My Sydney/Maitland/Tamworth Holiday, January 2002


A few months of waiting after paying for the tickets passed, the day finally dawned, as they do, for me to fly to Sydney and start the holiday I have earned but never taken.


Sunday, 6th January. After packing up a suitcase of clothes and novelties, I decided NOT to take my laptop with me, if anyone wants to get in touch with me, stuff em! Only a certain few privileged (or unfortunate, depending on your perception..) souls had my mobile number that I was taking with me on this trip. Anyone else can wait till I get back. Anyway, the plane roared down the runway at 7:30am, right on time. During the flight, the “head steward” bloke, introduced us to our cabin crew, an ex meter maid from the gold coast, a reject from Manpower, an applicant to Temptation Island and some grease monkey babe. Touchdown in Sydney at 10:10am. As the plane was rolling the 20 kilometres from the end of the runway to the Sydney Virgin terminal, the “head steward” thought that since we had been sitting on our butts for an hour and a half, what we needed was some “body aerobics” This entailed the passengers stretching out their arms, flexing fingers etc.. Wiggling around in the seats to get the blood back to the cheeks, and a final exercise of touching your toes, oh, and while you are there, pick up any rubbish on the floor or in your pocket in front of you. This worked; we actually did, mostly because it was funny. Oh well, Sadie’s day off anyway..


Denise and Sam were there to meet me at the airport and we waited the 20 minutes or so while the luggage was unloaded. Got a BIG hug from them both, that felt nice J Now, I don’t know how many of you have “experienced” the Sydney driving, but let me say this, I was worried that I hadn’t done a will up yet! HOLD on for “DEAR LIFE” is an understatement. Speed bumps? Phooey, don’t hassle me with such trivial matters. Speed bumps are for whimps. This being said as we were almost airborne. (I thought I had just gotten OFF the plane??) Truly, I have it on video! Driving around Sydney, grasping the dashboard till my knuckles are white, I noticed this round yellow lump, in the middle of an intersection. Well, shoot me down and call me snuffed. This is called a “Silent Cop” they are there to stop people cutting corners. WOAH! The technology these Sydneysiders have.. To have a cop stay silent.. That was cool..


We got to Denise’s apartment, which is beautiful; timber polished floors, wood framed windows, and then went to South Head for a walk around Watson’s Bay and HMAS Watson. Walked around the point and looked at the old light house erected circa 1858. (geez, my head is feeling a little warm) Along with it’s Light House Keepers Cottage. Saw the old stone walls with the ports cut for guns. Had lunch on the water at Watson’s Bay. Beginning of MAJOR sunburn I think! Sun was out, day was hot. Beautiful day it was. Got back to Denise’s place and played Harry Potter games. GREAT games while winning.. Didn’t want to play anymore when I started losing! Wanted to pick up my toys and go home! Dinner was nice. Denise made a Thai Red Chicken & Eggplant Curry.


Rang my sister in Townsville to wish her happy birthday for 2 days time… Well, I might forget..


Monday, 7th January. Rainy day, perfect for a HarbourJet cruise. NOT!! Well, we got there and it was Fun regardless of the whether. Fishtails, doughnuts and sudden stops on the water at high speed.. A real adrenaline rush! I wanted to go on this twain (train) ride.. But Denise wouldn’t let me (actually, I think Denise was too embarrassed or to scared to go on it – REALLY Denise… They aren’t THAT scary!).. No matter how much I sulked… (I had another plan for this anyway..) Had lunch at the Coogee Hotel. I saw they have this great idea for cooking your steaks… YOU cook it. Yeah, you buy the steak, and they give it to you on a plate, RAW! Now, I like my steak rare, but even that was a little too rare for me.. I took my steak out to this HUGE Barbie (BBQ, not Barbie as in the doll… Mind you, there were a few dolls there too).. It was about 4 meters long and a meter wide. Nice and hot. This way, you can cook your steak to your own perfection. Which in my case, is only about 30 seconds on each side…. Seems a waste of time really doesn’t it?


That night, we had dinner at Fiesta On Oxford Mexican. Very cute waitress, but I didn’t drool like usual J (I know NONE of you will believe that!!)


Arranged lunch for tomorrow with Kealani.


Tuesday 8th January. Said Hi to Samantha then woke up Ms Sleepyhead. Denise dropped me off at 9:00 at Darling Harbour (slowed to about 50 to do it. That was nice of her). I wandered around the harbour filling up my video tape with images the warship and submarine that are moored at the maritime museum. Got a Monorail to the city heart where I ascended the AMP Sky Tower (Centrepoint Tower). The view from that room 350 meters up was breathtaking. I marvelled at the vastness of Sydney and how it seems to stretch forever. Which is also the same with the prices up there. I had a small glass of coke (No-one in this town has bottled Diet Coke anywhere I think..) and it cost $2-80. So, the view is NOT the ONLY thing that is sky high up here!


