Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Back to "normal"

Not to go on and on and on about it but going to Sydney and being spoiled by Liz really did have an effect on me.  I'm wearing jewelry as I lay in bed and type this out.  lol  Okay, what happened was we were at a mall in Bondi Junction and we were kind of wandering around.  Okay, I was wandering.  Liz is shark when it comes to shopping - swoop in to get what she needs and then out.  I think I drove her crazy but she kept it pretty well hidden. 

Anyway, I see this jewelry shop and it's called Pandora.  Also, I see a sale sign.  We go in and I see the design them yourself bracelets.  I keep on going because they aren't really me.  More of those put em together things.  I think, gee this place has a lot of Pandora and then it hits me.  It's a Pandora store.  *eyeroll*  Anyway, I'd never seen their rings before.  Liz and I went a little crazy as they had a massive sale.  She totally stole my ring but we both have the same style.  So it's like we're connect even though we're thousands of miles away... awwwww.  Shut up.  So I'm wearing those rings.  And they had perfume massively discounted at Myers. 

What happened was that Liz wasn't paying enough attention to me (snort) so instead of asking her if I could spray her arm with perfume, I just sprayed her back.  Well, she got a little cranky so I told her that I would just spray the perfume in front of our faces.  Well, once she got her vision back she complained about me macing her.  It has now been renamed "gagaded".  As in Lady Gaga perfume.  "don't Gaga me, dude"

If you will.

Apparently, you had to be there.

Anyway, I'm wearing Versace Yellow Diamonds.  Because I'm not pretentious.  While laying in bed, with my rings on, typing stuff up on a laptop.


I haven't even been eating much (you have to really know me to understand what that means).  Food has just lost its flavor.  Liz was a fantastic hostess but I think she ruined me.  On purpose.

I truly am good at blaming other people.  It might be a superpower.


A selfie on the way to Quay.
Great day, does this trip ever end?  hahahahaah 

That's my awake at 5:45am humor.  Thanks, Madi.  I am extremely glad that I went to bed early last night.

Anyhoo, onto the story...

Darling Harbour. Pretty no?  Where the aquarium is.
So I screwed up and put day 4 and 5 together. I've been travelling over 24 hours now and I'm a little off my game.

Yes, that is a platypus butt.
Friday we had a spa appointment so we just lounged around the house until it was time to go. I'm still sore from that massage but it's a good sore. It was a nice way to work out the kinks from so much traveling. Then Friday night we met up with Rob and Jose again at an Indian restaurant. It was good. I guess really good but I sort of missed the crappy Indian food that Liz and I used to get.

She seriously spoiled me. I chose pasta for dinner on the plane and I thought "could it be more overcooked?" The whole Quay thing just... If I wasn't a fussy pain in the ass before going to Australia....

The dugong did a roll in front of us.  Only four in captivity and two are at the Sydney aquarium. 
We did drink the bottle of red that I brought with me. It was a Barbera Reserve 2006 from Barboursville vineyards. I sat on it a few years (not literally) and it was just lovely.

How cute is that face?
Anyway, Saturday morning, Liz went out and got us some more bread (seriously, she spoiled me) and we had some Nutella and freshly baked spelt bread. It's almost like cake. Healthy, cake. We got to the airport and after waiting with me, we said our goodbyes. *sniffle* She told me to hang onto some AUD because of the shopping at Sydney and I thought, yeah yeah, it's an airport.

It was behind glass and I still almost messed my pants.
Holy shit. It's like a damn mall in the airport. It's phenomenal. I got more perfume and a sheepskin pillow. Totally unrelated purchases. They had sheepskin rugs for cheap but as much as I loved mine growing up, I know it won't survive the girls or Brewster so I erred on the side of caution and just got a pillow cover. It's lovely don't get me wrong.

My new bestie.
OMG Just the stores and wares available. Incredible.

On that note, the sun is going down and I have about an hour til I arrive in Richmond. Yay!

Day 4?

Well, sorry about that.  I was quite jetlagged.  I traveled close to 20,000 miles in a week and it caught up with me.  I've been up since 5:45am.  Anyhoo, onto the story...

View from zoo.
 Well, Wednesday we went to the aquarium. Not sure that I put up pics yet. I'm writing on notepad on my last flight home so that I can write about things before I forget them. And let's be honest, some thing are already lost to the ether.

