Sun Jul 22 18:05:43 2007
Saturday was the start of just over a week of holiday, so we leapt joyfully from our slumbers into a bright new day.
Actually, that's a lie. Except the first bit. In the middle of the coldest winter in Melbourne's history, our central heating has failed. Eventually, I hauled myself out of our toasty-warm pit and dashed to the window before my feet froze to the floor. The complete lack of a view suggested that something amiss. There was. Fog. Lots of thick fog.
Ever the optimists, we achieved verticality and blundered off to the airport. The fog got thicker. Turning the circumstances to our advantage, we did some quick sums. Our flight was meant to start boarding at 0910. The Harry Potter book went on sale at 0901 at the other end of the terminal, about eight minutes away. Normally, with JetStar, this would be a little on the tight side. We were betting on a fog delay. Our wishes were a bit over-granted. We stormed up to the gate, book in hand with seconds to spare to hear that the flight wasn't delayed. It was cancelled. Bother.
By the judicious use of violence towards toddlers and old ladies, I barged to the head of the queue and claimed the last two seats on the previous flight, which hadn't yet departed. Yay! The seat allocation was in business class. Double yay! There was no chance of our luggage making the same flight. Poot. There was only enough business class breakfast for the actual paying customers. Double poot. The Qantas crew were (as usual) fantastic, and raided the emergency stores for extra coffee and biscuits. Qantas kicks arse.
The approach to Sydney was fantastic. We came in from the north, and had a tremendous view of the bridge and opera house. Obviously, the bags didn't show up at the carousel, so we left our hotel details with the baggage services people. Apparently, whenever fog is forecast in Melbourne, they get overtime. Nice deal, given the Melbourne climate.
After dropping our carry-on stuff at our one-grade-above-grotty-but-cheap hotel, we did what we usually do in Sydney. We walked. Lots. Darling Harbour. Circular Quay. The zoo next to the aquarium is expensive, but excellent. Cool reptiles. Gradually, the absence of bags became more pressing.
In a vain attempt to instill a bit of culture in my philistine soul, Other People had bought tickets to the opera. All our opera-capable clothes were in the missing bags. The opera started at 1930. By 1700, we still had no trace of the bags. This is one of the large class of problems that can be solved by the appropriate application of cash. We went shopping. While Those With Taste bought a beautiful top, I ponied up thirty bucks for a tie and eight for a shirt. Bargain. Then, off to the Sydney Opera House for a bite to eat and a pre-performance drink.
We were a bit concerned that our sartorial improvisation would leave us a little underdressed for the occasion. We needn't have worried. Sydneysiders rock up for opera in anything from jeans to dinner jackets.
The opera, Mozart's "Die Entfuerung aus dem Serail", was fantastic. Konstanze's role was sung by the understudy for the first time. With little to lose and everything to prove, she was utterly amazing. Osim was excellent, and Blonde was played with wit and style. The atmosphere was wonderful, and the setting is unbeatable. We'll be going back.