Rightio, I guess we're coming up to the last final few days of the Scot invasion and I thought I might throw in my stop-over in Sydney just to round out this post.
The last full day of the trip for our friends. We still had heaps to squish into one day and so it was rather busy. First on the agenda was Boo and Mouse went on an adventure with my Mum. Mum wanted to treat the girls to something special and shouted them a pair of real Ugg boots each. There was a shop in Cannington that made them customised and so they headed out there for the morning.
Christian had to go on a time management course for work (now that he's a spiffy team leader he needs to know how to manage time I suppose - a super power I already possess!) and so it was just me and the boys at home. Chris disappeared into the study to commandeer Christian's computer and Matt and I lounged around chatting and listening to my next door neighbour's fantastic music choice. Andy was at the top of his game that day - instead of just one or two tracks played over and over we were treated to a whole mixed tape! Hurrah! The best part was the first song he put on was (and I don't actually know the proper name ) what we call the 'Pussy' song. I think it might be about a cat but after singing about it being kicked outside in the rain the music stops and this woman's voice says in a corny accent 'Pussy...sore...wet!'.
Dodgy as all hell.
So we had a good laugh about that as Matt got bombarded by Molly. I think Molly may have known that Matt's time as her bitch was coming to an end because she got as much wuzzing in as she could.
Mum and the girls arrived home about lunch time, laden down with not only Ugg boots but everything other conceviable thing my mother could have bought for them. Mum doesn't know the meaning of the word 'excessive' sometimes...
Mum has always said that she would adopt Boo and so we made sure that we got a photo of us together.
After lunch we finally headed off to Caversham Wildlife park. After being pushed back from the first day and then rescheduled and rescheduled, we finally found time on the final day! Hurrah for furry, cuddly animals!
First of all we went and watched the 'Meet the wombat and other wuzzy animals' show. I took a billion photos of us all with different animals but I'll just post this one since I know I have a trillion more photos to post. This is Boo and I with the wombat who we were told isn't actually fat or overweight but is 27kgs of pure wombat muscle! It was her nap time so she just lounged on her back and let everyone stroke her. A bit like a 27kg Molly...
I have a thing for taking photos of toilets (I was going to post my other ones on here but have chosen not too) but the signs for the toilets at CWP were way too cute to not get posted.
We headed off through the roo enclosure and got up close and personal with lots of roos and wallabies. We got to feed them all too.
We wandered up towards the camel rides and found a farm animal display. I thought of LaMa when I saw this guy :)
Boo, Mouse and Matt opt for a camel ride. I have been on numerous camel rides before and know full well that a dress is not suitable riding gear and so I chose not to participate.
We were running out of time as we had plans to have dinner at King's Park before heading off to the Freo Prison Tour and so we raced around the last few enclousures. I really wanted to see the dingoes and I finally did. Yay!
Aren't they just so sweet???
I honestly think Malta must have some dingo in her since she looks almost exactly like this little guy.
Last and definitely least were the Tasmanian Devils. Ugliest things you will ever see in your life but very cool at the same time.
We rushed home to get changed into warmer clothing so we could race into the city. Christian's super charger on his car had been playing up and was making an awful racket so he had caught the train into the city and was going to meet us at King's Park and then catch the train into Freo. We met him up at the Park and raced down to the Tree Top Walk to see if we'd made it before it shut. We were the last ones over before the shut the gates and I was so glad the guys didn't miss out on the experience.
Christian took this photo of us at the very top of the walk.
You can't really see if in the photo of Mouse but there's a really nice view of the river from the top as well. You will just have to be satisfied with this great view of Mouse ;-)
After the Tree Top Walk we decided to walk up to the DNA tower and climb that too.
King's Park is full of really nice walkways all through it and so we got to walk through various tracks to get to the tower.
The tower itself.
Christian had walked all through the city and couldn't be bothered and Chris is scared of heights so they stayed below while we made the climb. This is a photo of Christian looking up at us while Chris sits on the wall.
Slightly windy and very bright but still a fantastic view from the top.
The tower used to be called 'Jacob's Tower' (there is a stairway in King's Park called 'Jacob's Ladder as well) but it seems that since everyone calls the tower the DNA tower they may as well change the name!
Before heading into Freo we posed as Christian took a photo of us in front of this massive Boab tree.
And up close.
Boo and Matt decided at accompany Christian on the train to Freo and so Mouse, Chris and I headed off in my little car. Christian had thought that given peak hour traffic and the trouble of finding a park in Freo we would all arrive at approximately the same time. We had a rather clean run into Freo but I did have to drive around the block three times before I found a park opposite the train station. By the time I had rounded up enough change to make the parking last till we needed it I thought we'd wasted more than enough time for the guys to have arrived but when I rang them they were still at Perth train station and the next train wasn't due for another ten minutes! Apparently the walk to to station had taken longer than Christian had though it would.
