This post is brought to you by Jessica's step-mother.
Jessica has given me permission to write about
the wonderful hospitality we received when we visited Jessica and Nick in Sydney.
From the time Peter and I were picked up at the airport to the time we said good-bye we were treated like special guests. They even gave us their bedroom! The four us hiked and drove and dined and drank wine and enjoyed a play and visited the sights of Blue Mountains.
Important Sydney Sight #1, Sydney Opera House.
We saw it from all angles. Looks bigger in the pictures.
Nice setting though, thrust out into the harbour. We took a lot of pictures.
In Sydney we travelled a lot by train which was fast, efficient and inexpensive.
Jessica and I also visited Salvos and Vinnies. Salvos, the only nickname in the whole of the continent of Australia that does not have and Y or IE at the end of it is short for The Salvation Army Thrift Shop. Vinnies is St. Vincent de Paul Society. In Salvos I learned the meaning of the word, Manchester. Not 'The Manchester' or 'Manchesters', it means 'bedclothes & etc.' These products traditionally came from the cotton mills of the English city of Manchester, hence the name.
Important Sydney Sight #2, Sydney Harbour
Bridge. You can pay over $200. to walk across the top.
Jessica plays netball and because we were cheering, her team did really well.
Meanwhile, Nick has abandoned capoeira and has taken up hockey, playing for Canada.
Nick's parents generously entertained us on two occasions. You can get a better feel of a country when you are in a home rather than a hotel and are out shopping for groceries and petrol and going to the dump, er, landfill. Thanks Nick! A highlight of the trip!
The four of us spent a weekend in the Blue Mountains walking through the forests, visiting old mining towns like Leura and
Katoomba. I bought raw wool ready for spinning at a craft fair.
These locks with promises of devotion to lovers or in memory of lost ones are attached to a bridge on a lovely stretch of seaside highway near Coalcliff.
Here is Peter putting together Jessica's bike on the stairwell, by an open window, in the apartment building. The door at the ground level of the stairs was always open. Here is the thing about buildings in tropical countries - one never knows where the line is that marks out and in.
In places that have more defined seasons, where there is a temperature difference of 60 degrees F from summer to winter, we have to close the door and shut the windows. There is a point where you say, this is in and here, we are out. The floor surface changes at the door sill. There
is not just a wide opening with no change in grade or surface. I think this is what defines a culture. Some may say it is dance forms that mirror confines of space that shape us. No, it is the ability to move indoors without moving a door. That and in Canada we skate on water.
Peter's niece, Charlotte, who studies at University of Wollongong, came into Sydney to visit. It was the only day that rained. (They are definitely the same family aren't they?)
With Jessica's friend Jasmine we enjoyed Tarell Alvin McCraney's play The Brothers Size with Mayne Wyatt, above in the foreground. Watch out for him! You will see him on the stage again!
The bower bird lures the female by building this lovely stick structure and displaying blue treasures, so she can exclaim, "Oh my, you are so rich you can build this opulent home and can afford to toss coloured objects willy-nilly. You must carry the superior genes I desire to fertilize my eggs." She falls for that and then learns she has to build a new nest for herself because Mr. Bower Bird is off luring other naive females with his fake nest. I may have anthropomorphised a bit based on my single experiences, but that is all in the past now as I have had 26 happy years with Peter. (He made me write that last bit. It's been 15 happy years.)
These carpets are seen on car
dashboards. Cosy huh? Those Australians,
with their egg-laying mammals,
drug-hazed tree-dwellers, and Easter Bilbys.
These fellows, dressed in wigs and sports gear, assembled at a bar in Sydney, and are off for a day of male bonding.