Friday, November 21, 2008

One last time from Oz

Goodbye Sydney, goodbye Australia!

SYDNEY -- This is my last night in Australia and my mind's in turmoil. I've half a mind to "miss" my flight tomorrow, use my rail pass (still good for five months) and head off to Perth or Alice Springs.

On the other hand, I miss Claire and Ian terribly. Maybe if I sent them plane tickets ...

Oh well, I guess I've got get back to work. Damn me for not retiring when I got to 35!

Save for yesterday's side trip to Canberra, I've been exploring Sydney the last couple days in an effort to expand my experiances beyond just the Opera House and Harbour Bridge (although I've spent time there each of the past few days as well). For example, Wednesday night I attended a show of "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical."

My one word review: "Faaa-bul-oussss!"

A scene from "Priscilla, the Musical." Apologies for the quality (or lack there of).

Manly-man I may be, I appreciate a little musical theater now and then and "Priscilla" did not disappoint. This wasn't some cheap, thrown-together production designed to remind tourists of one of the few Aussie films they remember. This was instead a well-acted, well-sung and well-danced polished, professional extravaganza, which expanded and updated the movie with new material (including good-natured Kylie Minogue and Bindi Irwin jokes)

Todd McKenney stole the show as Tick, finding a fine line between showing the character’s general acceptance of who he his now combined with worries about his past and what his son would think of him. Tony Sheldon also did well as Bernadette, but no one could take the role from Terence Stamp — whose fame from telling Superman to “Kneel before Zod” made his role in the “Priscilla” movie feel even more poignant.

But the highlight of the show for me was Bill Hunter, reprising his role from the film version. Hunter for a while seemed like he was in every Australian movie. Besides his Priscilla role, he was the father in "Muriel's Wedding," Barry Fife in "Strictly Ballroom" and the voice of the dentist in "Finding Nemo." He also has a role in Baz Luhrman’s upcoming “Australia.”

After my Canberra trip Thursday, I had a late (very late thanks to the air delay) at a restaurant at Circular Quay (which the locals pronounce “Circular Key”) with a nice view of the harbor and Harbour Bridge.

Friday, continuing with my manly theme I took a ferry to Manly Beach, a famous surfers’ beach on the north Pacific shore. While the water itself was closed due to “dangerous surf conditions” (it was indeed rolling), that didn’t stop me and numerous others from wading shin deep in the warm surf. A brief sunbathe (with lots of sunscreen) and a kangaroo burger later, I was back on the ferry to Sydney. Manly Beach.

I recommend a ferry ride to any Sydney visitors, with the Manly ferry being just $6.40 AUD (other ferries are cheaper) it’s the best way to get amazing views.

In the evening time, I took the bus to Sydney’s Kings Cross area, which probably has more restaurants per square meter along Oxford Street than anywhere on the planet. I eventually settled at an Italian place off Darlinghurst named “Fellini’s on Victoria.” My fettuccine gamberetti with a side of garlic bread was great!

Well, it’s now Saturday morning and my time in Sydney is sadly running down. I have some light packing left, have to score the Internet to finish some economics homework and actually have to drag my sorry butt to the airport. This has been a wonderful trip, both what I anticipated and needed, but it’s time to go.

Next, a 14-hour flight to Los Angeles, followed by an hour’s flight to San Luis Obispo, a short layover and then a short flight to San Francisco, then BART home.

Thanks to Australia for a great time and thanks to my readers for following, John.
Ah, Australia. I'll miss you.


Rob said...

What?! We're leaving already? But we just got here! What a great trip, John, thanks for sharing everything.

Anonymous said...

You've definitely made Australia more intriguing for me. I hope I get to go there someday.