Well, we're here. Some of us anyway. Mark and Juli and Liz made the 14 hour flight from LAX to Sydney with ease, even getting enough sleep on the way so that we were not completely bagged when we arrived. Snippets of 2 hours of sleep here and there all add up to a good night's worth in the end it seems. And an uneventful flight... which is pretty much what everyone wants.
After passing through passport control and customs all we needed to do was rent our 4WD and find Gene coming in on a United flight from San Francisco 10 minutes before us and we could spend the day in Sydney. So we found which gate he coming out through and waited... and waited... and waited. After an hour, worried, Mark bought a new GSM card for his phone so he could call back to the States, only to just get people's voice mail and no word about Gene. After 2 hours we went to the United desk to inquire, only to be told that they could not tell us whether someone got on a flight or not but that we could issue a missing persons' report after 24 hours. How helpful!
Finally, we pulled the rip-cord and drove off to the hotel in Darling Harbour to check in.
It turns out that Gene missed the flight in San Francisco due to "weather" and will not make it in till tomorrow.
Our plan had always been to spend a day in sydney to get over jet-lag, and though none of us seems to be too bad off, we took the time to wander around the city. It's an oddly incongruous place. A strange mixture of 19th Century arcitechture juxtapposed with gleaming glass facades from late 20th century minimalism, all wrapped in a sterile, sanitized cityscape with a monorail running through its heart. Monorails just seem so 70s Sci-Fi to Mark and it only runs around a region that is perfectly easy to walk around. It almost seems like a metropolis planned by committee, like walking into someone's home to see a piece of modern art where you would have a Modigliani.
Still, everyone's friendly and warm. After showers we wandered down to Paddy's Market and a pub for lunch. A lunch of Kangaroo Steak and dark ale, followed by a stroll up to the tourist-trappy region called "The Rocks" for the obligatory photo ops across the bay from the Opera House.
Dinner was barbequed octopus and oysters on the half shell looking out over the harbour and the aftermath what appeared to be a huge Greek Festival.
Tomorrow we'll pick Gene up at the airport and whisk him off to the field in hopes of our first collections.