Today was a bit weird but kind of fun. It was Monday morning. So I woke up, made breakfast and a cup of coffee and sat down to watch the Super Bowl….wait….what? 🙂 Due to the time difference (and the international date line) Super Bowl “Sunday” happened at 10:30 AM on Monday morning here. I felt a bit like I was watching Wimbledon from London (for those who don’t know it happens early AM in the US). It was a bit weird but I was just happy that a major AU network was carrying the game. Unfortunately, my team lost (hey I’m from North Carolina, who do you think I’m going to pull for). I’ll be honest that it was somewhat bitter/sweet as I happy to see Peyton Manning go out on top (maybe?), but was sad to see Carolina’s season end on a down note since they had such a great season. Oh well, that’s why they play the game. Now my next two sports challenges while here are the Daytona 500 and March Madness. I told my mother (before I left) that as far as US sports go I could not have come at a worse time. But it’s summer in AU now so it was the best time to be here. Hopefully I can find the race on the internet….of course it will be at 5AM :-). So I watched the Super Bowl and checked the local bus schedule to figure out my route, connections and times to get to/from the local shopping center. Me being me (the trying to reform over planner) I came up with 3 alternate times for both going and returning and sent them all to my phone so i would have all I need to assure a “smooth” trip….or so I thought. I made it to the local bus stop and had a very nice chat with a little old lady (literally, she was about 4.8′) who gave me some “tips” for navigating the regional buses. Right on schedule our bus rounded the corner and started up the street. Then, for some unknown reason, it stopped about 200 yards short of the stop and just sat there for about 7 minutes. Hmmm, this is odd I thought and immediately knew that all of my planning just went out the window as I would never make my connecting bus now….and I did not. But no biggie, I got off at my connection spot and just waited for the next one. Now I had been told that, if you want to get off the bus just push the red buttons that are located throughout the bus. So when I got close to the shopping center I pushed the red button, the “Bus Stopping” light came on but the bus just kept going….and going….and going. The bus finally stopped about 1/2 mile past my desired stop and a flood of school children began rushing on. I felt like a salmon trying to swim upstream in a flooded river. 🙂 20 minutes later I was at the shopping center (“mall”). The local shopping mall is much smaller than most US malls. Many of the shops and services are still located in the “downtown” area which I personally think is very cool. So after 1.5 hours of shopping I check my bus schedule and head out to the stop. After about 10 minutes my bus arrives and I make it to my connection stop right on time. Now here is where it gets “fun”. When I get off the bus I double check the schedule posted at the stop just to make certain I am at the right stop for my desired bus. According to both the on-line schedule and the schedule posted at the stop my bus should arrive at 6:13. So I’m standing at my stop and at exactly 6:12 I see my bus top the hill in the distance. I’m feeling pretty good at this point. As it get’s closer I’m not sure if it’s going to stop so I began to wave. It get’s closer….and closer….and VROOM it blows by me at 50 and never slows down. I’m like, “what the heck”. I double check the schedule and verify that it was “supposed” to stop. Well crap. Ok, no problem I’ll just wait for the next one. I check the schedule…I look and find out that the next bus (to my desired destination) does not come for another 1:30 HOURS! UGH!!!! So with no real choice, I strike off on foot. I check every bus stop I pass but they all say the same. So long story short, about 40 minutes later I arrive home covered with sweat but none the worse for the wear. When I walk in the door I get a big cheer from Linda (Rick’s wife) and his two daughters Zara and Natasha. Apparently they were a little concerned about me thinking perhaps I had been eaten by an AU land shark :-). I love my AU family. 🙂 So what do I after a 40 minute urban hike….go for a run of course. 🙂 I’m still learning the area so Linda suggested I run down to the beach and provide directions. This was a fantastic idea. As many of you know, I’m not a “huge” fan of the beach….well mostly the baking sun, so my favorite time to be at the beach is around sundown. How amazingly beautiful it was to run along the beach and watch the surfers along the way…..
Cruise ship leaving Sydney harbor
* Click on photos to enlarge. View all travel photos by clicking the “View Photos” link on the right. Reluctantly I finished my run on the beach and ran to the downtown area. I stopped and picked up some Sushi and ran back to the house. After dinner I chatted with Rick for a while talking about my trip into Sydney later this week and my future travel plans. He suggested I visit Canberra, the capital of Australia, on my way to Melbourne and we discussed my “Southern” Australian travels. Lots to see and do and I hope you can join me for all of it…..so stick around. 🙂