Back to Oz

21 Jan

It’s not often that I go back to a country for a second time 🙂  But, in Australia, I had some unfinished business…


Sydney, New South Wales


In keeping with my resolutions, this post was FUN and EASY for me to write, which means it lacks details.  These are memories of this blog down under are for me, for Rachel, for Travis, for Melina, for Kim and for anyone else who would like to join.  They start on:


January 20th
Operation Rescue the Money

Travis, THE SAINT AND GOOD FRIEND THAT HE IS, picked us up from the airport at the crack of dawn.



Pittsburgh down under, yinz.



A hidden key.


Through the help of Melina, Mark, Mark’s mom, and again, TRAVIS, we safely retrieved the second safety security box key.

Downtown, we parked in the Queen Victoria parking garage, saw a black huntsman spider scurry across the ground, headed to Gringotts Bank complete with a goblin who was working security, had my signature scrutinized, retrieved all the money AND a letter to my 29 year old self (only 3 years later than I’d anticipated, well done), went to the post office across the street, insured the package for $30 (GULP), bought SIM cards half a block away — 30 gigs of data for less than a week — I’ve never had so much data in my life, I’m rich!

“Operation Retrieve the Money” was a TOTAL success!


My heroes.


After a slight walking tour, Rachel, Travis, and I realized we were starving, and found the PERFECT, fancy place to eat in The Rocks; an outdoor space serving kangaroo, crocodile tail, and pony espresso martinis.  We ate and drank our fill before heading to Beach Road Hotel, which served us well, and was located near the famous Bondi Beach.




Things we talked about that day:
How bummed I was that I didn’t get to see Melina, Mark, and Tilly
“This is such good music!”
THANK YOU TRAVIS, you’re a true mate!
“How great is it that we’re not driving?!” (Said multiple times by Rachel AND Sammi)
I need to get my Burks tightned.
Let’s stop at Ice bergs for a drink.
Celebrate:  A person who marries people and HOPEFULLY MY FUTURE JOB 


Back at the Beach Road Hotel, we rearranged all the beds so that they were laying on the floor.  Travis used his connections.  And Kim met us for some soda water, a chat about the horrible fires, a different key (THANK YOU!), and a bought of friendship.



Real queens fix each other’s crowns.



Throwing a perfectly curated party.


At night, we took hotel room blankets onto the sand, a park bench, and a beach shelter, and the three of us bonded on Bondi ❤ ❤ ❤


January 21st
We slept a little but the next day was a VERY hot day.  Since business from yesterday was already taken care of, the three of us decided to walk around, see the sights, and explore Sydney’s free, Royal Botanical Gardens.  



The entrance. Or, one entrance.  This place is HUGE.



My lizard brain, telling me over and over how hot it was outside.


When we got to the succulent garden, with no shade or respite, I thought ‘Maybe it was the wrong idea to come to these gardens today…’  When the Herbarium was closed? I was pretty sure we had made a mistake.  But then? The Fern Garden changed my mind.  It was nice in there.  And the Carnivorous plant exhibit aka ‘Plants That Bite’, with all the mist, totally won me over.



A room full of Seymour.


Travis, Rachel, and I continued our walk to the Sydney Opera House, drank hair of the dog, used Trav as our GPS, continued on to Darling Harbor, bought discounted ticket to the aquarium, paid homage to Brendan, ate $10 Fish and chips on Tuesday — with every free dip, and said “see you in a few days! We love you!” to our dear friend Travis.

Rachel, me, and all of our stuff, were on our own again.  With our backpacks on, we headed back to the Royal Botanical Gardens, drank wine in The Fernery, and learned that our second favorite tree is called the Silver Fern.  It had been my Facebook banner photo for over a year, but it took coming to Australia to learn that it was the national symbol of New Zealand. Better late than never.

She and I continued walking, past the bin chickens (Ibis); past the sweetest, softest, pinkest, loveliest frangipanis we had ever smelt; back to the Sydney Opera House for AN ACTUAL OPERA, La Boheme (which first aired in 1896).  We went through security, stored our backpacks at the coat rack, and arrived bedraggled, sweaty, and with one minute to spare. But, like always, WE HAD MADE IT!



The iconic Sydney Opera House where we were heading to see an ACTUAL OPERA!



Dressed in our best.



It was so good.


There were 4 acts and I cried during all but one of them.  The 4th act had us both sobbing.  We sat in red, cushy seats, and enjoyed ourselves immensely.  It was a fantastic night out.

That night, Kim graciously let us sleep at her apartment while she was spending time in Asia. (Thank you again, Kim!)

All these years later, I had come back to Australia.  My mission was accomplished.  Friendship abounded.  We had come down with a bad case of the good times.
In Travis we trust,

2 Responses to “Back to Oz”

  1. Paul March 29, 2020 at 11:04 am #

    Great to see the NZ pics & to hear your trip back to OZ was as good as you hoped!

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