Friday, February 29, 2008

It's Mardi Gras Day


The city is getting ready for the parade and festivities tonight. Not sure what I'm going to do yet (other than buy an alarm clock....that's festive, right?). I was invited to march in the parade with someone on one of the rubgy teams. Might be fun, but I don't think I'd be able to see the rest of the haven't decided yet.

Of course, I'd be marching with a rugby I really need any other options?

Maybe I'll just take another "quick nap" and wake up at Christmas.

Nap much?

Geez, I lay down at 8:00 tonight for a "quick nap" and woke up at...1:00 am. There is no clock in my room, so I had no idea what time it was until I turned on the computer.

Now I can't decide if I'm going to go out and get dinner (which I slept though) or just go back to bed.

Maybe I'll just stay in the room and do this....

I know....I have the mind of a 10 year old.

What's not to love about nature?

I didn't end up going to the zoo. It was $37 just to get $12 ferry decided to just look around the harbor and botanical gardens area of the park....

The harbor bridge....


The famous opera house...


A tree full of screeching bats...


A tree full of SCREECHING BATS????!!!!!


They were covering a group of trees all around me and making all kinds of noise (I thought it was birds at first...). A fern brushed up against my leg when I was taking the pictures and I just about poo-poo plattered all over the ground.

But, I was able to regain my composure and, after a few minutes, was doing okay....until I walked past this....


So much for sleeping for the next week or so...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

First full day in Sydney


Took this shot this morning when I wandered down the street a few blocks to get something to eat. It's down near the water and was my first view of the city (other than flying over it). It keeps threatening to rain, so I didn't hang out too long before heading back to the room.

Travel note: Bring a portable umbrella with you always.

Yes, you may look like a tourist carrying it (locals seem to not care about being soaked in the rain), but you'll be glad you did if Mother Nature decides to do a full release flush of the city. It was raining so hard when I got here yesterday, that the cab driver pulled up to the curb and said "I popped the trunk for you", which translated to "There is no way I'm steppin' out of this cab, yank.". So, I took out my wee umbrella, clutched my backpack and flight bag tightly to my chest like Meryl Steep with her kids at the "You must choose one" station in "Sophie's Choice", stepped out of the cab into 6 inches of rushing water, wrestled my "overweight" suitcase out of the trunk and dragged them all, moist but intact, into the hotel.

The people at the Springfield Lodge were great, got me all checked in and even gave me a plug adapter to use after the one I bought in the states (which Best Buy and the packaging claimed worked here. Not so much...). The room is actually pretty nice, considering this is listed as a budget hotel.


Hardwood floors, a nice window and a pretty comfy queen bed for about $80 AUS a night (about $74/night US). I have my own bathroom with a shower (not as common in budget places) that, although scaled to fit Linda Hunt more comfortably, works just dandy...


Plus a desk area with an internet connection ($7/per day rate for a week stay), side storage closet with enclosed shelving, TV, and a little fridge. It's not the Ritz, but it's clean, bright and bug and odor-free, works for me.

If only my shower had this kind of pressure....or any pressure for that matter...


But...I can adapt.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Kathy arrived!

Sorry I couldn't post this last night, but Kathy and her team got there for a quick "Hello" and then told everyone that they were gonna start boarding the plane...with Kathy taking tickets at the entrance.


I give her a LOT of credit....she couldn't have been nicer or more patient with everyone, taking pictures with anyone who wanted them. EVERYONE wanted them and she treated everyone like they were the only one. The entire Air New Zealand staff was great too...they really seemed to be enjoying themselves (look at the lovely balloon sculpture the real ticket lady was fashioning).


I was madly trying to upload those pics last night, but the line went down quickly and the airport connection was wonky, so I had to close down and get in line too. I was one of the last people on and Kathy still smiled and joked with me too. Again...she must have patience of steel or some really good medications (I might have to get some of those too).


The flight was fun and crazy, but not out of hand. Kathy did a little standup and walked around with her "DList" crew as they filmed many bits which should make for an interesting upcoming episode. This morning, she helped them pass out breakfast to everyone and during the "Hot Man" contest...


She came running down the aisles, wearing only her bra and pants screaming "Pick me!" funny. Of course my camera didn't capture it (oh, the swearing that occurred when I realized that), so this graphic is a pic of someone else's shot....not great, but you get the picture.


