Sunday, February 21, 2010

My Trip to Sydney - or - There and Back Again

Whew - little visit from the dog there. Now that I've got Global Warming pushed to the back of my brain again, something more cheerful. Unless you're Nowhere Bob.

The Woman of My Dreams decided a while back to go and see her Baby Brother in Sydney. As she is the captain of Starship Greybeard she needed only to turn to me, nod firmly and say the magic words "make it so, Number 2". I have never had the courage to ask her why she calls me that. I fear that I might not like the answer. Nevertheless & obedient as always I arranged flights and accommodation for us and her parents. Fortunately our driver picked us from the airport in good time and took us to the corner of an abandoned warehouse in Crown St until it was time for our show.

It was a brilliant idea on my part to employ a local guide, if I say so myself. Parking in that area of Sydney is absolutely appalling. I can't understand why they don't put a decent multistory carpark in that wasted green space near the Opera House. No vision these politicians. Our guide however knew a great place to park, right under those big front steps. The problem would be getting past the guards. Surely (I thought) they would allow a famous & well loved Holy Man to drive right in? Yes!

I did consider becoming the corpulent cleric Ayatollah Bin Lahdi, but that was too close to the Chasers stunt and I don't think that "lovable" was in his job description. But what of His Holiness the Dahlia Llama? Swiftly applying my amazing powers of disguise (for an explanation, see my forthcoming book "Seven Years among the Thespians") I transformed into the popular Tibetan. We drove confidently through the various barriers as I dispensed inane smiles, waves and blessings to all and sundry, and parked just outside the door. To be honest, our guide's appearance didn't help. With wild hair, tatts and sunnies he looked more like an off-duty rock star than a suitable chauffeur. Luckily my deception carried the day and I forgave him.

The performance was quite pleasant, if a little loud, and featured the works of the late J R (Johnny) Cash. I actually found my toes tapping at some points. The audience leaped about, shouting, clapping and whistling so I presume they were enjoying themselves according to the mores of their own culture. Our guide had provided excellent seats (local knowledge!) at the centre of the theatre, and just a couple of rows back - so as not to be sprinkled by the perspiration of the performers apparently. The nice people at the box office refused payment for the tickets, presumably as they recognised us as tourists.

After the entertainment our guide took us back to rest for a while. Just as the pangs of hunger began to bite he and his charming family ushered us to a delightful Italian place where we ate and drank rather too much for many an hour. And so to bed, rising thence to fly back to dear old Brisbane, cheerful despite our dreadful headaches - no doubt due to Sydney's suspect water quality. The moral of this tale is clear. If you must travel to strange parts and far off places, it is essential to find a first-class local guide to steer you past the pitfalls. I tipped him as we left and the poor fellow was absolutely speechless. And Bob? I told him about you and the "nemesis" business and he said something about "wishing you luck". Can't think what he meant?

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