Our Trip to Australia
Thanks to Sun Microsystems and Pacific Forum2000, Ed had his airfare and a weeks lodging covered so we decided to pack all of us up and go for just under three weeks. This is a brief cronology of our trip.
Margaret and Gerrit are three and a half and just over one, respectively. We elected to go the non-stop flight route -- rather than a more traditional one stop (say in Hawaii or Tahiti). This was good and bad. The fourteen hours couped up in the coach class cabin was difficult. T make it wose, we encountered some "moderate" turbulance about half way through the flight. Since it was an old plane and all in the dark, I have no idea where we were. I'd guess, around the equator, but I don't really know. This woke Margaret and she didn't sleep the rest of the flight (Gerrit was not so bugged, but did wake up and went back to sleep!).
The first week was pretty much -- Ed off to attend to user conference duties -- Larrain and the kids off to sight-see in downtown Sidney. We were staying at the Renasiance Hotel in Circular Quay (Quay is pronounced "Key"). This was a wonderful central location. Mom & kids could walk to China Town, The Rocks, the Botanic Gardens and plenty of shopping. If they ran out of things to do, they could hop a Ferry and be at any of a number of wonderful locations for only $2.00 Au. -- Oh, the exchange rate was excellent -- about $0.53 US for each $1.00 Au.
When the show ended, we departed the Renissance and took up residence at Geraldine & Tony's 1860's house, in Balmain -- a Sidney, ex working class, neighborhood about two fingers up the xxx river. As with our hotel room, this was centrally located to lots of interesting places to eat and explore in Balmain. Not as touristy, but definitely providing lots of interest and expecially good food. The house was about a mile and a half from the Ferry landing so we used that as our jumpping off point for most of our week's stay there. We visited China Town, the Toronga Zoo, the Sidney Aquarium, did the Sidney Operahouse tour, and basicially had a really nice remainder of our city stay.
The Toronga Zoo sports one of the best views of the down-down Sidney center. Lots of animals and walking for the kidies. The Aquarium has some very nice underwater, large open ocean animal displays. And, when you go on the Opera House tour, you'll find out how many tiles it took cover this wonderful structure -- as well as the trials and tribulations of the architect as he battled with the city, physics, and the strength of the materials he wanted to use to finally complete the outer shell (Oh, and he quit after the shell was finished, leaving the inner stages to be finished by a replacement team).