Frickin' tiger would NOT stop moving.
Liz and I took a bus to downtown Sydney. What a stunning place that downtown Sydney. It's busy and crazy but there's still a sense of decorum. Anyway, we were hungry and hit a food court. I took the wrong escalator up (not hard to do) and we ended up in a department store. Now, Liz had told me that I was crazy for shopping in Sydney because it is freakishly expensive. Anyway, of course, I am there during a crazy two day, inventory sale. Cha-ching!

The giraffes were so cute.  I can't believe they can bend their necks like that without breaking them!
After doing some damage we head to the Sydney Aquarium. omg How much fun was that? Bear in mind that it's summer vacation in North America but it's winter break in Sydney so there were a lot of kids around. (fist shake) First up were the platypi. OMG Liz said she's never seen them so active. We watched one catch a prawn and eat it. Then I don't know, we wandered around. There's a thing called a dugong that's a lot like a manatee. Liz thought we wouldn't see it but of course, it came right up and did a little roll in front of us. Amazing. This is in one of the underwater tube/tank things.

Then we hit a small gift shop. The most stoned person in the world works at that gift shop and that's all I'll say. She was very sweet but her short term memory makes me look sharp. I found some great stuff and on we went.

The giraffe swooped down to get her carrot.  That's me laughing because she didn't kill me with a head butt.  The keeper is freaking out next to me.  Ninja.
Are you sensing a theme? So then it was the shark tank thing. I think my feet were hurting by then. So then I think we headed home to get ready for dinner with Jo and Lynn. I'd met Jo a few years ago when she was travelling with Liz down from NYC. She's good people. Lynn is my long lost sister from another mother. We had a lot in common. I knew I struck gold when she refused to eat anything with mushrooms in it. Anyway, we had a fabbie time at a Thai restaurant. If you ever have a chance to have banana blossom salad, have it. It's stunning.

The requisite koala pic.  They don't let you hold them in NSW.

So that was pretty much Wednesday. Let's see Thursday was more shopping, this time at Bondi Junction. Again, I manage to hit it lucky with stores that either have never had sales or haven't had one in years. That's just how I roll. After shopping, we needed to head back to get ready for Roar n Snore at the zoo. You camp in permanent safari tents inside the zoo. Hence roar and snore. Anyway, being winter break it was chock full of people. But I think everyone behaved themselves. Well, everyone but Liz and I. Now, we were supporting Australia's economy but drinking lots of yummy wine so I was concerned when the website stated that minimum drinks would be provided. I needn't have worried. It's not Liz's first time procuring drinks, slyly. I think I had 3 glasses of wine? Anymore and I would've broken my neck wandering around the zoo in the dark.

The highlight of the zoo trip for me:  petting a NZ fur seal.  He was a ham.  No pun intended.
I have to admit that the meet and greet with the snacks and bubbly was lovely. Extremely awesome view of Sydney, eating yummy brie, drinking champagne (sort of) and meeting some animals. It was probably sparkling wine not champagne but it was good. Anyhoo, so the animals were a tortoise, a snake, and two lizards. It was fun. I mean, I can't really convey what it's like to be surrounded by the things that make a nice night out and then have animals coming through that you can pet.

This was our view at breakfast.  Kind of surreal.  :)
Anyway, we walked around the zoo and it was kind of... meh. The animals were in their night dens and I was tired, etc. So we wrapped that up and I had hot cocoa and dessert, then to bed. Not I think it got down to 44F that night. I had an electric blanket and mattress pad. I felt like an egg frying a few times but I was warm. I did spare a thought for Liz sleeping on the floor. On a mattress, of course. Anyway, up for breakfast and then off for our behind the scenes tours.

The first one was giraffes. Which was fun, don't get me wrong. Especially when the huge one almost head butted me. Cat-like reflexes; that's me. We're taken up to the main entrance to meet some more animals. I did the requisite koala picture and met an echidna, whom I fell in love with, and a fruit bat. Who really liked his keeper and I'll leave it at that. Any port in a storm.

I thought that was our second behind the scene but it wasn't. Off we headed to the seal exhibit which is back at the bloody bottom of the hill. Anyway, so we sit every other row around the seal tank. I'm thinking, maybe they'll bring out a baby harbour seal or something. And we all get to say "awww". Instead a big fur seal is brought out. I forget his name but he was full of himself. And he was perfect. He walked (well, how would you describe how a seal moves?) up to everyone in the front row and waited for his scratches and his fish. So then he comes up a few steps to our row. I didn't think he was going to come right in front of us. I kind of freaked out and fell off my seat. What? Anyway, I LOVED that. I've never pet a seal before and he was a ham. Very well loved and taken care of.

So I managed not to be killed by a giraffe and made friends with a seal. Good day.