We all got into Sydney a couple hours ago, got through customs pretty easily and then said goodbyes and went on our various ways. Here is a shot of Tiffany, Tom and Jessica (her "co-stars"). Tom's expression doesn't really match how he was on the flight...he was having as much fun as everyone else. I tell you, that Dlist crew works hard for their money (so hard for it, honey) and were all really cool/nice people. They seem to all have a good time working together and making it fun for them too, which is refreshing.


I've just checked into my wanted to do an update before I crashed for a much-needed nap. Me so tired.....

A VERY special thanks to Joe at JoeMyGod (one of my favorite blogs) for linking to me last night as I was typing away at the airport. He is the first person to link to my new blog...and you know how you never forget your first's always special. If you don't already read his blog, you should.

Must nap now....

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The gate party....

It's only 9:00 pm and no sign of Kathy Griffin....she'll be here soon. But, the party at the gate is fun. They have a DJ (no..."boom box"...disappointed), free food and free....liquor! Amen! After three Pink Martini's...I thought I'd post before things got ugly. I'll try to post after Kathy gets here....if not, definitely when I get to Sydney.

Here are some highlights:

The plane has a pink feather boa and eye lashes...


Drinks are free.....FREE I tell you!


There are many photo opps with the drag queens/stewardesses/pilots....


The whole gate is full of pink light, music and such...enjoyable.


Pretty in pinks

Oh yes....the drag queens are here. I think they are also the stewardesses...maybe the pilots...


I hear the gate is all decorated up too. A gal said "the boom box is being hooked up now".


You know it's gonna be a fancy party if someone has a boom box...

Oh...they are letting us check in. I see an old guy wearing a cowboy hat...maybe he thought it was the "Mardi Hee Haw" flight.

He's gonna be disappointed....

It always seems like you have enough time...

But, as I found this morning, I was running around right up to the point when SuperShuttle showed up at the house. As we were on our way to the airport, I realized that I had packed a full suitcase and still forgot to actually pack my nice "from this decade" casual t-shirts. DOH! I saw them in the closet, I put one on, then went back to madly shoving everything else in...and forgot all about them. I also realized that I had packed the wrong bathing suit, as in, one I haven't worn in years....the one with no elastic in the waistband..."great". I'll just have to do some shopping there.


Then, I got to the airport and my luggage was 4 pounds over the limit. I tried to tell her that it was impossible, since I had obviously left my nice shirts at must be lighter. She hasn't smiled since the early 60's and just continued her disapproving stare down at my tattered suitcase and said that is would be $80 extra if I didn't lose some stuff. Hmmm...never had that issue before... So, I rummaged through my luggage, made sure she saw my underwear ( smile), pulled out my Lonely Planet guidebooks to Australia and New Zealand (3 pounds total...geez!) and she let me go. I left the guidebooks there on a counter for some other lonely traveler who might need three pounds of reading material.


I got into San Francisco airport about 20 minutes ago and they are decorating the Air New Zealand ticket terminal for the "Pink Flight". Lots of feather boas draped around and not a ticket agent in sight. Since the actual counters are closed until 6:30...I'm sitting off to the side typing on my luggage (well, typing on my laptop...and that's on my luggage). Will try to post more later.

P.S. TMobile owns the "internets" at the LA and SF I had to buy a day pass if I wanted to use the WiFi. Evil bastards...

G'Day Mates!

I'll be heading off to Australia tomorrow night (Tuesday) around 11:30 pm (YAWN!) for a few weeks. I still have to pack everything, which seems to be taking much longer than I thought. Not because I have a lot to pack...but because I'm doing everything else BUT packing.

However, if all goes well, I'll soon be on my 14 hour flight to Sydney, Australia JUST in time to enjoy their annual Mardi Gras event. The festivities will actually start off on my plane, with the hilarious Kathy Griffin hosting the Pink Flight, along with drag queen performers and special drinks (all liquor is included on Air New Zealand flights...why haven't I flown with them before?).

Photobucket's gonna be a plane-load (I said "load") of drunken drag queens, large wig boxes and Kathy Griffin for 14 hours.

It'll either be a lot of fun or 14 hours of hellish screeching and drunken chaos (something I promised my parole officer I wouldn't do AGAIN on a plane...if I could help it).

Must attempt to pack now...

I will try to post from the flight gate tomorrow night, if I can find a wifi area. I'm very curious to see how this whole thing is gonna go.