Our apologies on being recalcitrant regarding our first blog posting. Life has just got in the way the last couple of days along with us experiencing the flight from hell.
Thought we would use this opportunity to update everyone as to our working status and how it fits into our current and future travel plans – neither the twain shall meet as they say. We all know Di took the retirement package back in 2016 when we were both involuntarily liberated and has since stuck to the plan. Fraser meantime, felt he had a little more left in the tank. As good luck would have it, he came out of retirement on the 1st January 2020 and with such fortuitous timing in relation to covid appearing on the scene.
He has been working with yet another Aussie based company called Deswik in their Calgary office. He has enjoyed the people (when not in lockdown) and work, but between us we decided that once covid travel restrictions were lifted, we would be off again.
The 31st March 2022 was his last day of work. Deswik kindly organised a farewell for him with a bent to his retirement. It was an excellent way for him to finish up his working life – for the moment!?
It was a few days of sorting out final travel details and settling in Joannie and Simon with Toque who are looking after her for the month of April in our apartment. They will then take Toque back to Montreal where she will have five months of the full French immersion experience.
So we left Calgary on the 4th April arriving in Australia on the 6th April.
It was meant to take 22 hours of travel but turned into a longer saga than desired. The flight to Sydney from Vancouver was late leaving and never made up the time. As we landed in Sydney, the heavens opened resulting in the luggage taking an hour. Yeap, you guessed it, we missed our connecting flight. The other complication was this very unworkable bus system between the international and domestic terminals.
Oh yes, let us throw in a bus that broke down twice and then finally crawled into the Virgin terminal. Sydney has received its annual rainfall in the first three months of this year and we can testify that it was wet, wet, wet and even more wet. At least the transfer to a later flight was not a hassle.
By now we had been up for 30 hours and needed to stay awake for a further five hours to get us into the right time zone. We have decided that our older bodies are not coping quite so well with this long haul travel.
We are staying in the suburb of St Kilda in Melbourne with Fraser’s mum. Her apartment is right next door to The Alfred Hospital and Albert Park where the Formula 1 Grand Prix is being held on the weekend – ugh, oh. Her apartment is 500m from the race track. The place is just buzzing with people, planes, helicopters and screaming race cars and the race is not for a few more days.
First job was to get a phone card with a data plan, so off to the city we went via the tram. Fantastic tram system which is the largest working tram system left in the world.
The city centre is very quiet but is showing signs of recovery. Melbourne city had the longest shutdown of any city during covid which did put a huge financial onus on the state.
Following day it was a very long walk down through parkland to the Botanic Gardens. We had forgotten how different the vegetation is here. At present they are in autumn though hard to believe with days of 24-26c. It is a lot greener than usual as they have had a reasonably wet summer.
On the 25th April, it is ANZAC Day which is equivalent of the 11th November in the Northern Hemisphere. It is celebrated in both Australia and New Zealand with huge turn outs at the dawn service as well as the march later in the morning.
The ceremony for the dawn service will take place at the Eternal Flame and the Shrine of Remembrance in the Botanic Gardens.
Walking back to the apartment, we were stopped on the sidewalk by staff from The Alfred Hospital as this came in.
It is probably difficult to see but the helipad for the rescue helicopter is a platform over a major road. We thought it a unique solution to a space issue.
For those of you familiar with our sweet tooth, you will not be disappointed to know that we found two of our favourites before we even left Sydney airport. We have started to stockpile lollies for those people who have put in requests, which isn’t a particularly smart move considering it will give us ample time to pilfer from the stash.