Once our flight arrived in Sydney, Jenni and I met up just outside the gate. My global entry status allowed me to skip through the Smart Gate, which was super easy, although Jenni went through the traditional line and it didn’t take her much longer. We collected our bags and headed to customs. I got sent to the inspection line while Jenni breezed right through. They lined me up in a big row of disgruntled travelers and paraded a dog past. Apparently, Australia is very strict on not allowing any sort of food into their country. I guess Quest Bars don’t count as food because they dog skipped right by and they let me right on through.
When I left the customs area, I found Jenni and she’d already met our hosts, Ian and Cheryl. It was probably easy for her since they had a sign.
The freeway was closed so Cheryl drove us through the city to our hotel. While it took a little longer, it was totally fantastic to see so much of the city. Besides, we’d arrived at 6:30 am and check in time at the hotel was 2:00.
At the hotel, we checked most of our bags (I kept my computer bag so I could plug in and charge). Ian gave us SIM cards and installed them into our phones. That worked great for Jenni, but I had mistakenly assumed T Mobile would have service so I’d be able to text and use data and wouldn’t need to jailbreak my phone. Hahahahaha! Wrong. Fortunately, Ian also gave us a portable hotspot, which is how I’m able to communicate with you at all.
Ian headed back for a meeting and Cheryl graciously offered to walk with us to find a local tea shop where we could have some tea and charge my laptop. I lumbered along dragging my heavy bag. We walked past St Andrews, a beautiful church in the heart of the city.
The city hall was also a lovely building.
Our favorite building was the Queen Victoria Building.
Inside is a high-end shopping plaza with lots of little coffee bars and boutiques. We didn’t see a tea shop right away so Cheryl patiently led us through corridor after corridor so we could admire the amazing stained glass windows and antique clocks.
We emerged on a city street near a phone store so I popped in to inquire about jail breaking my phone (can’t do it) and T Mobile service (not in Australia). We gave up and continued our hunt for a tea shop. Finally, on the last level of the Queen Victoria Building, we found High Tea, a cute little tea shop tucked away in the upper corner. Cheryl and I split a tray of finger sandwiches (yummy) and I had a pot of earl gray tea.
Jenni and Cheryl shared a pot of French Vanilla tea and Jenni had some thick toast with fresh strawberry jam.
Cheryl even pointed out an outlet (which I would not have recognized) and got permission for me to use it. After our tea break, we wandered through the shops for a bit. I found a tulle skirt EXACTLY like the one I plan to wear to the Bammy Awards. I would have bought it here, but at $250 I decided I really do need to make one myself! Our room still wasn’t ready so Cheryl found Pie Face. I had the classic pie and Cheryl opted for beef and mushroom. All I can say about the pie is I am a big fan. Seriously, why don’t we have pie shops in the states?
Afterwards we stopped at Woolworths so Jenni could pick up her breakfast and I got a package of TimTams.
Sharlene had asked me to bring some back so I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I can totally see what all the hype is about. Why don’t we have Tim Tams in the states?
Jenni and I got into our room. They reserved a two bedroom apartment for us. Jenni went into one room, spotted the TV mounted on the wall, and declared that room hers. I was in the other bedroom, standing next to one of the two doors to the balcony, staring at the tv mounted on my wall and said, OK.
There’s a lovely view of the city from my bed. Unfortunately Jenni’s windows are painted white since just outside her windows is a brick wall.
We had just enough time to shower and change before Jeannette would arrive to whisk us away to a fabulous dinner and a live Twitter party. Wish you were here!