Getting from A to B
09.03.2012 - 13.03.2012 28 °C
We got from Townsville to Sydney with no trouble at all - a morning ferry at 7.10am, taxi to the airport, then Qantas Club until our flight. Paddy had a brief drama with filling out a tax form before we left but nothing too dramatic.
Once we were in Sydney we got the train to Parramatta - it was about half an hour away, far longer than any other trip we've had in Sydney where we usually stay in the CBD somewhere. Our stop was right next to a giant Westfield and lo and behold, our hotel was right next to it. Woohoo! Score! Mantra Parramatta was pretty ace for our requirements. The only problem was the first night. There was NO SLEEP whatsoever. Of all the plans we had beforehand, not sleeping was NOT factored in. We were both ridiculously tired and had plans for Saturday so didn't expect the nightmare sleep we had. Ie none. Oh well.
Got up the next day and I went to the city to meet my tweet mates, while Paddy embarked on a typical Victory away trip. My day was spent walking around Darling Harbour desperately hoping I'd recognise people when I saw them. I can't say much for Paddy's day except I knew he was being very bad when he texted me saying he was kicked out of the football at 8pm. By this time I was already back in Parramatta tucked away in the room, so I told him to GET OUT IMMEDIATELY. Much to my vexation this was not heeded. Turns out he was in the football for a massive total of 20 minutes, lost his license, and then got the train about 11pm to get back.
Losing one's license two days before an overseas trip is less than desirable, as you can imagine. I was not looking forward to getting a replacement.
Sunday morning we got up and went to Bondi to meet Fisk and Adamsy, plus get in the water for one last time. We went for a walk and ate sushi to counteract the bad food of the night before - Paddy: a kebab AND Hungry Jack's, me: pizza. Bondi is beautiful and was pretty wavy, nothing too extreme but it was freezing like a proper ocean and we thoroughly enjoyed our last Australian beach outing. After the beach we went up to Ravesi's Hotel for a drink with the crew. It was a fabulous day.
Monday morning we got up for a long walk and some gym action before the 15 hour flight. Parra was super busy and it was apparently a public holiday - WTF? Never moving to Sydney. When we got back we jammed our bags back together and went into Westfield to scout for post offices, JPs and passport photos to replace Paddy's license. We managed to do everything except print the pages for signatures, which was amazingly lucky.
We got the train to Sydney airport and immediately decamped to the Qantas Club to eat food and look for a JP to sign Paddy's replacement license form. Both of these tasks accomplished, there was nothing to do except enjoy the free food and wine...it's a tough life, I tell ya.
On the plane we watched three movies each - both of us watched The Descendants and Midnight in Paris, then I watched The Ides of March while Paddy watched a sport movie, Moneyball. Slept after that and the flight went surprisingly quickly considering it was the longest flight in the world that I'm aware of.
We landed in customs expecting a massive 20 questions about what we were doing, where we were going, why were we coming from Australia to America with no jobs etc etc, but there was...nothing...it was great, we got straight through. Not a single question, just a stamp and 'enjoy your stay'. Woohoo!
Got a taxi to our hotel in Dallas. I was marvelling at the ridiculous highway system, HUGE superhighways crossing over each other 20 metres in the air, and a totally unnecessary amount of fast food places along the way. When we got to the hotel we forced ourselves to go out for a walk and some food before retiring for a looooong slumber.
We went to a place called Hoffbrau burgers and ordered brau chips for an entree. Not knowing what they were, I was pleasantly surprised to get a bowl of salty crisps that were hot with a small serve of white sauce on the side. The sauce makes the chips - without the sauce there is NO point to Brau chips. Paddy ate a yucky burger and I ate a yucky chicken burger. Our first disgusting American food!
Dallas is a mish-mash of hideous 80s style buildings and 90s style glass abominations. I can't understand why anyone would want to live there - there's no sort of cafe culture or busy-ness, it was quiet and pretty boring-looking to be honest. Usually when I travel I experience fits of wanting to live wherever I go, but sadly (or fortunately?) not this time. Dallas was not my scene.
Went back to the hotel and saw the first bit of the Republican primaries in Alabama. Santorum was speaking and he was surprisingly well spoken for a backwards scumbag. Paddy saw Newt Gingrich speak and he was also surprisingly well spoken and actually made sense. We went to sleep about 7pm and didn't wake up until 9am...14 hours in bed...glorious! The only problem was the phone rang at 8.30 with a hotel employee asking how our stay was. I didn't know, I was fast asleep, I felt like saying "are you f**king kidding me??" and had no idea whether it was 8.30am or 8.30pm. Thankfully it was pm and I went straight back to sleep. When we woke up we watched some godawful show on CBN with a geriatric right-wing conservative spouting crap after every 'story'. After one about reducing red meat intake to cut cancer rates, his insight was "I like hotdogs". Ok then.
Tuesday morning we got up and picked up the hire car to go to Austin. OH MY GOD THE TERROR. Paddy drove and I tell you, if I was driving, it would've been an utter disaster. I was practically hyperventilating with the stress of being on the wrong side of the road. We passed millions of fast food places and fought the urge for more disgusting burgers. We stopped at a Wendy's and I ate a salad while Paddy ate....a burger. I was already fretting about what foods would be available to me as a newfound vego.
The traffic on the I-35 was all trucks, trucks, trucks. When I say trucks I really mean suburban trucks, huge utes that are totally unneccessary but apparently everyone has one. I was already perfecting my southern drawl and cackling about how funny it sounds.
We arrived at Peppertree Parkway at 5pm, said hello to our Cuban-American host Sevylla, then left the hire car in favour of the bus. The traffic. My god. Who could possibly live with it?! The bus was really really quick and only costs - get this - ONE BUCK per ride, no matter how far or where you go. Enlightenment, that's what it is. Freedom!!