Friday, January 29, 2010

Dawn and James’ Visit

I had the pleasure of meeting James new fiancée (as of Christmas Eve) Dawn. She is a very lovely lady and I feel James is a very lucky man. Congratulations! They’ve been teaching English in Korea and just had to get out of that intense Korean winter for a bit. They had only a few, short days with me (probably enough for them) and I think they enjoyed Fairy Meadow, the beach, the Buddhist Temple, Art Museums and views off the Escarpment of the Illawarra below. I didn’t know the area had so much culture.

James came a packin’ 2 bottles of scotch with another as a gift that is still unopened after finishing off those two, mostly full bottles in such a short amount of time…well, let’s just say I’ll keep it for a special occasion. All of it was very good scotch and that can get you in trouble in a hurry and in trouble for a long time…so I’m told. I’ve included a picture of James doing the good drinker thing of recycling the empty scotch bottles into the HUGE (and necessary in Australia) container I’ve nicknamed, The Aussie Alarm Clock.

You see, most people think it’s a good idea to recycle first thing in the morning as they head off to work. Unfortunately, my neighbour heads off to work about an hour before my alarm goes off. I don’t really mind, I just think of it as a 1 hour snooze alarm for my ‘real’ alarm. You can also tell by the number of clinks, just how much of a good time your neighbours had the previous night if by some strange quirk, you didn’t happen to hear them partying. Another neighbour had his mates over and I could hear them all night long. In fact, they were still at it when I left for work the following morning at 8:00! I bow down the to stamina of Aussies when it comes to partying. Like the ex-pat Westerners in Japan said when Holly and I taught English, “If you want a successful party, invite a couple of Aussies!”

Their stay ended on Australia Day, which is very similar to our 4th of July. Family barbies, fireworks and lots of beer. We drove up to Sydney where the big action is and where Dawn and James would spend their last 2 nights in the land down under. They stayed at the Grace Hotel on my recommendation and I think were pleased with the choice.

We headed down to the Rocks where several bands were playing and ate at a pub where you cook your own steak. Along with a few midis from the jug of beer later and we were ready to walk around enjoying the crowd of people, the music and of course, another beer. They took off on one of the passenger ferries for a little more sightseeing in the sunset and I left them to return to the Gong and arrived just in time for the fireworks.

The timing was perfect as I was out of the big city by dark and the fog was rolling in over the freeway with the twilight behind it. Very cool and very eerie, I wish I could’ve taken some pictures that would do the scene justice. Then I thought…wait a minute, this is supposed to be summer! The weather is very weird around here. When Dawn and James came down Saturday, it was pushing 100F before noon! The so-called ‘breeze’ that was going through the flat seemed more like a blast furnace (I know, I’ve used that phrase before, but it is all too accurate). Within an hour after the arrival of a ‘cool change’ the temperature dropped nearly 30F to a much more manageable 70F something. It is just plain weird although you can use what we say in Seattle, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.” That’s a lie as well, since it is all to often more appropriate to say “If you don’t like the rain, wait 3 months.”

Enough weather and back to Dawn and James, I asked Dawn to be my beautiful spokes-model for something that really impresses everyone who visits down under…the bacon! I know I’ve mentioned this before as well, but now I have photographic proof! She’s shown holding a small package of bacon and just to provide reference, I’ve put a few rashers in a huge frying pan for a big brekky and they just don’t fit! Sorry, I only fix one piece per person and often, the whole thing doesn’t get eaten anyway. Also, they don’t smoke the bacon as much as Americans, the flavour is very subtle but very, very good.

“Hmmmmm….bacon.” Homer Simpson.

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