Had lunch with Kealani, who used to live here in Brisbane. A dear friend of mine, I met her at her place of work, 37 floors up in possibly the oddest shape building in Sydney city. On our way down in the elevator, which plays REAL elevator music, we crunched to a stop and Kealani’s husband got in. I thought, “Hey, I know this guy from somewhere..” I asked him over Spaghetti where I know him from. He asked where I work and I told him Ipex in Brisbane. Well, that was it. Daniel used to work for DMB, a solicitor office who is a client of Ipex in Brisbane. I had done a few jobs out there and he was the contact. Talk about a small world. Snapped a photo and went about my business, which I didn’t have any of anyway so I have NO idea why I said that, and went back to the AMP Sky Tower to complete the second part of my trip to the tower. Got the monorail back to Darling Harbour and then got the twain (train) to the IMAX Theatre where I met Denise and Sam and we watched Cyberworld 3D. This, to a computer person is GREAT! No other way to explain it. Just GREAT!


Had Burritos with Guacamole for dinner. Denise is a wonderful cook. Played more Harry Potter, Don’t like this game anymore! Keep losing! Watched Holy Grail as I had never seen it before.


Wednesday 9th January. Samantha went to Birdsville with a friend today so Denise and I went to Fox Studios. I had a Laksa (surprise surprise) for lunch and Denise had a Fruit Salad. We then watched “Lord Of The Rings” Now, this is funny. It is hard enough to get Denise to sit still for an hour and a half movie, but this is 3 hours! So, Denise mentioned it would be a good idea to pause the film so she could stretch her legs.. Obviously, this did not happen!


After the movie, Denise and I walked through the Waverley Cemetery. I have this interest in reading the tombstones of the departed who passed away in the 19th century. I just like to see how far back a tombstone was placed at a site. So far, the oldest one I have found is 1867, and that was at Tairo in QLD. I would have thought that there would be at least ONE grave older than that at this Cemetery considering the location and the fact Denise read somewhere that Henry Lawson is supposedly buried there, along with some other famous names.. But did we see any of these? NO! Right in the middle of the cemetery, is a bus stop. What a funny place for a bus stop! What does the driver say? “Next stop HELL!!!!” Well, we thought it was funny anyway..


That night, Denise, Sam and I went to the now known as “Observabush”. This name change from Observatory was Sam’s idea. So don’t blame me! During the lectures that the “Astronomers” gave, I noticed that on a few of the questions fired at them, they changed the answer to something that had NOTHING to do with the question. I don’t know how other people felt about this, but I was NOT impressed…


Thursday 10th January. Well, after the touristy thing around the Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay, Denise, Sam and I boarded the Manly Ferry. Now, this ferry didn’t seem very manly to me (hehehe… Well….). We got there and I had run out of video tape on the ferry. Shame too, as this was bikini city! We had lunch under the shade of a tree. By now, my sunburn was cooking my head like a roast in the oven. Holding my head under a tap every 10 minutes was not fun either. I said to Denise at one stage, “It’s times like this I wish I’d have listened to my mother”. She asked “Why, what did she say” I replied, “I don’t know, I wasn’t listening!”


Dinner was at Acapulco’s Mexican. This was yummie.


Friday 11th January. I had a squiz through Denise’s baby photos. This was actually very comforting as it was in the apartment and not out in that DAMNED SUN!!! To me, Denise allowing me to see her photos from growing up shows me that she does consider me a good friend. Well, consider this, would you let someone you don’t like to look at your pics? I already knew that Denise does consider me a good friend; it is just nice to be reminded occasionally. On the way to the bus stop, I needed to buy a few video tapes as I had run out. Well, Denise stopped at a Kmart and I raced in, selected 4 blank videos and raced out to the car again (YES, I DID pay for them). I quickly unwrapped one tape and inserted it into my camera. However, in the ensuing rush to get a tape into my camera, I lost the plastic wrapper from the video. I looked under the seat, on the floor.. It just WASN’T there!


During the preceding week at Denise’s, it came about that the pink shirt I was looking to buy was actually a polka dot shirt. I have NO idea how this came about, oh, that’s right.. It seems I may be slightly colour-blind. Denise would ask me what colour something was and I would give an answer. BOTH Sam and Denise would reply that it was a different colour than I had said… I am getting suspicious about this as it has happened on too many occasions while I was down there that my colour guess was incorrect. So, in a message on my mobile from Denise, it came up that my shirt was polka dot, and NOT pink.


2:30PM. Time to voyage onto the second part of my adventure. Leaving loved ones is always hard. However, I was able to put on a brave face as I hugged Denise and Sam for the last time and boarded the bus to Maitland. Where is that damned plastic from the video????


