27 April 2006

Keep Left!

I'm happy to report that I survived driving in Australia....and more importantly, they survived me!!

There were only a few minor incidents. Actually since I've been back and dearest darling David picked me up at the airport, I been wanting to remind him that he's on the wrong side of the road. DOH! And now most of Fredericksburg is aware that if my windshield wipers are on without it raining, then OBVIOUSLY I'm turning as I've forgotten which side of the wheel is my blinker indicator!! The funniest (although not at the time) incident was as I was driving in Tuggeranong one night and because I was watching for 'roos that might be crossing the road, I didn't realise that the four lane divided road (2 lanes each way), had merged to two lane (1 each way) non-divided road. For those of you who are not Australian or have not driven in Australia, the lines dividing the lanes of on-coming traffic is not yellow, as it is in America, but white and at this particular stage was not a solid white line, but dashed white lines. For you Australians who aren't aware, in America this means that traffic is travelling the same direction. So suffice to say, I was a bit startled at the car coming out of the roundabout and on to (what I thought was) my side of the road. Panic! Don't panic, don't panic, don't panic. left side, yes indeed, I am and should be on the left side. What is this person doing?!?!?!?!??! Ahhhhh. I inch as close to the left side of the road that I could, hoping that they would stay in the right hand lane--which I was still thinking is on my side of the 4 lane road. They pass without incident and as I'm heading into the roundabout am noticing that ooops...the road was no longer divided and the other driver wasn't a lunatic, drunk, or oblivious, but were exactly where they needed to be. oops. note to self: whilst looking for kangaroos be sure to also pay attention to road signs.

:) shez

26 April 2006

Gone Walkabout!

Okay, I dropped off the planet (really, just the internet) for awhile! Geez, do you even remember a time before cell phones and internet??? Dial-up is probably archaic for some of you!! ahem, I digress...although for the record, I find it scary when April is agreeing with Matthew. Okay, really it's scary when ANYONE agrees with Matthew! (*evil grin)

So the last week FLEW by and was filled with wedding stuff, finalizing last minute details, the hens party, THE WEDDING, recovering from the wedding, and then packing/shoving everything into bags and coming back home. whew!

just for the record: I LOVE MY BED!! oh and THANKS DAVID for coming to pick me up at the airport and THANKS GRETCHEN for dinner :)

I eased my way into work again--working a whole hour today. Don't want to overdo it, you know? But I've stocked my fridge and am trying desperately to fight sleeping durning the middle of the day, although I think nap time is coming up soon!!!!!!! I turned in 8 rolls of film to be developed, so HOPEFULLY I can download a few that correspond with the next few posts recounting my last 10 days Down Under (including interesting facts regarding kilts...and men who wear them!)

must go snooze!! :) shez

10 April 2006

Last Week in Canberra....

Well, I only have a few more days left in Canberra before I head back to Sydney! My time, while fairly booked up, does allow for a bit of r&r time for me--as after all, I am on holidays! Not that having late lunches and meeting for afternoon tea is "rough," but I'm also trying to take in a few sights not seen or at least not seen in awhile! For example--thank you Rod & Norma--I'm catching up on a bit of Aussie Rules Football, which is nice that I can watch it in the middle of the day rather than having to stay up really late at night to catch the occassional game at home.

The first wave of postcards have been sent out and I am hoping that at least some of them will arrive before I do!!

Alright, must dash--halftime's nearly over in the Freemantle v. Carlton game! I LOVE FOOTY!!

:) shez

09 April 2006

Working Holiday!

Okay, just so you don't think I'm being lazy on my holiday...

I spent most of Friday morning helping Geoff change the tires on his new car [apparently the tires on his old car where better--they didn't look all that much different, but whatever]. Oh and for those of you who don't know, Geoff is Nerida's oldest son [with Graham--aka--Crackers being the youngest]. Just wanted to clarify that he isn't some dodgy bloke I picked up in a pub the other night.

After that I tagged along while he got the new car registered and got new license plates and fun things like that! We ended the morning having lunch with Nerida and went back to the house, where I promptly CRASHED hard on the couch and it finally hit me--JETLAG!

Nothing like a nap to make you groggy and what helps that? Why, beer of course! When down to the pub with Geoff and a few friends while waiting on Nerida (who was having a massage and then picking me up for a girls night in!). Mmmmm...Aussie beer! I am sad to report that this was the first Aussie beer that I've had since I got here...however, it means that I've been a good girl, as I've been driving pretty much the entire time until Friday!

see, there ARE drawbacks to having a hire car!

Ned picked me up several hours later, we went home for a light dinner and more drinks....well, okay one--as I proceeded to fall asleep on the couch and at about 9:30 she woke me up and sent me off to bed!

JETLAG! (boo-hiss!) and sadly I thought since I had made it two full days without feeling groggy, I wasn't going to have a problem....doh!

:) shez

05 April 2006

The Friendly Skies!

Hello and greetings from Australia!!

It's so surreal being back and in a way doesn't even feel like I've left [like when I left the airport in Sydney and without much thought or consulting a map navigated my way to Canberra!]