Mouse, Chris and I killed the time by loitering around the station and taking photos of toilets and by the time the others arrived we realised we'd have to wait till after the tour to get dinner.
We wandered up to the prison and still managed to get there early so we killed time waiting for Smerk to arrive by having a looksie in the gift shop. At this point I still hadn't gotten anything for my Dad and I left in two days so I thought I'd get him something from there. Freo was the first prison my Dad ever worked at and I thought it would be rather fitting. In the end I chose a mug (he loves his tea) and some keys (which I thought looked like replicas but found out later from Dad that they were the real deal since they had about two hundred copies of each key and churned them out regularly since they broke often. Sounded like real maximum security to me lol). Smerk soon arrived to complete our devilish group and before too long our tour was on the way.
I took this photo before we started the tour. It's of the front entrance and it's actually one of about twenty photos I took trying to get it looking all mysterious and cool looking.
This was our guide and how bad is it of me that I can't remember his name? I think it was Max or something...anyway he was pretty funny in a dead-pan kind of a way.
This guy reminded me heaps of Dave Hughes, an Aussie comedian but apparently I was the only one who saw this. He came busting out of one of the solitary cells trying to scare everyone but I think most people saw it coming.
The gallows. The last person to be hanged there was Eric Edgar Cooke, the serial killer.
There were numerous cells that contained artwork done by prisoners. When they heard the prison was to close they allowed certain prisoners to cover the entire walls of their cells with paintings. This was my favourite.
This sign indicates the cutting edge of maximum security features. Many an inmate turned back after encountering this sign.
The tour finished and we said our goodbyes to Smerk for the night. We'd be seeing her again the next day as she was coming to the airport to say goodbye. The rest of headed back down to the car after grabbing dinner at HJ's and I spent most of the walk trying to convince Christian to drive home since I was tired and I would ride in the boot of my car. He thought I was joking and so he and Matt headed off ot the train station and the rest of us piled into my car and started driving home. We hadn't even gotten out of Freo when my mobile rang. It was Christian and there wasn't a train for about an hour so we turned back towards the train station.
I'm sure many of you can see where this is going...
Christian drove home and I comfortably lay in my boot, watching little pieces of Perth fly by through the small gaps between the parcel shelf and the window. I must say that for a little Corolla my boot is rather comfortable to lay in. People will have to bug Mouse if they want a photo since she is the only one who was clever enough to get one.
We rose the next day and had a sad morning packing. No one wanted the trip to come to an end :( Soon however it was almost time to go. Barb had come round with the kids to say goodbye and she took this last photo of the six of us.
Smerk also arrived before long and she spent a bit of time being licked and loved my Molly.
On the table of this photo of Smerk you can see some of the shells Christian and I collected at Cervantes.
Finally we got a photo of all of us MoHers. WoM, Boo, Nettie, Madmouse and Smerk.
We packed all of the luggage into the cars and headed off to the airport for the final time during this trip. It was 34C and I think the guys were beginning to feel slightly glad that they were heading back home to a cooler climate.
We got them checked in and then spent the remaining time having lunch and doing last minute touristy shopping in the duty free stores. The minutes ticked by and then it was time to say goodbye. There were lots of hugs and tears and it struck me yet again how lucky we are to live in such a technological age. Not long ago becoming such close friends with people on the other side of the world would have been almost impossible without having known them prior first. But here we were, a group of complete strangers who only had a website to link us now the best of friends. We were truly lucky.
And so we watched them head through the gate and Smerk, Christian and I made our way back to our cars. We said goodbye to Smerk and Christian drove me home since I was crying too much to drive the car myself.
And then I had to compose myself enough to get packed since my next adventure was starting the very next day.
I had quite a busy day, I had to pack since I'd done very little of the the night before and I went visiting with my Mum and mother-in-law Margaret.
The day flew by and it started to dawn on my that I was going to not be seeing Christian for three weeks. I don't know what comes over me, thinking I'll be ok and making these crazy plans but then all of a sudden it's time to go and I realise that I'll be all alone without my best friend and I start to panic. We're not joined at the hip, we frequently spend the night apart when he has a LAN or I have a girly night out but three weeks is an altogether different situation.
I made Christian sit still enough for me to get some photos of us together for me to look at while I was gone. This one my be blurry but it's my favourite one.
We headed off to the airport at about 9pm so I could check my luggage all the way through to Vancouver and when we got there we were told that there were delays with Qantas flights. Noooooooo! My plane had been due to leave at 11pm but now it wasn't going anywhere till 1.45am. We checked in my luggage and then headed home since we thought it would be easier to wait there on our couch than in an airport lounge.
By about midnight I was getting antsy, worrying that they'd bring forward the departure time (even thoguh logic told me otherwise). I badgered Christian into taking me back there and so we waited. My plane was delayed even more and I tried to send Christian home but he stayed with me. It was 2am by the time we were called to board and I tried to put on my brave face as I kissed my husband godbye. Travelling by myself was a huge step for me and I was scared shitless. I was also trying not to think about the fact that my plane was so late I might miss my connecting flight. It turned out I had even more time to ponder that since we didn't fly out of Perth until 3am.
