25 December 2010

Mom's Sydney Holiday

I drove up to Sydney early on Friday 17 December to get my Frankie (the goldfish) care instructions and shortly afterwards drove Gus & Ian to the airport for the beginning of their lengthy ordeal getting to London for Christmas.

With a week to myself in Sydney, I didn't know which way to turn first!  I walked the city flat!  Drowning myself in the sights, sounds and smells of the pre-Christmas rush of shoppers and holiday-makers.  It was nice to be an observer and not be caught up in the frantic rush of it all.  

Of course it didn't wasn't long before Mona Vales magnetic pull exerted it's full force on me... 

A pic I sent Scott from my mobile.  This was just to let him know I was safe & sound in Sydney and that he needn't worry himself about me being lonely - or bored...

Shame....  and this is the one he sent back to me - livin' it up in the office!

Beautiful Mona Vale beach

As they were to be closing over the Xmas period (the day after Scott was due to arrive in fact), I felt it was my duty to ensure I ate enough to keep both Scott & I satisfied until we got back to Mona Vale.  
I also sent this pic to Scott - just to let him know I was looking after myself - eating healthy. 

After a haircut from my favourite hairdresser, Nicola at Bhodi Hair in Mona Vale.  I went back for more sushi this day too, but thought I'd spare you another boring pic of yet more yummy shushi!

After a sweltering day in the city, this spectacular storm blew over to cool things down.

City lights at sunset from Gus & Ian's beautiful apartment balcony.  This was the night of the lunar eclipse - probably not really clear in this pic. 

Now as much fun as it sounds to have a week to myself in Sydney, by the end of the week, I was really missing my partner in crime.  Scott took the train up from Canberra early on Xmas eve which gave us time to rush through to Mona Vale for some sushi and a walk on the beach.

Merry Christmas from Sydney!  

We hadn't planned anything festive for Xmas.  We were just excited about my Mom arriving later on Xmas day!!!

We did decide to honour an Aussie tradition by having a seafood lunch on Xmas day.

We'd been to Jordan's before, so knew we'd be getting an awesome feast!  They had a special Xmas menu and we chose the seafood platter for two.  Hrm.....  but no price on the menu...  okay, so we ask the waiter who tells us that it's $110 per person.  YIKES!!!!!!  But we'd ordered already, we were hungry & already had drinks on the table.  Now normally this platter for two people is $159.  Okay, so being Xmas, they have to pay their staff extra, etc, etc, etc....  So we resign ourself to a very expensive lunch & decided to enjoy every last succulent morsel!


And then the bill arrived....  Well, let's just say that sneaky doesn't come close to what they did concerning the seafood platters!!!  And trust me when I say that 80% of the restaurant were eating these seafood platters.  In small little text on the menu next to the seafood platter was a note saying $70 premium.  We had initially thought that we were paying $70 per person for the seafood platter instead of the $110 per person for the whole 3-course meal.  Well, that was definitely NOT what it was.  It was an extra $70 surcharge PER PERSON for the seafood platter!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I was just too stunned when I looked at the bill to even say anything.  Talk about leaving a sour taste....  We can laugh about it now, but we were plenty pissed off at the time.  I suppose we should've asked and asked them to clarify.  *shrug*  I wonder how many other people got stung by that.  Lesson learned and we now won't be going back to Jordan's at Darling Harbour on principal.  

Yes, okay, laugh if you must!  Go ahead - get it out of your system!  LOL!

Walking home from lunch, we happened upon this little intersection....  Cross Scott!

My Mom and I talk regularly on Skype - we both touch-type, so mostly it's on IM and we type furiously back & forth for ages.  After Dad died last year, we started pondering how we were going to deal with the 'festive' season with none of us Wells's (& a Dickson!) feeling much up to celebrating.  I jokingly suggested that Mom fly out to spend Xmas & New Year with us in Sydney where we'd be house sitting for Gus & Ian.  Well, I slept on that idea and the more I thought about it, the more excited I became about the prospect of having Mom with us for a few days.  Then I started nagging.  I'm quite good at nagging.  I must've been pretty persuasive, because on 18 October, I got a very excited email from Mom with her itinerary - she'd booked her flights and was all set to go!  The only thing left to do was to book the domestic flights up to the Gold Coast for her visit to Doug & his family.  

All of a sudden the festive season was something to look forward to again!  It seemed like just the day before when we started chatting about the possibility.  Time had flown.  And we were on our way to the airport to fetch Mom.

We stood at the airport watching all the passengers arriving from South Africa, New Zealand and Hawaii.  And no Mom.  Another flight from NZ.  Still no Mom.  We were waiting for Border Security to come out and tell us that they'd detained her for smuggling Myprodol!  Just when we were really starting to get worried, out she came....