And then Liz and I had breakfast (and I found the place with my nose, I'm not sure if it's good or bad being a caffeine addict) and we're sitting there eating and talking and just relaxing while a family of elephants was about 60 feet away from us having their breakfast. I mean, it was lovely.

OH and when we woke up, we heard the lion roar. How awesome is that?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Day 3 something

Wow.  Quay.  Words may not even suffice.  It was amazing.  I've been to several fine restaurants in my life but that was like a whole nother level.  Is nother a word?  It looks weird.

They were having chardonnay but I am not a huge chardonnay fan so I asked if the sommelier could recommend wine to accompany each course.  Look lunch was hideously expensive adding another $100 on to get wine help was not exactly going to shift the cheque that much.  Anyway, he was amazing.  Amazing.  We were talking about the food a lot afterwards but honestly, for me, it was about the wine.  I was the only one to have 8 textured chocolate cake for dessert and he paired a red with it.  It was 17% alcohol, a red wine fortified with brandy.  It's called Claude Cortois.  It was extrodinary.  Paired with the cake it was like crossing dimensions. 

When you go for a culinary experience like that... it is about the sensations and not the quantity of food or how many condiments you get.  I can't describe what I mean, actually. But it was fun.

The sommelier ran away when I asked him if he was single. 

No really.

Alright, well let's get to the pictures, shall we? 

My room in chicago.

View from Liz's kitchen.  Note ocean between trees.

This one is for Stacy.  She wanted to see a hot Australian guy.  Cheers

 Picture of Harbour bridge from somewhere.  Some park on the way to Watson's Bay.
City of Sydney with harbour bridge.

Me and Margaret.  :)

Liz's sister, Anne and I.  :)

Day 2 and 5/8

This morning I was awoken by the sound of a monkey raping a parrot.  When I asked Liz what kind of bird it was she said "oh those were the bats."  Okay, then.

What day is it?  I kind of lost Sunday.  So....  I arrived in Sydney at 6am.  I had been awake on the plane for a while as they kept on playing movies all night.  Really??  Anyway, so after I make my way through the initial security screening, I just head straight to baggage services.  I had been told in LA that my luggage was already in Sydney.

Well, the nice chick in Sydney said my luggage was in LAX so I went to customs.  Bad move.  If you go through international customs and don't have check in luggage you will go through secondary.  Not a good thing.  Of course, it was going to happen to me.  After everything else.  And as I wait my turn, I think, "today is the day I'll be cavity searched".

I was interrogated.  Not badly but my bags were empty and searched.  Really.  They were too light because was bringing Liz smart food.  Cheese flavored popcorn.


So I make it through that without crying.  And Liz was there to greet me.  :)

We go shopping at kmart.  OMG Clothes were so cheap but tic tacs were $3.  WTH???  Anyway, so I get some basics at Liz's behest, in case I never see my luggage again.

At about 9:30, I get a little antsy and ask if I can have some wine.  Which led to us drinking three bottles of champagne.  What?  I had a hard time. We are happily drinking away when her cell rings.  She didn't want to answer it but I asked her to, in case it was the airlines.  Some sweet soul at the airport had PULLED MY BAG OFF OF THE BAGGAGE CAROUSEL.  It was on my flight the whole time.  I have no words.

So as we were drunk, her mom came over and drove us to the airport.  And by drunk, I mean tipsy and by tipsy, I probably mean drunk.  Anyway, I got my bag.  I. GOT. MY. BAG.  And then I got my period.

The End.

Day Two-ish

Day 2ish

So I finally made it to LAX. I guess I thought it would be snazzier. Granted this is just one terminal out of 7. I don't know what the other 6 look like.

This is kind of a side story, I guess. On the way to Richmond Airport there was a bird in the road. Alive, mind you. As I drove up to it, and it was in my lane, I thought, why isn't it flying??? So I hit the brakes but still went over it. Not with my tires but I stunned it. I thought, now there's a bad omen.

And let's face it, shit hit the fan, but hard.

So this morning in my lovely La Quinta room outside of Chicago, I found a coin. Now. The bed was made. I had two and only used one, obviously. So this was the untouched bed. And it looked perfect, like it had been made up by the maid. Etc. As I'm picking my bags up off of the bed for some very strange reason I look closer at the circular pattern. I may have thought something like wouldn't it be funny if there was something in the circle.

And there was. A worn coin with a peaceful crane or something on it. I looked it up and it's Hungarian. Well, I took it as a good omen. :) It's beautiful. I'm writing these in notepad to blog with later so I can't put in a picture right now. But I've texted it to some people. It's SO funny. Something like that should've been knocked off of the bed when the maid made it. Right? But it was perfectly in a circle.

