Thursday, 31 October 2013

Hop on Drop off Sydney

After an excellent sleep, I woke up thinking I was at our old house, Manor Farm.  Leaping out of bed, I headed to the en-suite, only to be confronted by a partition wall.  Who put that there?!  Oh yes, this was the Ibis.  Once washed, dressed and coffeed, we went in search of breakfast and wifi.  One out if two wasn't bad.  Bacon and poached egg served on sourdough bread made a good start to the day and set us up for a trip on the Hop on Hop off bus.  Having used them in places like Barcelona and Dublin, we are fond of the quirky commentaries plus they help us to get our bearings.

In the past, we've stayed on for the full circuit before choosing places to 'hop off'.  Today the sight of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge was too much to resist.  The sun shone and there was a beautiful blue sky for a backdrop.  We helped other tourist couples by taking their photos then they did the same for us.  Being in this spot was a highlight of my life.  I have never been a fan of cities but I profess to have fallen in love with Sydney.  I just hoped nothing would mar this feeling before we left.

Strolling through the Botanical Gardens was pleasurable too.  Of course, I used my £4 umbrella to protect my delicate skin (plus the factor 50).  What a pretty place to stroll and to see such unusual birds. Hubby fell for the white cockatoo (cockatiel?).  My favourite was an unknown one-legged bird.  Hubby confirmed that it did only have one leg. I have been teased mercilessly over the last seven years.  I thought I saw a one legged gull in Kaikora. I hadn't realised the other was tucked up, resting. 

We posed alongside statues.  No amount of persuasion could be employed to make Hubby reveal his manly body.  I think he has a lovely bottom.  One to rival any of those statues.

We hopped back on the bus to complete our tour.  Doesn't the mind work in funny ways?  When I saw the words 'The Star', I was transported back to my early childhood.  A newspaper van would deliver a pile of 'The Star' newspapers to our house.  Mum or my sister would mark them.  Sometimes I would have a lift in the van to a local garage to drop off their paper then I would skip merrily home.  Other times, I would go on the round with my big sis (only big in the sense that she was older.  We used to think she had hollow legs because she could eat so much but never gain weight.). She would carry the enormous bag, packed full of papers.  I'd walk alongside until she neatly folded a paper and told me where to post it.  She looked after me and never sent me to houses with snappy dogs although some of the letter boxes could be vicious.  Thanks sis x.  

But, back to today.  Hubby was somewhat exhausted and his eyes drooped.  He swore his eyes were just sore.  I'm telling you, he was napping on the bus!!  I prodded him awake if I thought he might be interested.  One time, he opened his eyes, said 'Ibis' and insisted it was our stop.  Ever the obedient wife, I followed him down the steps.  Wrong 'Ibis'.  Good job the bus was still waiting.  We climbed back on which bemused some travellers.

Down by the Circular Quay, the bus had a longer stop.  Some Americans became very worried as one of their gang had left the bus to get an ice cream.  He was nowhere to be seen and the bus was about to leave.  Their loud voices bellowed, 'Has anyone seen Jerry?' 'Was he wearing his hat?'  'There's a man in a hat there.  Is that Jerry?'  'No, that's not Jerry.  Where's Jerry?'  I wanted to shout back, 'Maybe he's chasing Tom!'  I thought better of it.  Someone finally had the gumption to check the upper deck. He'd slipped upstairs, probably to escape the noise!!!

We left the bus at the Town Hall and walked back to our Ibis.  Hmmmm.  Towels, buckets and a yellow warning sign in the lobby did not bode well.  Nor did the drips from the ceiling.  We toddled off to our room for a quick drink and shower to freshen up, except we had no water!  Houston, we have a problem.  Phoning reception, I enquired about the water situation.  I was thirsty and needed a shower. Could they resolve my dilemma in fifteen minutes as pledged on the card by my bedside.  If not, they guaranteed the service was on them.  The receptionist, a trainee, said she would check with her manager.  Six minutes later (exactly, I was timing). She arrived with the last drop of water squeezed from the system for my drink.  Sadly lack of shower water could not be fixed by the plumber within the allotted time.  As a major problem this was NOT included in the fifteen minute guarantee.  Well, what a surprise  (said sarcastically in my head).  However, as a gesture of goodwill, we would be provided with free breakfasts for the remainder of our stay.  (Whoopee, said happily). Well done Casper, the friendly manageress.

After Hubby's very mini nap, we hopped off to the Hop on Hop Off bus again.  When we reached the intersection for the Bondi Beach bus,  we clambered off and joined a group of German students heading to the famous beach.  So, in a temperature of 34 degrees we sat on the too deck.  At each stop I raised my umbrella for some respite from the sun.  As soon as the bus set off, I folded it down.  Once I was a little slow.  It blew inside out to frustrate me. So I left it to our hats to keep the rays at bay.  They made valiant attempts to be 'Gone with the Wind' but the straps held them firmly in place.  My brim, none too happy, kept flapping in front of my eyes.  I thought I had a good shot of Harbour Bridge, but who knows?!

The famous golden Bondi Beach was not as long as Hubby had imagined.  That did not deter from his appreciation of the scenery, especially the moving parts covered in skimpy bikinis!  

The next cove had a name dear to our hearts 'Rose Bay'.  What a special lady she is and what an exclusive place this was.  Expensive and full of luxury cars and yachts.  The commentator asked us to count them.  My hat went into flapping mode again so I lost my score.??

Then I started hyperventilating.  Woolworths!!  Mum's favourite store, sadly defunct on the UK mainland now.  There might still be one on a Scottish island somewhere though.  It was lovely to see the sign, although it's not quite the same.  II wondered if they still had pick and mix sweets.  

I now have a confession to make.  I once shoplifted from Woolworths.  Oh I can hear you all gasp in horror.  It wasn't deliberate.  With one husband, one daughter, four foster children, numerous relatives and a full time job, my mind was rather preoccupied one Christmas time.  Hanging a few Christmas stockings over my arm, I wandered through the store.  Nothing else took my fancy, so I wandered out the other end, stockings still attached to my arm.  At the end of the precinct, I realised I was a thief.  I chased back like Linford Christie to pay my dues.  I have only ever run faster - the time I left my newborn outside a shop, then stood by my car wondering what I had forgotten.  Sorry Sally x x

But that was then and this is now.  In Sydney we had been congratulating ourselves on what an easy city it was to navigate.  The frustration of not getting wifi in MacDonalds after eating a fat buster burger threw us off kelter.  Hubby insisted one way, I the other.  We spent at least twenty minutes dithering, parting company, making up then agreeing I had been right in the first place (although now he insists I was wrong!!)  We did find our street and the water was back on.  Hurrah.  But the air-con wasn't.  Another phone call, some adjustments to the controls in the room next door and we were back in business - all in less than fifteen minutes guaranteed!!!!


  1. You will have to come visit South Africa, plenty Woolworths stores here. xx

  2. I love this. So interesting. Funny about save nodding off. Some things never change do they x