The trip down is worth about 23 bloggers, but being short on time, I will try to get it all into one:

Dad took me to Austin (thanks Daddy!). After getting checked in and waiting in an eternal line to go through security, the lovely lady at the checkpoint (checking id's and tickets)--exasperated that my id was a passport and I didn't want to dig out my driver's license--told me that I could only have 2 carry-on items. Well, I had three--my purse, a bag of books & toiletries, and a bag of wine. I explained that "Actually, ma'am, I'm flying internationally and am allow 3 carry-on items" Where upon I was informed that actually she had been working there a long time and NEVER had any flights EVER allowed three carry-on items and so I could either consolidate or check one of my bags. Fine. So I dropped my bags at her feet and proceeded to pull everything out of my book bag--shoving things in both my puse and my wine bag, then placing my purse into the book bag and shoving the rest of my items around the purse so that in the end--rather than having THREE SMALL, LIGHT, NEATLY packed bags, I had TWO HEAVY, OVERSTUFFED AND OVERFLOWING bags. Upon standing up, I showed her my "two" bags and she wished me a nice flight. The kicker is that I get to the sercurity check point and get behind a lady who had a wheeled bag, on top of which was another smaller bag and a purse. Somebody freaking shoot me. Of course, I promptly pulled out my purse and rearranged my THREE SMALL, LIGHT, NOT-QUITE-SO-NEATLY packed bags for travel.

The flight to LA was uneventful, barring an 35 minute delay. Get to LA--land in Terminal 4, gate 47 [this is important information for later!]. Follow the signs to the International Terminal, which if you're in LAX and have to leave the terminal you're in, you have to go outside and upon entering the new terminal ( I think there are 5 total) you have check back through security (great--just what I want to do again!). Am about to leave Terminal 4 and I see a couple of Qantas counters, but since American & Qantas are part of the OneWorld Alliance, didn't think much about it--until I walk all the way to the International Terminal and am nocticing my flight to Sydney is not listed. It leaves in about 2 hours, so SURELY it's gotta be listed. Because SURELY if it was cancelled or changed, they would have informed me. So I walk over to the Qantas counter and ask about my flight. "Oh" she says "That flight leaves out of Terminal 4!" smile. try not to cry. "Just go to Terminal 4 and use the business class line to get a new boarding pass" Okay, business class line--not as long as Economy, so not so bad (I'm hoping). Go up to Business class line and am issued a new boarding pass--and am informed that the gate has changed. Okay, since I thought the gate was in the International Terminal to me OBVIOUSLY the gate had changed. Walked up the checkpoint person [with my THREE SMALL NOT-SO-NEATLY PACKED bags], whereupon, she....wishes me a nice flight and a good evening! Get through security actually FASTER than in Austin (there's something wrong with that, but I wasn't complaining), look down at my "new" gate--it's number 48B. oh. funny I know EXACTLY where that gate is!! After a bit of a wait (and a burger & beer at the terminal)the plane is boarded and we head off over the wild blue Pacific!

We're supposed to land at 6am. But thanks to strong head winds the ENTIRE flight, we actually land at 7am. Immigration didn't take long at all to get through. I was excited. It should have been a clue that Customs wasn't going to be as fast! I have 6 bottles of Texas wine to give out as gifts, did I know I was over the limit? Yes. Did I declare this? Yes. (I DECLARE I HAVE A LOT OF WINE!) ahem, sorry. So I was sent to see the lady behind the counter (and trust me you don't want to have to see the lady behind the counter--it means that you have to pay....) Luckily, after explaining that the bottles were gifts, she okay'd my wine without having to pay taxes on it, but explained that next time, keep it to 3 bottles. Yes, ma'am.

Finally (it's now like 8am Sydney time--no clue what time in USA it is!), I manage to get out and find the car rental place....only to be told that the car is not ready. But thanking me for my patience, they have decided to give me the next size larger car--if I wouldn't mind waiting a few more minutes. Not minding the bigger car and the chance to stretch my legs, I walked around the terminal for a few minutes. Less than 10 minutes later, I was in the car (it's red!!!!!!!!!) and headed to Canberra (and manged to stay on the correct--aka left--hand side of the road!)

Well, I guess that's about it for now! I'm meeting Nerida for coffee and Cathy for lunch and not quite sure what the arvo brings--but it'll be great and relaxing for sure!!

g'day! :) shez

02 April 2006

T-minus 24 Hours

Well, it's nearly that time! I still have a lot to do, but it's easier getting up earlier [and staying up later] knowing I only have about 24 hours left. Actually, it's more like 27 hours until Dad & I depart for Austin....tomato, to-mah-to.

The most important stuff is done (i.e. I know where my tickets and passport are!)--the rest, as they say, is details!

I really don't have a lot to report right now. I'm a bit groggy from "springing forward" this morning (don't forget to set your clocks!) FYI, as of right now, Sprint hasn't sprung forward, so don't trust the time on your cell phone! Which (on a postitive note), allowed me an extra hour of sleep, but made me late for breakfast with Mom. Fortunately, breakfast was at home this morning, so being a bit late wasn't that big of a deal.

bye for now! post you on wednesday from Australia!!

:) shez