Anyway, I'm glad to be on my last, if longest, leg of my journey. Since my friends were going to bed on the East Coast, I've started looking for celebrities. I haven't seen any that I recognize but holy plastic surgery batman. And I'll leave it at that! LOL

I still have 45 minutes before I board. It's been one hell of a trip. Now, don't get me wrong, I've seen plenty of families who had their vacation plans disrupted. I'm glad it's just me that was stuck on the tarmac for an hour. It was supposed to be for 2 hours so I'm glad it was just one!

Oh and in Chicago O'Hare a very tall and large man went through security with bright blue nail polish on his toes. Just gave me a giggle.

I do miss the girls and Pedro. Oh it was so funny when I was in line and called him to let him know what was going on with my flights. He said he would come and get me which I stupidly repeated and everyone around me yelled "can he take me too!" I stood in line with those people for almost four hours. Trust me, we were all a little crazy.

Anyway, I can't think of anymore anecdotes. I've tried to find the good amongst the bad. I have a rocking pair of Chicago socks now. I know Pedro will be smug when he finds out that I got blisters when he tells me to wear socks all the time.

Day 1 Travel

Day one.

And hmpf, I have no office programs on the laptop.

So what a disaster. Everything would've been fine if it wasn't for the storms around Richmond, Virginia. Missed my flight in Chicago and therefore missed my flight out of LA to Sydney. Okay, that sucked. But standing in line for four hours to speak to an agent as well as being on the phone for 80 minutes to get help, sucked worse. I finally made it to a hotel just after midnight. omg Did a clean bed ever look so inviting???

I'm jumping ahead. So on the phone, the lady said the flights were booked for today (Saturday) which means, she was telling me to go home and then fly out on Sunday. So I'd get to Sydney on Tuesday. Really??? With like no compensation or anything. Thankfully the guy from Boston behind me in line grabbed me a hotel coupon. It wasn't free but I paid $52 instead of $169. I'm glad for that. So, I had to make a decision and I decided to cancel my trip. WTF Only 3 real days in Sydney? Bearing in mind the first day, I'll be a wreck.

But I still needed to find out about my luggage. This agent seemed to be slightly more competent. Okay a lot more. He said he still had me in the system and that he could get me on a flight today and I'd arrive a day late. Sucky but still not too bad. I was like, but I told the chick to cancel it. So anyway, I got on those flights and found out that my luggage is in LA. wooo! (sarcasm)

Now, I also called Pedro during all of this. I'm trying to break it down so that it makes sense. UA would fly me back to Richmond for free, IF I took the flights on Sunday. Well, I didn't want the flights on Sunday so she said if I cancelled that I had to find my own way back home.


So I called Pedro and the one way flights are very expensive so he was going to drive to Chicago to get me. WITH THE GIRLS. Twelve hours or more to get here then 12 hours or more back. With two YOUNG KIDS IN THE CAR. That sounds like worse hell than sitting on the tarmac for an hour. Anyway, so keeping that in mind and the fact that my luggage is on the other side of the continent, I decided that pushing on was in my best interest.

A root canal would be in my best interest in that situation. Holy shit. Not to mention I'd have to find somewhere to hang out for 5 hours.

Anyhoo, so just to be on the safe side, I called UA again this morning. She confirmed that I'm on the two flights today. BUT I mentioned the cancellation thing. She saw the note and removed it. I was like, I don't need to get to Sydney and have no way of getting home.

Right? Shit.

So here I am. About to check out. I did take a little wander out and got some deodorant and toothpaste (thank you!) and a toothbrush and I feel a lot more human. I've also had two showers in the space of nine hours. LOL Hey, no chance of a kid trying to bust down the door or a husband needing his "back scratched". Just saying.

Oh AND La Quinta has a continental breakfast. Shoo. I tore that crap up. Make your own waffles, check. Raisin bread toasted with butter, check. English Muffin with cream cheese and strawberry jam, check check check. Hey, the night before I asked the nice Boston guy (who seriously was very cute) if he'd watch my stuff while I ran and got something to eat. Hadn't eaten since noon and we were beside a pretzel place. Got a pretzel dog. Good thing cuz everything was shut down by the time I was done at the ticketing counter!

I guess having some experience travelling helps. ;)

Anyway, I have a nice long wait at the airport to look forward to. I'll probably get there around 12:30 and my flight leaves at 4:30. woohoo!

Fingers crossed.