6:30PM. The bus arrives for a scheduled meal stop at Beresfield at this time. Bev was going to pick me up at 7:15PM so I tried to message Leisa to find out what she was up to that night. No reply. I tried calling her mobile, it was off. Well, no choice but to call the house and see if Bev would come down to pick me up from here instead of waiting half and hour to go another 15 minutes down the road. Luckily Tom answered the phone and I asked for Bev. I informed Bev of my whereabouts and she said she would come and pick me up from there. Leisa was home and got VERY suspicious about this turn of events as she was asked to stay home for the day. This was so unlike her parents to ask her to stay home. Leisa asked who was on the phone but Bev just told her that a friend’s car had broken down and she was going to pick them up. Alarm bells were ringing in Leisa’s head as this just didn’t seem right. By the time Leisa got ready to come for a drive with Bev to see this “broken down car”, Bev was gone! Bev picked me up and we went back to her place. Leisa was standing in the pool area at the front of the house and watched the car pull into the driveway. She didn’t see me until I walked from the garage to the front of the house. This was a nice surprise for her (I hope) and Leisa came over and gave me a MASSIVE hug, as I knew she would. All surprises passed, I put my bag in the room I was going to occupy for the weekend. Went out to the BBQ area and chatted with Bev and Shaun about the last 4 years and of other topics. Chatting continued for a while then Leisa returned with a video to watch, “What Women Want”. 


Saturday 12th January. Still can’t find that bloody piece of plastic from the video!


Bev, Shaun, Tom and I went to Newcastle to do the touristy thing. You know how it goes, walk up the lookout tower that has a strange phallic look about it, to view the harbour. We then had lunch at this small market food court, where I had… Can you guess?? Yeah, LAKSA!! Not as nice as the one at Fox Studios, but nice anyway. After lunch, Bev drove me around the beaches of Newcastle and I shot a lot of footage on the video of this. We then went back home.


Had pizza for dinner and watched a few movies that night.


Sunday, 13th January. Asked Leisa what she had planned for the day and when she replied “nothing” I asked her if she wanted to have lunch at one of the seafront restaurants. When we got there, there was NO-WHERE to park, so we decided to go see Monsters Inc. instead. This was a scream (hehehe… Well, see the movie and you will understand.)… Afterwards, Leisa and I sat at Big Als (a burger joint) and chatted for an hour and a half. This more than made up for my concerns of maybe not seeing my friend at all this weekend. I am so glad I had the chance to spend time alone with her. Does ANYONE know where that damned plastic from the video is??


Monday, 14th January. The hardest part of this entire trip was to come today. I knew it, so did Leisa, saying “good bye” again. Now, I personally object to saying “good bye” as this to me, is too permanent. I much prefer “see you soon” or something to that effect. How does one say “bye” to a dearly loved one without showing the emotions that well up inside, knowing that you may not see them for a LONG time? Try as I might, I could not hold back the tears that found their way down my face.  After the bus had moved on, I wrote the following SMS to Leisa: Leisa “The tears shed as the bus pulled out does not begin to describe the sadness of leaving you again. I will always cherish the time we shared, alone or with others. I hold true to my word that Bev asked me about one time. To say I will miss you is a MAJOR understatement. Please be happy and never forget those who love you with all they can. XXOO” I did get embarrassed, when her reply was “Cas. We are also sad to see you go again. I did notice your face as you left but wanted you to see me with a smile. Have a safe trip. XXOO” I replied with “I hoped you wouldn’t see that. I am very embarrassed about you seeing me like that as I should be stronger than that. I did see your smile. I will ALWAYS see your smile, all I have to do is close my eyes and think of you. XXOO” Her reply of “I hope you had fun here. Please don’t leave it another 4 years b4 you come again. XXOO”, like Denise previously, reminds me of the close friendship we share.


Got to Tamworth at 11:00PM. Tracy picked me up. Another HUGE hug… I should go away more often! Has ANYONE seen that plastic?


Tuesday 15th January. Lazed around a bit as I was pretty wrecked from the last week and a half. Tracy, Neil and I chatted a lot about the last 3 years and Tracy made this really nice mince and noodle dish for dinner. I called Kelly, Leisa’s sister to see if I could stop and have lunch with her one day. The call lasted maybe 2 minutes and lunch wasn’t on.. Bed LATE!!! About 2am! WHERE IS THAT PLASTIC???


Wednesday, 16th January. Tracy and I went to the city… CITY??? OK, country town to Woolworth’s and the post office. Stirred up Tracy a bit, but she got me back…. Like she said, she can be a bitch at times… Again, too hot to do anything else really, so we just went back and sat around in the air-conditioning at home.


Thursday, 17th January. Last lazy day. These days came in handy as usually, one would get back home exhausted. Not me. Nice and relaxed. Packed bag ready for departure. Tracy and I chatted till 3am. This was REALLY stupid as I had to get up at 6am to get a bus at 6:50am. DOPEY me! All that lazing around, wasted as the lack of sleep I had, totally wrecked it. Mind you, the chat was worth it anyway J


Friday, 18th January. Neil woke me up as I slept through 2 alarms! Woke Tracy up just to say Bye. Big hug J Got to the bus and headed home. Slept 12 hours that night.


Highpoint: 6th January to 18th January.


Low point: Leaving Maitland.


Overall, I took 2½ hours of video and 3 rolls of film.




My Heartfelt thanks to everyone who put up with me J I can be a bit of a pain, just ask my Mother, Father, Brother, Sister – Just about EVERYONE I know.