Henry Griggs Rambling
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Return to Australia 2002
After three years in the USA, we had to go home and get our visas renewed. For me it was two weeks in Sydney, for Anne it was four weeks. We packed a lot of things into my two weeks in Sydney. I had a tight itinerary, with a lot of things to do and a lot of people to see. It was so tight that there was no time for spontaneity, and I swore I would never have such a tight itinerary again.
First thing off the plane, we packed a bit of business in. Visit to the bank, visit to DMV for drivers licenses, then got passport photos taken, and then it was off to Forestway shops for a lunch of pies and pasties and sausage rolls. Australian cuisine at its finest, yet the pies and pasties didn't do much for me this time round. After lunch, we did a house inspection. It was a bit sad seeing it again, but it was basically okay. Needed a little work and Anne stayed on for two weeks to do that work.
I was pretty tired after the trip so I crashed early, and slept badly and woke early. That's the curse of travelling back home, you get out of sync with sleep time, and then when you finally do sync in to night time, it's time to fly back to the USA and suffer again until you re-sync to night time there. I come for two week visits so I get four weeks of unsettled sleep.
Early next morning, after lying in bed for a dismal few sleepless hours, I got up and wandered about and mingled with Evelyn's birds. We headed for Sydney city early, so we could wait in line at the US Consulate and get our visas renewed. No problems there, apart from the wait, and then down to the food hall under Martin Place for a fantastic buffet lunch. I didn't photograph it because no cameras are allowed inside the Consulate. But I would have if I could have. It had been three years since I had salads as fresh and tasty as that. We stayed in the city and met up with Richard and Ken for another meal treat - Lebanese dinner in Surry Hills. Oh yes. I was in food heaven. And then another restless, mostly sleepless night, morning with the birds again, and then into the city to do CD shopping with Richard. Lunch was at our old haunt on the fringe of Chinatown - "Eating World".
Then dinner with Mike and Marg. I have photos of that event, but they aren't very flattering of me so I have omitted them. Suffice it to say that I tackled a leg of lamb, and came away with the bone. Oh, and a lot of wine. After the wine, I slept deeply for a while, and then shared my hangover with Evelyn's birds.
What else did we do? We went to Circular Quay and watched the Bridge, the Opera House and ferries. Met Haydn and talked music and concerts and he showed us all the programs of the Sydney Symphony shows we had missed. We climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I spent time in Crows Nest and visited with friends I used to work with. We had roast lamb with Evelyn, up-market pizzas with Paul and Linda, lamb chops with Ben and Jill, laksa Singapura with just me and Anne, kangaroo and emu at The Oaks with Tony, and more fish and chips with Evelyn. We sampled the food of Sydney as best we could.
We stayed with Evelyn, and I was taken with her garden. I took photos that have found their way on my desktops as backgrounds. Since the stay with her, I've been looking for good nature shots, and unusual flower shots specifically to use as backgrounds. On large screens, the photos look great. One thing I noticed in Sydney was the intensity of the light. Everything seemed so much brighter, so much greener. The light over in Virginia seems muted in comparison, even in mid-summer. Here's a sample of the photos from Evelyn's back yard.
And then I moved to the front yard, to get some photos of the huge gums that everyone has in their yards. I like the look of the gums, and I love the feel and smell of them, but I'm a bit nervous of them when they're close to the house and the wind gets strong and limbs break off, or when it's bushfire season and they have a habit of exploding into great balls of fire.
Trees everywhere. When you fly into Sydney and look down at some parts of it, like the North Shore, it's like looking down at bush, and you can just see some of the houses through the foliage.