hadn't seen since we left school 10 years ago!! How small a world is that?!
Sydney is a great city - I can really see the appeal for living here...next time I'll have to stay a little longer. Again, hope all is well with all of ye..
Some pics from Sydney: http://www.flickr.com/photos/niscratz/sets/72157626295004746/