This is Bucky Merino, your roving reporter, writing to you from the waiting area of the Quanta International Airlines in Los Angeles, Ca. am traveling with my dear friends, Roxie and Kyle and enjoying our very big excellent adventures!
MJ and RW picked us up and gave us all a ride to the airport. I would have given them kisses, but we don’t know one another quite that well yet. But it was quite kind of them and we all appreciated it!
We left Portland at 10 AM to fly to Los Angeles. Roxie is a cheerful and chatty person, so when the young fellow sat down next to her, she offered to make friends. He, however, closed his eyes, folded his arms, and spent the rest of the flight snoring and farting. Roxie, being the resourceful girl that she is, did all the puzzles in the on-line magazine and knitted a bit. The knitting was useful for clapping over the nose when those hair-crisping whiffs wafted up. Kyle used the time to grab a few zzs. I sat in Roxie’s purse and sulked over the unreasonable rules that forbid sheep the freedom of the airline cabin. (Free the flocks!) She did let me peek over the edge of the bag as she walked about, so that was fun. Amazing what people think is appropriate attire for travel. I know that when I’ve just been sheared and my skin is bare, I feel the cold a great deal more. People have a choice and yet they still run around with large areas of bare skin. Many of the young ladies around here are courting severe chest colds.
Then we spent the afternoon with Kyle’s family, doing computer training for them all, till it was time to go back to the airport and fly to Australia. The plane was huge! It was two stories high and could have held hundreds of people, but it was only about one third full, so everyone was able to get three seats together and lie down. We left at 11:30 at night, had dinner, then turned off the lights and slept. Quantas takes good care of their passengers. When Roxie woke up, she watched “Slum Dog Millionaire,” and “The King’s Speech.” Then we had breakfast. Then we listened to jazz and knitted some more. Fourteen hours of flight time. We arrived in Australia at 6AM and couldn’t get into our room until noon, though they did give the luggage a room to wait in.
So, jet-lagged and dopey, we lurched around the old section of the city (called, The Rocks) admiring the mix of architecture, from Victorian opulence, to modern austerity. Sometimes, a surviving sandstone structure, no more than 3 stories high (no elevators then) is sandwiched in between towering steel and glass behemoths. I saw one building, no more than three rooms wide, covered in a frenzy of carved wreaths, capitols, and columns, with noble godlike faces peering from every pediment. I wanted Roxie to take a picture, but the power transformer they brought had burned out, and the camera was out of charge. The laptops were out of charge. All their little electronic pets were comatose, but I remained alert and sprightly.
Kyle was yearning for some comfort food, and we found a café offering hamburgers and chips. At first we sat on the tiny back patio, but the heat and the flies soon drove us in. I flirted with the waitress a bit, and the food was really superb. Moreover, it was affordable! At the hotel restaurant, a hamburger was $18, and a coke was $10. At the G’day Café, the prices were half that, the portions were generous, and the quality was as before noted, superb. The waitress was a saucy little French miss, traveling the world while she’s young and unemcumbered.
Sydney is a wildly cosmopolitan city. It seems even more exotic to us because we rarely see people from India, and Africa, so with the Asians and Europeans, the whole world converges in Sydney.
At last we were given a room (after Roxie declared in a loud clear voice, “I have been wearing the same underwear for thirty six consecutive hours and I’m getting rather desperate.”) Sleep ensued shortly thereafter.
Hours later we went up to the roof to get a picture of the view. Pretty neat!
The next day, Marc and Janette met us for breakfast, then took us to their home for a quiet, companionable day adjusting to jet lag. It was the perfect way to go. Janette’s friend Anne came over and the girls spent several happy hours knitting and chatting while the boys went out to the driving range and hit a jumbo bucket of balls. Here’s the view from their back patio.
Then dinner with the grandkids. We love these kids. We brought toys and goodies. Kyle’s inner 7 year old made him buy remote-controlled cars for the twin 7 year-olds. Roxie went mad with girly accessories for the 11 year old. We had a grand, grand time!
The next day, we embarked for the 23 day cruise of the South Pacific! Farewell Sydney bridge