The reason for the delay was because Mom had brought enough cigarettes with her to start a small market stall!  She managed to convince the customs guy that she wasn't intending to make her fortune in the tobacco industry, but would smoke them all herself!  LOL!!!

Not sure how jet-lagged Mom would be, I'd bought all sorts of snackie things for supper - cheeses, veggies, dips, spreads, cold meats, biscuits, olives....  you name it, we had it!  And with a view like that, there was just no better way we could've wished to spend Christmas night!

We had decided before Mom arrived, that there wasn't really much in the line of touristy stuff we wanted to do - except head for Paddy's Markets.  We spent hours there. Splitting up and browsing to our heart's content.  Meeting up in the square outside when we'd had enough.  No time limits, no pressure.  Coming back from Paddy's, we decided to head into the Chinese Garden of Friendship at Darling Harbour.  Mom had been there with Dad in 2008, but Scott & I had never been before.  After the hustle, bustle and noise of Paddy's, it was the perfect tranquil break we needed.  And we had heaps of fun with the cameras too.  

We finished off with tea overlooking the koi ponds.  It was really lovely.

With all that walking, we built up quite an appetite so stopped in at the Harbour Grill in Darling Harbour for a bite to eat.  Our burgers were delicious & I swear that Mom's chicken wings came giant mutant alien chickens - they were enormous! 
Don't you love Mom's hat?  Some stall holder at Paddy's took a shine to Mom & plonked the hat on her head when she was browsing.

And we had to take Mom to Mona Vale so she could see it for herself.  Hell, we rave about this amazing place that we lived for a mere 6 months - we had to show it off!  She's very lucky that Rainbow Sushi Train was closed for the holidays or we would've dragged her there too!

Scott & Mom on Mona Vale beach

Scott & fatso at Mona Vale
(Yip, all that good food and G&Ts has definitely taken it's toll on the hips, thighs, bum, tum, etc, etc!)
While driving around, we came across beautiful Balmoral Beach in the Mosman area.  Absolutely stunning!

With this lovely footbridge over to a little outcrop with grassy areas under lovely old trees - perfect for picnics!

I've lost track to days and exactly what we got up to when!  But this is a luxury yacht that was docked in the harbour for NYE - it's the 'Athena' - the 2nd largest luxury super-yacht in the world.  It was built for billionaire Jim Clarke - the guy who started Netscape.  Clarke is married to the Aussie swimsuit model Krisy Hinze.  
The yacht is an incredible 90m long and those masts are 60m high!  She's a real beauty!

We took Mom to one of our favourite pizza restaurants at The Rocks - Zia Pina Pizzeria.  The pizza literally melts in your mouth and the place has such a great atmosphere.

One of Mom's great pics of the lights on the water at night in the Harbour.

Back at Paddy's Markets!

Scott in the throws of a wasabi rush from some take-away sushi!

Serious conversations!  I took this from the balcony of the apartment - this is one of Mom's smoking spots.

Time to win some money!  Mom & I at Star City Casino

Mr Moneybags & Mom at the entrance to the casino - Mr Moneybags there won heaps of dosh & took us out for a fabulous Asian meal afterwards!

The porta-loos arrive in preparation for the New Year's Eve festivities.  

Going for a walk to check out how many people were camping out waiting for the fireworks that night.

I love this pic - Mom had no idea what Scott was up to behind her.  Actually, I'm not sure what Scott was up to....?

Checking out the plebs from our privileged position!

The plebs!

This cute little doggie had us entertained speculating on his heritage....  female corgie + male border collie?  Or could it possibly have been a sleeping female border collie + a very brave male corgie?

The sun starts to set and the porta-loo queue grows...

Parties everywhere!

This little street in front of the apartment is a strictly no parking area....

Cheers!!!!  We spent the earlier part of the evening sipping on a divine Groote Post Old Man's Blend - Dad's favourite wine.  Just before midnight, we popped the champaign.




The fireworks were just spectacular - both the family fireworks at 7pm and the real deal at midnight.  Such an amazing experience!

Cleaning Frankie's bowl and leaving him an extra helping of breakfast, we hit the road for the second part of Mom's holiday.  

We decided to take the coastal route which Scott & I had previously taken so that Mom could get a small glimpse at the beauty of the NSW South Coast.

First stop was the Otford Lookout

Mom & I at Otford Lookout

Next we stopped at the Bald Hill Headland Reserve where the paragliders where jumping off cliffs.

Aaaaaaah......  The Scarborough Hotel for brekkie

Scott & Mom waiting for breakfast

Next stop:  The Cliffhanger at Bulli Tops

Me being attacked AND photographed while taking a panoramic pic of the view.

My panoramic came out okay - despite the threat of attack!

Strike a pose...

Mom wasn't half nervous up at that height!

It didn't help that we were jumping up and down trying to bounce the platform for Mom - notice the death grip on the railing...

Stay tuned - the Canberra part of Mom's holiday will follow shortly.