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The BIG Trip! (part three)

We finally landed at 6:30 am on Wednesday October 29 AU time/day. Already have no clue what day/time it is at home.

I truly misunderstood the whole customs thing. I thought because they told me at the airport in Toronto that the food I had with me - carrots, tuna, eggs - were all okay to bring into Australia (remember they confiscated my grapes????) that I didn't need to declare them. (Remember how I said I would regret not getting my bag down - well, because I was reticent about asking the man behind me to help too often, I did not eat the food I brought with me. Had I done that, I wouldn't have had a problem) Well...apparently Toronto doesn't know sheet and it cost me $220.00 in fines for a lousy bag of crappy carrots and 1 hard boiled egg...sigh........I am actually over it now, but was QUITE pissed off at the time, although I was sweet as pie to the officers. I explained to them over and over again what Toronto told me and they refused to waive the fine. Whatever. Welcome to Australia - have a nice stay...yeah, sure....(well...maybe I am not quite over it yet)

Then Pauline came to meet me and she took me on a whirlwind of sight-seeing from the get-go since the hotel wouldn't let me check in until 2 pm.  Then we found out that the Qantas flight that Jennifer was on lost their weather radar 3 hours into the flight and had to slow down to wait for the next plane coming in that direction to ferry them in (literally - Jennifer could see the other plane from her window) all the way to New Zealand!!!! And then switch planes to come to Australia. Jennifer said her total travel time ended up being 32 hours!

We went to Pauline's house and I met her husband and 2 very well-behaved Ridgebacks (although Pauline doesn't think they are good - ha! she should meet my Border collies!). I was awed by the houses - none of them are made of wood, all of them are brick or concrete and they all have this ridged roof - either ceramic or metal - rather than the flat roofs we have here. Lovely gardens and landscaping. Not like my neighborhood here in the boonies where all we have is grass and maybe a bush here and there.

Darling Harbour was the first stop and we went to the Sydney aquarium and Sydney Wildlife World. Pauline is a woman after my own heart - she looks at every animal, every fish and reads every sign! I warned Pauline that if she heard a sharp intake of breath from me to not worry about it. That would be me thinking she was in the wrong lane <g> (I only did this a few times - usually when making left turns)

I gotta tell you though - way too many poisonous things here for my comfort level! YIKES! Who knew that kangaroos can and sometimes do kill people!? There are tons of lizards and killer bugs and I am sticking to pavement, thank you very much! The crocodile was very scary - looking at us with those flat reptilian eyes....shudder...

The displays were beautiful in both places - very realistic (with real stuff) and it looked like there was enough to keep each animal or fish busy.

Wednesday night I ate at the hotel after being warned NOT to walk around the streets near the hotel - gang wars of every denomination! Okay then, never mind...When I went up to bed, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to fall asleep and continued to worry for about the first 5 seconds and then I didn't worry anymore - I was out like a light!

The next day, we went to the Royal National Park, Woolongong and somewhere else I don't remember. All very beautiful and very different than I am used to. I felt like I was on some strange and wonderful planet. I was all agog when I saw cockatoos flying around in the wild. Pauline has been great in telling me the customs of the country and is very learned in just about any topic. Did you know that in Australia one is required to BY LAW to vote in the elections? And the Australians all want Obama to win. Me too, except I completely forgot to get an absentee ballot and I won't be home in time to vote....

More to come!