OUR DRAMATIC SOUTHBOUND JOURNEY.
(There was a sinkhole in the clouds! Also, having recently watched The Neverending Story for the first time in ages, all the cloudscapes were making me feel pretty ridiculously happy.)
SO ANYWAY, last weekend we flew to Sydney for Tyrone's brother's wedding! Nice weekend away, see the city before driving a little further south to the wedding location, stay in a fancy hotel, yeah, what could go wrong?
IT TURNS OUT THAT SYDNEY IS HORRIFYING.
Firstly, we only had a couple of hours too see Sydney itself, and we spent at least a third of that time waiting to get to our PRE-BOOKED HIRE CAR. Which then didn't have a UBD, so we were relying on dodgy maps that are only interested in showing you where to park, rather than where things we might like to SEE are.
We made it into the city centre, yay, and then attempted to park- cue valet parking. VALET PARKING. We have never experienced this before in our lives, and oh god, we thought we were getting mugged or something. SERIOUSLY, when your business involves TAKING AWAY PEOPLE'S CARS, maybe a little CUSTOMER SERVICE would help! Having a big scary dude who doesn't seem to have a complete grasp on English demand your keys through the window isn't the nicest of experiences. XD Then, as we hurry out of the car (because our bewliderment seemed to be annoying him, and man we didn't want to keep annoying him), he basically leaps in and zooms off, leaving us sort of staring into space as we realise he's taken off with our dodgy maps sitting on the passenger seat. We then turn to the counter to try and find out exactly what just happened to us, and whether they have any maps to pass on- the angry counter man scrawled his mobile number on a scrap of paper, and said we could call him if we got lost. WHAT.
(Also slightly worrying was the fact that since we'd only just picked up the car some twenty minutes ago, WE REALISED WE HAD NO IDEA WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE. So if it got stolen we couldn't even describe the damn thing to the cops. XD)
Anyway, we eventually found the Opera House.
Also the harbour. And the bridge.
I must admit, after the Brisbane River, this water was pretty impressively beautiful looking.
Then we wandered around for ages trying to find any shops worth shopping in. Turns out that Sydney is baaasically made of Australiana souvenir shops, and opal shops. And some shops selling both stuffed kangaroos AND opals.
Not really in the mood to purchase stuffed kangaroos and/or opals, we settled for some pretzels from a roadside vendor. The pretzels were pretty good.
Then we found the park, and that was basically the hilight of our whirlwind pedestrian tour of Sydney!
BECAUSE THERE WERE GUYS PLAYING GIANT CHESS. Old man puffing on his ciggies, so tense and serious about every move he made, and Suave Guy with Tie playing it all cool, kicking around his pieces all casual like. It was great.
There was also this totally neat fountain with statues of Greek mythologies.
Before long, though, it was time for us to begin our journey to Gerringong.
Thing is, we had no maps. We could only place all our trust in road signs.
The road signs lead us to believe that the ONLY WAY TO GET WHERE WE WERE GOING WAS THROUGH A MASSIVE DETOUR THROUGH A NATIONAL PARK.
Yes, it was an exceptionally pretty drive! It was really very beautiful. But it would have been a lot MOAR enjoyable if we'd at any stage actually known where we were... OR, if it wasn't super important that we got to the church on time, so that we could actually rehearse the musics we were going to play at the wedding that Tyrone's brother HAD YET TO HEAR IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM. XD
Eventually we got to the ocean and it was all okay.
The views were actually pretty impressively awesome. And at one stage the road swept out over the sea alongside some incredible cliffs. It was lovely.
Also, majestic wild cockatoos perched above the sea.
I call it 'Broody Cocky'.
So anyway, we finally got there, with literally minutes to spare.
Then we went to check into our hotel, hooray, and flop in our room for a while... but of course, of COURSE, THE ROOM WOULD NOT LET US IN. WE COULD NOT GET IN. XD After ten delirious minutes trying to determine whether there was actually something WRONG, or we were just so tired and stupid that we couldn't work the door properly, we went for help. They gave us another key-card. We failed. We went back for help. They gave us two more key-cards. We failed. We were so tired, and yet it was stupidly hilarious at the same time. The wonderful staff let us rest in the restaurant with free cappuccinos while they rang the door fixing guy to come fix our door.
THEN WE GOT TO REST FOR HALF AN HOUR.
Because then it was time for LARGE IN-LAW PRE-WEDDING SUPER FANCY DINNER. Oh man. OH MAAAAAAN. Oh. Man. XD I am telling you, the Restaurant staff at Bellachara resort/hotel/whatever it was in Gerringong, they are troopers. They are fantastic.
The next morning we went for a walk to the beach!
The ocean was doing some pretty epic crashing. I loved it.
When we got back we realised that the shoes I'd intended on wearing for the wedding were basically falling to pieces. SHUT UP I DID NOT NOTICE AS I WAS PACKING THEM. I JUST DON'T LOOK FOR THAT SORT OF THING. XD So, we found the one shop in the whole town that sold shoes, and made an emergency shoe purchase.
THEN THERE WAS A WEDDING it was super lovely.
The next day we got up really super duper early to make sure we'd get to our flight well on time. We even made time for accidental two hour detours into national parks. We were extra super duper early awake due to the alarm clock in the hotel room being set an hour early somehow.
We got to the airport and were told that our flight 'might' be canceled.
SO, the options we were given? Check in on our original flight, which MIGHT get canceled. In which case we'd just have to take whatever seats were available on later flights at that time. OOOR, we could check in on the next flight, an hour later, but at least it was a definite. Thing is, if we checked in on the later flight, and our original flight DID go ahead? They wouldn't be able to move us. AAAAAAHHH WHAT.
So, we decided to go for the definite.
We sat at the airport and watched our original flight take off. And then, over the loudspeakers, they informed us that the flight we'd checked in on was delayed.
IT TOOK US A LONG TIME TO GET HOME. And it was totally NOT worth getting up at 3:30am for. XD
(This, however, is always worth getting up at any time for.)