I didn't sleep on the plane at all, I just couldn't. I was exhausted by the time we arrived in Sydney but I was feeling good when the pilot announced that apart from three flights to Africa all other international connections were fine.
Of course I didn't know that he was only talking about Qantas connections and not those airlines that they're aligned with (you know, such as Air Canada). I still had an hour and a half to make it to my flight and as we waiting for the plane to dock I was running over in my head what my plan would be. That all turned to shit when there was an announcement saying that due to daylight savings having kicked in it wasn't actually 9:30am it was already 10:30am.
I had half an hour to make my plane!
I was texting Christian on the transfer bus to the international airport and he was assuring me they wouldn't leave without me, don't worry. I felt slightly calmer until I got to the Air Canada bay and found it all closed up. There was one lady on the counter already talking to another man and after five minutes my manners got the better of me and I interrupted, asking where I check in for my flight. I was told very shortly 'You've missed it. You have to wait till tomorrow' and then she went back to serving the gentleman.
I was only the phone to Christian in half a second, in tears, on the verge of a panic attack, wailing 'They did leave without me!!!'. He tried to talk me down from my attack and soon I was slightly calmer. I was called up to the desk, my flight was rebooked and I was sent over to the Qantas desk to be booked in at a hotel. I was almost constantly on the phone to either Christian, Barb or my Mum and although I'd be calm in between as soon as I started talking to one of them I would start crying again.
I had never been so scared or alone in my entire life!
After an hour or two once I had my luggage and I had my booking slip for the hotel I started to calm down. But I had no intention of heading out to look at Sydney since I didn't know my way around and I was just so over being scared and worried that I was quite content to hole up in my hotel room all day and sleep.
Barb was having none of that though. She got onto the ABA forum and put the word out that she had one scared, lonely sister stuck in Sydney for the day and if anyone was free, would they mind taking me out and looking after me.
A lady named Ali, who had hardly spoken to Barb on the forum since they're on at different times volunteered straight away. She, her husband Mark and their daughter Hannah came out and picked me up, dropped my bags off at the hotel and then took me out for the day. I could not believe their kidness. They shouted me lunch, wouldn't let my pay for parking and gave up their whole day to take care of me. And I had so much fun.
At one point Mark asked me if I thought it was weird that I was hanging around with complete strangers who only knew my sister through an internet forum. I said 'Hell no. I've just spent the past two weeks with friends I met online and I'm on my way to see my Dad who met his wife online. I don't find this weird at all'.
So I had a great day in Sydney and since I was with some wonderful people I actually got lots of photos of me in front of various landmarks. Here's some photos.
This is me at Botany Bay, the place where Captain Cook first arrived in Australia.
This is Hannah while we were waiting for lunch to arrive.
At Bondi Beach. I don't like beaches much but even so, it was a disappointment. For it's most famous beach Ali was saying Bondi was one of the ugliest.
The Harbour Bridge. I was obsessed with this thing! I kept on taking photos of it wherever we could see it.
Ali grabbed my camera and took this one as we were driving over the bridge. I was so excited I almost wet myself! (ok, myabe not that excited but I was the most excited one could be while crossing a bridge.)
Ali and I at the base of the Bridge with the Opera House in the background.
Yet another bridge photo.
Opera House and Sydney in the background.
Luna Park from across the river.
Ali and Mark with the bridge in the background.
Guess what? It's another bridge photo! Hurrah! But this one has me in it too.
There were ants on the bridge! Well, to be fair they may have been people but they're so small in the photo they may as well be ants.
The Opera House is really, really ugly up close. Trust me, it looks far nicer from a distance. It's all blocky and concretey and awful up close. The only photo I got of it up close that I like was this one.
The afternoon drew to a close and I was exhausted. Ali and Mark dropped me off at my hotel and I couldn't thank them enough. I was the luckiest person in the world to have met this couple.
I crawled up to my hotel room and decided against falling alseep straight away. I needed a shower, I need food and as much as I wanted to sleep, I didn't want to be waking up at 4am. So I prioritised and headed for the shower. Of course I couldn't figure the bloody thing out. I turned on the tap and the bath came on! What the? I would discover in a day or two that the taps in Canada and the US are like this too but at the moment my brain was not working enough to figure out how to make the water come out of the shower instead of the bath taps.
So I had a bath instead.
Bliss. It felt so damn good to just soak there.
After I was clean and I had made a cup of tea I headed down to the hotel restauarnt for some dinner. It was standard buffet fare and I ate a little but by this point I was sleeping standing up and so I headed back upstairs and crawled into bed.
All in all the day may have started off awful but it turned out to be pretty good. I guess that's why it's called an adventure. I just hoped that nothing else would go so terribly wrong on the rest of my trip.