One of the best days of the trip was in Sydney
NOVEMBER 12, 2012 – MONDAY – Backed bags in Brisbane, flight to Sydney, this time to the Sofitel Wentworth. Had a baggage issue as there is a difference in the allowed weight between types of travel class. I looked up the wrong one on the website, but then the automatic system wouldn’t read the baggage tag anyway and by the time it was all done there wasn’t an extra charge (yay!).
Hotel room has a tiny balcony that looks down on a circular courtyard and the weather is beautiful. Have dinner with Floss and Rachel in the hotel Garden Court restaurant that is decorated as an outside arbor. Fancy French food filled the menu, but ordering the Charcuterie Plate meant I got sandwich meat and bread and tiny vegetables and while called an entree, is actually an appetizer amount of food.
Tried to get more video off the video camera and onto the Airbook and then earlyish bed as I want to roam around a bit tomorrow morning before all the schedule events.
NOVEMBER 13, 2012 – TUESDAY – Got a text in the morning that there would be a solar eclipse around 9 am, so I hurried up the morning routine and was out walking by 8:30 am. Hotel wasn’t that far from the harbor, so I went that way, hoping to get some nice shadow photos of the eclipse, as my little digital camera isn’t up to photographic the actual eclipse as it happens (turns out the eclipse was going to happen the next day, while we would be on an airplane 🙁 ).
Got a lot of great pics of the Opera House and spent money in the shop, enough money to get a free bag.
Also took several shots of the the Sky Harbor Bridge. And now understand what the “walk the bridge” actually entailed – you walk up the framework of the Sky Harbor Bridge to the top, the very top.
An entrance to the Royal Botanic Garden>> was right at the water’s edge by the Opera House, so I picked a path and started walking in the general direction of the hotel. Look one way and there are trees the same as I would see in the US. Look a different direction and there are roots as tall as my waist lying across the grass like giant lizard tails.
Stopped at the shop to shop and the cafe for some food as I’d skipped breakfast and walked a lot. It was a bit surreal to have a sacred ibis come by looking for a handout – these are the same kind of birds that grace Egyptian hieroglyphics. Very weird to see them up on the cafe tables and hounding other people and acting just like a Texas grackle. Exhausted the camera battery and only saw maybe half of the gardens. Back to hotel to really start the day.
Met Floss and Rachel in the lobby and we cabbed to the ABC Studio (not the same as the ABC over here) so Rachel could record a phone interview. The recording room had a huge picture of a Delek in the waiting room since that room was known as the TARDIS. Got some pics and some video recorded, although it was a bit odd since it was only one side of the conversation.
Next stop was the Queen Victoria Building/QVB>> which was originally a concert hall and has evolved through different incarnations into an amazing shopping center. The Swarovski tree rose through all three levels of the building, there was a dedicated store to metal toy soldiers (from all eras of history and painted with a crazy attention to detail), a two floor hobby store that takes your hobby more seriously than you do (from remote vehicles to Doctor Who collectibles to die-cast airplanes of what looked like very model and airline), elaborate stained glass windows and giant clocks with moving scenes that hung from the ceilings and reached almost an entire floor down. Did not purchase anything through a great effort of will (and the reminder of already overweight luggage). The calzone lunch and chai with dessert and casual conversation with friends was one of the best meals so far this trip.
Cabbed back to the hotel for a short break then off to Kinokuniya for a book signing. Had around 10+ people show up, very involved group so it became almost more of a conversation than a Q&A. Got more video and some still pics. Got to meet Daniel, someone I’ve talked with electronically for almost a year as he’s the Founder and main Programmer of Demibooks>>, the company who’s Composer app>> I used to develop my Bud the Bunny iPad app>>. Was really great he made time to come out and talk with me (and the fact that Kinokuniya had discounted computer books and manga probably didn’t hurt 😉 ). Rachel was still signing people books and some stock books to sign, so I wandered the YA section for a bit, thankful they had closed the registers because the Garth Nix’s Confusion of Princes>> AU cover is more fabulous than the US cover (although I’d *love* to have a copy with the British cover someday). Late night ended and back to hotel.
Went ahead and packed up again before going to bed as we had an early morning flight to Melbourne. Ended up being very grateful for the Sydney Opera House bag I got free-with-purchase as I needed two carry-ons to distribute the weight and keep the original art unbent.
Next city … Melbourne