Where in the World is Smithee?

 Where in the World is Smithee???


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Day 24 - Christmas Eve - travel Day(s)

Christmas Eve in Sydney ca,e beautiful and sunny. Hung around Hugh and Sarah's trying to finish packing. The bags bought on the ship to carry excess baggage, which was occasioned by purchases over the last 3 weeks) failed miserably.  I discovered my bag had developed a large 6" tear along a seam after being subjected to the rough treatment of a 2 mile Uber ride from the cruise dock to Hugh's house.  I decided to pack everything in my carry-on and the 25" bag I'd brought.

At 1:00 we called up an Uber for the rode to the Sydney Airport. By 2:10 we had the bags checked, were cleared through immigration control and at the food court 3 hours early for boarding Quantas Flight 73 for San Francisco.

We'd booked the return flight using miles and we're pleased to find we were in Business Class.  Preferred boarding, and once seated, out flight attendant Brandon served up complimentary Champagne.  Gin and Tonics followed. Dinner was excellent, with wine, and I had a Port aperitif. Each seat had a TV screen with a wide selection of movies, TV shows and music. I contented myself with listening to the new John Mayer album, then sampled some local Australian artists - Wings of the Wild - Delta Goodrem, Angus and Julia Stone, Birds of Tokyo, Clare Bowditch and the Feeding Set, Empire of the Sun (Walking on a Dream, which I'd heard before in the States) - thereafter I settled in to watch Dunkirk.  I was able to sleep some, as the seats had legroom for me to stretch out completely, and were quite wide.   

At 5:30 I awoke to find breakfast being served, then we settled in for the remaining 1.5 hours of what was an excellent flight. Quantas Business Class rocks!!!

We arrived at 12:10 pm Christmas Eve, before we left Sydney. There's that pesky International Date Aline thing at work again. Lost a day on the way over, got it back (sorta) today. 

Clearing customs and immigration was a snap. Some of the process is computerized now, with a scan of one's Passport and a photo snap that generates a paper receipt that is handed to the CBP officer.

We got rebooked onto an earlier Alaska flight (3:20 pm), so don't have to sit around until 6:30 or so, and arrive in Seattle after 9:00 pm.  Unfortunately, all the flights to Walla Walla (Barb) and Spokane (me). So it will be an overnighter in Seattle unless something frees up.

Now sitting at SFO Gate 50A, Terminal 2, waiting for the flight to Seattle. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Day 23 - Saturday - Bondi Beach

It is a beautiful, sunny day here.  Highs to be in the mid-80s.  Hugh, Sarah and the girls left for Bondi Beach around 8:45 or so.  We are headed there as well and will hook up with them.

So, 2 days before Christmas, first Saturday of school vacation, Temps in the mid-80s, what would you expect of a 3/4 mile long Sandy.hwvibg beach, accessible by bus?  Crowds.  It was still a very enjoyable day at the beach.

The surfers were out, though the break was too close to the beach for really good surfing. James had surfed that morning at Cronulla and pronounced the two meter surf good.

After Bondi Beach, we took the bus back to Paddington, where we stopped at the Paddington Market. 

Then a short walk back to Hugh and Sarah's, past the barracks. 

Back at Hugh and Sarah's we started packing for tomorrow's flight home. How is it we have more stuff to pack than we came with? 

Helen and Mark came over and we had a dinner of take away Indian. After dinner, Hugh and I walked down to a pie place to get some pie for dessert. We went through some cool neighborhoods, and saw the famous Flying Foxes (giant bats). 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Days 21-22 - Thursday and Friday - Sydney

We arrived in Sydney the morning of the 21st. I had wanted to get up at 5:00 am to see the ship pass beneath the Sydney Harbor braided, as the captain had said they do the transit at low tide and even then the ship clears by only two meters.  Alas, I could not manage to pry myself out of bed for it

We disembarked the ship around 10;00 am and took a shuttle supplied by the ship (for which we paid $19 each) to the Central train station.   Holland America has things arranged so you have to take their shuttle.  Otherwise we easily could have caught an Uber from the cruise dock at half the cost.   We did get Uber from the train station and were dropped at the house of my brother High Klinedinst and wife Sarah and their two beautiful daughters, Maya and Liv.  Here until Sunday the 24th, when we fly home.

Today (Fr I Day, it's off to downtown - Circular Quay, The Rocks, Opera House - and then a ferry trip to Manley and back.

Near a Hugh's house, Oxford St.

Took the bus downtown. Saw an interesting sculpture given Austria position on guns.

Near Circular Quay, the old Police Court:

Took the bus to Circular Quay to catch the ferry to Manley.

The famous Harbour Bridge:

The iconic Sydney Opera House:

Manley, headed for the beach:

Manley Beach.  What a wonderful beach with moderate surf:

Headed back to the ferry dock:

After Manley, it was back on the ferry for the 30 minute ride back into Sydney.  Approaching downtown, we passed the very iconic Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge.  We had hoped to do the "bridge climb" but it's become quite the tourist attraction and they charge something on the order of A$325 to climb to the top and be terrified by the heights.  We decided to pass.


Bridge climbers:

Approaching the ferry dock:

The Rocks:

The Lord Nelson, Australia's longest continuously operating brewery (since 1836 or so):

The Hero of Waterloo, where we had dinner.  This one was opened sometime around 1840:

NExt up for Saturday, Bondi Beach.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Day 21 _ Wednesday - Eden, NSW

Eden, NSW, is at the midpoint between Melbourne and Sydney. Cute little town but not as nice as Akaroa in New Zealand. We are here only until 4:00 pm. Sydney tomorrow, where we end the cruise.

Herewith some photos from Eden.

Day 20 - Tuesday - Melbourne

What a wonderful city!!!

We arrived in Melbourne at 8:00 am and were able to disembark the ship shortly thereafter.  As ship approached the dock, I got some excellent shots of the city skyline which, by all appearances was very modern, with a number of tall skyscrapers.

We had already had our meet and greet with Australian Customs and Immigration in Hobart, so leaving the ship was an easy matter. We emerged into a large area and were greeted by helpful Aussies who advised on transport options. For $0A$15 we got a card that allowed transport on all public transportation in the city.  As it was, there is a large rode fee area that covers most old downtown, so the card amounted to a round trip ticket to downtown and back. It was needed, though, as it was quite a distance from the dock to the main CBD. 

A trolley decorated for Christmas:

Of course, we visited the Harley shop, Harley Heaven. A new CVO Ultra Classic runs A$42,990.

More to follow. 

Sydney tomorrow!!!