Thursday, February 17, 2011

Weekend in Sydney

Seeing that Rachel has already posted her blog about Sydney, I figured I better hurry and post mine as well.  Judy - sorry for not posting sooner. Hopefully I can provide some more details that Rachel overlooked!

To back up a bit for the rest of you:
Around the same time that I decided to move to Australia, my 19 year old cousin, Rachel, also decided to move to Australia.  Secretly I was hoping that she would pick a school in Melbourne, but instead she has decided to attend school (uni) at Macquarie University just outside of Sydney.  Being the wonderful older cousin that I am, I agreed to meet Rachel at the airport when she arrived in Sydney.  (I'm not sure my aunt would have let her on the plane otherwise).  Honestly, I loved being able to be there for Rachel's first Australia experiences and getting to show her some of the things I love about this country!

I didn't let Rachel have much time for jet lag - we had way too much to fit into 3 days!

Rachel arrived mid-morning and she was easy to spot wheeling out her cart full of 4 suitcases.  International arrivals at the Sydney airport is great people watching - I almost missed Rachel coming out as I was busy watching everyone else!
An $80 cab ride later, we arrived at Macquarie University and Rachel got checked in to her apartment (sadly I took no pictures of her apartment). 
To tell you that Saturday was a hot day is an understatement.  IT WAS UNBELIEVABLY HOT.  The cab dropped us off at the administration building and then we had to get all of our bags to Rachel's apartment.  Picture 2 laughing girls dragging 5 suitcases up hill (we didn't want to make two trips).  Sadly getting to Rachel's apartment did not provide any relief from the heat - no air conditioning!!! 
We spent the day going to Ikea and Big W for essentials that Rachel couldn't fit in her suitcase.   Probably not the smartest thing to do on the hottest day EVER, but we were trying to get it all done so we had the rest of the weekend to just enjoy. 
My favorite Rachel quote of the weekend:  After getting off the train on the way to Ikea there were arrows telling us where to go.  On one side there was a sign that said "Way Out" with an arrow to the left and underneath it a sign that said "Shopping Centre" also with an arrow to the left.  Rachel looks at it and says "Is the name of the shopping centre "Way Out?"   (This coming from the girl with a 4.0 in high school).

Saturday evening we headed into the city for Rachel's first view of the harbor bridge and opera house.  I visited Sydney 3 years ago, but I was glad to see that Rachel was as impressed by the views as I had been the first time. 
After exploring a bit (and walking ALOT), we found a restaurant in the Rocks where Rachel could have her first legal drink.  I think she had one sip and nearly fell asleep at the table.  She did good though - I kept her up until midnight on day one.  What a trooper!

Worst experience of the trip - 97 degrees at 4 in the morning (and probably about 112 in the room).  I took 3 showers just to attempt to cool off.  It didn't work.....

Sunday we had planned to go parasailing.  While we were in Mexico in 2006, I promised I would pay for Rachel to go parasailing as her graduation present from high school.  I finally had to pay up - but what a great experience to go parasailing in Sydney! (Much prettier than on any lake in Iowa - no offense!)
Sunday was still very hot so we were both really excited - until we found out that you need to make a booking and they were all full on Sunday.  We spent the rest of the day with my friend Charlotte walking around Darling Harbor and relaxing in her apartment.  Between the time of being at Manly Beach and getting to Charlottes serviced apartment in the city the temperate dropped by about 30 degrees.  I don't even know how that was possible but we were both freezing as we hadn't brought anything but tank tops and shorts.  I tried hard not to complain about the cooler temperatures though.  At least I would be able to sleep!
Sunday we met my friend Phil and his girlfriend at the Bavarian Bier Cafe.  I met Phil on my Contiki trip in Europe in 2004 and also stayed with him when I came to Sydney in 2007.  Phil is the 3rd person I have met up with from our Contiki Europe trip and I can't wait to see more of them (already lined up to see Belinda in March and Annie in May!)
Monday Rachel and I finally got to go parasailing.  Sadly it was actually a bit cool (mid-70s) so we weren't as excited about getting wet.  However - we forgot to tell the people that we didn't want to get dunked.  Waving our arms franticaly didn't help either.  Down we went into the water.  The water was actually pretty warm but sadly we still had our clothes on as we weren't planning on getting wet (the only clothes that we had to wear on the hour trip back to Macquarie).  A few parasailing pictures:

Here we go!

Just before nearly giving each other a concussion

We made it!  Who wants to go again?
 Sadly I had to leave Rachel on Monday night and head back to the wonderful world of auditing.  We were able to get Rachel's bank account set up and internet connected but she was on her own for everything else.  I'm happy to report she still seems to be doing okay - as far as I know she hasn't spent her semester's worth of money yet or ended up in a suburb on the wrong side of the city (although I doubt she would tell me).

It was so great spending the weekend with Rachel.  I can't wait until she comes to Melbourne to visit!

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