Friday, November 30, 2012

Back in Sydney

Back in Sydney

Well it is great to be back in Sydney.

It proved troublesome getting here with flight problems. My Cathay Pacific flight from London on a 747 went wrong. Although they did not tell us poor passengers what the problem was, but I suspect that they could not load enough fuel to get us to Hong Kong. Apparently there was going to be no help from Heathrow’s facilities in sorting this out. So having loaded all the passengers and their luggage, they were asking for 100 volunteers to leave the flight and take £200 compensation. This was going to be a long process as anyone getting off the aircraft had to have their luggage removed from the hold. Hours later the remaining passengers including me were suffering from the excessive heat in the cabin. They had still not got their 100 passengers to leave so they now were offering £200 in cash and the guarantee of a another flight leaving at 9pm that day. Eventually we left Heathrow four and half hours behind schedule. There was the slight bonus that I now had an empty seat next to me back in economy class. The downside was that I was going to miss my connecting flight to Sydney.

On arrival in Hong Kong after an 11.5 hour flight, I found that my revised flight out to Sydney did not leave for another seven hours. I was given a hotel voucher and a new boarding pass. It is hard work getting out of the airport involving train rides, form filling, long walks and immigration checks. Eventually I was out and on the five minute walk to the hotel I saw the taxi rank.
I had a few hours at the hotel and was able to have a shower, a shave and a bit of a lie down. Back at the airport I went through the rigmarole of immigration, security, train rides and long walks again. I was able to get a few photos from the departure lounge.
The flight to Sydney was completely full and a 9.5 hour flight. I eventually arrived in Sydney at 7am in the morning after a trip duration of 38 hours and not getting either of the seats that I had booked online. Thankfully my daughter was there to meet me and I was able to make my 11am appointment with a real estate agent. Later I took a look at my new apartment although I was not moving in for a couple of days. The place looked good.


Having been coming to Sydney for some years I had never actually been to an event inside the Opera House. This time was different, I was going to a Russian Masters performance on Saturday night as the guest of my Sydney based daughter and her husband. We were treated to music by Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky. It was great to be able to experience the opera house ambience. I was suffering a bit of jet lag but kept awake by counting the number of musicians in the orchestra. I made it 76.


A bit of fresh air in the interval

After the performance we found that the Opera bar outside was heaving.

 On Sunday morning I went for a walk with my daughter and her dog in Sydney Park.




I moved into my apartment on Sunday afternoon and have been getting things setup ever since. Almost there now. The weather has been rather mixed with both dull, cloudy and wet followed by a heat wave.


Today I am watching on tv the third test match between Australia and South Africa. This is from the WACA at Perth with the two previous tests both drawn. Ricky Ponting is retiring after this match. To avoid the usual cr*p adverts between overs on the channel 9 live coverage, I am just watching the video and listening to the ABC radio audio coverage.


At lunch (in Perth) on the first day it is SA with 63 runs and 3 wickets down. So I think that you can say that Australia have done better in this first session.

Luckily I will be watching some live cricket on scene soon as the Australian womens team are playing three one day matches against the NZ women at the nearby and beautiful North Sydney Oval. Admission is free and I can sit where I like. See you there.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Heading back to Oz

Heading back to Oz

This time next week I will be back in Sydney and hopefully enjoying warm and sunny weather. Longer daylight days and some harbour views will also be appreciated.
Maybe I will be able to go and watch a few cricket matches in just shorts and a T shirt without feeling cold. I expect a trip to some of the many beaches will be in order too. I will be using the public transport system to get around with the frequent ferries, buses and trains. My Tripview app on the iPad and iPhone will result in limited waiting for my chosen mode of transport.

Good coffee and excellent food and service at Al fresco restaurants will also be a pleasure.

Ok, my seven months in the UK has been interesting at times and even character building as the weather deteriorated, but I feel sure that six months in Australia is going to seem like a long holiday.

Maybe I will take some panoramic photos, maybe I will do some watercolour painting, maybe I will head away from Sydney by train to undertake some bush walks. I am looking forward to it.

I will also be setting up a camera overlooking Sydney harbour and the view will update every minute on my website It will probably take a few days to get the broadband connected but in the meantime the website shows the view from my last place of residence.