Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Sydney Part 3. The Good and the Sad

The fourth day of our Sydney jaunt was spent generally getting ready for the nuptials on Saturday, chilling out and taking advantage of chain stores… When Fiela’s nephew had come over for dinner, I told him that one of the things I was really enjoying about being in Sydney and in a house was the opportunity to put earrings on, some makeup and in general get a little dressed up. To which he cocked an eyebrow and said in thinly veiled disbelief: “Really? These are your good clothes??” After I slapped him, I realised that yes, it was time for some new duds.  I’d chosen clothes for this trip which, really, were already close to their useby date, but we were going camping: you don’t take your good stuff!? Now, three months in, I’ve realised you do need something better than a holey t-shirt and your denim skirt (‘good’ because it’s cleaner than the other one) to feel as though you’ve made an effort to dress up for dinner. So I managed to find a few new t-shirts, asked my Mum to bring up a dress for me to wear to the wedding (my parents were to arrive for the weekend on Friday, luckily I’d left a dress with them when we left on the trip) and bought a pair of $15 heels from Kmart. Dress up done.

Ooooweee I see a hangover on the horizon involving a Tannie and two small children!

Fiela and I also took the opportunity to have Tannie Karen look after the kids while we headed up Glebe Pt Road for some 'alone time': shopping at St Vinnies, the swankiest op-shop (or ACVV) I’ve seen in a long time. Everything was colour coded and even the attendants had a trendy look about them. What a cool shop- getting new shoes for Fiela for a one-off affair when he’s usually in thongs is pretty pointless, especially with space to store them at such a premium. But we managed to get an excellent pair of Florshem lace ups for him for $25, a pair of leather boots for Marguerite at $6 and a pair of cute converse type shoes for Caesar, $3. Suddenly the Uys Huis is looking a whole lot better, even if we’re in Sydney’s society cast offs!

Marguerite rocking out her boots and dress (thanks Tannie Karen) to a busker in Circular Quay.

As a happy coincidence, an old family friend was also getting married in Sydney this weekend, so my brother, his fiancĂ© and my Mum and Dad all arrived on the Friday night at their respective accommodations. Again, the dining room got a work out as I cooked (sticky pork ribs ala Donna Hay) and loved seeing my little brother Pete and Meagan after three months of looking at nothing but strangers save for a few new friends. The attraction of the grandkids had ensured Mum and Dad flew down to Sydney, and Marguerite and Caesar were in Nirvana, having Nana AND Poppy ANNND Tannie Karen ANNNND this new bloke (the ‘smoker’ says Marguerite) Stefan who all seemed interested in what they had to say and were happy to look at trucks or fairy stickers. And whilst I knew we would be in for the biggest Nana/Poppy/Tannie Hangover of all time when we got back to our campertrailing reality, Fiela and I lapped it up. We even missed out on wiping the shitty bums of our children once or twice. How blissful!!

The flowers.

Anyway, WeddingDay arrived and like any good soap opera there were close calls and tense moments. The bulk of these occurred around Sydney’s transport system and our negotiation of it. All I’ll say is for shit’s sake I’d rather poke needles in my eyes than HAVE to be somewhere and try to rely on Sydney transport to get me there. Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes, people in love….

The Groom and Mother of.

The vibe.

The location.
Vaucluse House.

Some hotties I met at the wedding.
People in love look really beautiful, especially if they get married on a stunning day in a gorgeous location. Christian and Samantha looked radiant and ecstatically happy and we wish them all the best for the future! They had their ceremony at Vaucluse House amongst gorgeous landscaped gardens and their reception at Woolfies Bar and Grill in The Rocks. We had to drop the kids off at the house in Glebe after the ceremony and head back (via ferry) to The Rocks. Luckily for us the Vivid Light Festival was on, and as a result we had the most amazing view of the city as lights of all description and colour decorated the buildings and bridge. Their reception overlooked the Opera House, so we had an amazing light show, fantastic food, great people and generally an awesome time! Thanks Mr and Mrs Winkler!!!

Best thing about the wedding according to Marguerite??
The girl in the big white dress and the pink and purple helium filled balloons.
The next day was slow for everyone. Even the kids (thank God) had a sleep in. After a massive breakfast with the works and further catchups with Nana, Poppy, Pete and Meagan, we started the worst part of the week- saying our goodbyes. Suddenly the thought of not being able to see my little brother for seven months sunk in, and I don’t really go for more than two months at a time without seeing Mum and Dad: September was four months away and was the best case scenario for our next rendezvous. Of course the kids have a fairly limited concept of time so their hugs and goodbye kisses were pretty standard. For Fiela and I however, the months away had been great but they’d also been pretty long and at times quite lonely- this little Sydney visit had been fortifying and saddening all at once. Of course having a hangover doesn’t help but whatever the case, I was sad to see them all go. And we still had the Afrikaaners to say goodbye to and the timeframe for catch ups with them is ridiculously longer. 

So, eyes wiped, naps had, Miss M and I caught the bus down to Broadway (a big shopping centre at the top of Glebe Pt Road) and bought a few things while Fiela and Caesar slept on. We met up with them at the Fish Markets for sundowners and the most amazing marinara mix I’ve ever seen- vongole, blue swimmer crab and salmon plus much more would be making a heart-healing laksa tonight!

Bondi Beach.

Even the dogs are more relaxed by the beach.
Monday appeared out of nowhere and suddenly it was action stations in the whole What’s Left To Do In Sydney? stakes. What else but a ride out to Bondi? I have very fond memories of visiting my beautiful girlfriends in Sydney when they lived in a terrace house the size of our accommodation’s bathroom, and having wonderful picnics on the hill overlooking Bondi Beach, which is exactly what we did today. Breadstick, ‘fancy’ cheese, prosciutto and a few other things (thanks Karen!) were munched while the kids played with every conceivable type of dog and we watched the sets roll in.

Our vantage point and the massive sets at Bondi, 8 foot ++
And then it was Tuesday morning and teary good byes were the order of the day- and that was just over the wonderful house we were leaving- ha ha!! I love my skoonsussies and in fact ALL my Safa connections; saying goodbye to them is harder because apart from a vague ‘somewhere in 2016 maybe’, we really don’t know when we’ll see them again.

Ferry and Opera House. Had enough icons yet?

We live big when these guys are around, and the intense time together can be very full on. But like the briefest of mango or strawberry seasons, you gorge yourself, satisfied, sad and sick all at the same time. Then two days later you’d do it all over again- liver and blood sugar count to hell!! But depressingly with these people you can’t because while it’s easy to import mangoes and strawberries, South Africans seem to carry a lot more red tape. God knows the kinds of crop decimating diseases they might carry- imagine the enormous calamity which would befall Australia should more people from other countries be allowed to live on our shores!!!???

So ended our joyous week in Sydney- on a wonderful high and a desperate low all at the same time. The even keel of the SS Uys Huis loomed and to be honest, I’m not even sure I was ready to get back on board.

Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney city, taken from a Sydney ferry on the Sydney Harbour: take that icon count! BOOOOOM!

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