Wednesday, December 9, 2009

24 hours of insanity...now in Sydney

Since I am a diehard Sydney fan ever since that first magical time ten years ago, I was willing to stay awake all night to make the early flight from the Gold Coast to here so as not to waste a single moment of our short stay at the Shangri La ( had stayed here earlier and loved its old world comforts. Am done with cutting edge, boutique hotels where bathrooms don't have doors and electronic panels challenge you at each step to press the right buttons just to get the room lights on). But guess what? That was not to be.We got to the airport nice and early, checked in like good ,little children on a school trip, went to grab a coffee in the departure lounge, only to be told by the Virgin Blue staff that the flight was cancelled. Yup. Just like that!! And to think this happens only in India! Hell no. It happens all over the world! Small comfort??And all this after my son had been asked to step aside and go throught the explosives sensor, and I had been asked to step aside and open all my bags for some extra screening!! Come on, guys. It's okay. We don't mind the scrutiny and go along with all this and more in the interests of safety. But I saw an elderly Indian couple going through the same procedure , which is supposed to be 'random'. Excuse me???
Cancelled flights happen. At least here in Australia, we were offered a free later flight by Virgin, to make up for the inconvenience and given a modest monetary compensation for a snack.But we only had three days in Sydney, now one day was almost gone!! No worries, mate. By the time we landed and checked in, it was close to 3 p.m. and what better time to hit Bondi Beach - yes, the same one. 'Baywatch' anyone?? I met the main guy who heads the Lifeguards on the beach patrol, and was told he is now a big star thanks to local tv stations regularly covering these hunks. He shrugged nonchalantly when I asked him about his star status, and we got him to invite us into the control room. Now, this was seriously impressive. It is manned by four or five very watchful men, monitoring the beach closely on closed circuit cameras and rushing to the help of anybody in distress, miles away. From there to the Trattoria close by ( lovely yellow building built around 1920 like most of the other buildings along the waterfront), for a prawn pizza , followed by a quick chakkar of the world famous Iceberg Bar, run by a mercurial Italian owner. This little outing sort of made up for lost time.
Well, Bondi Beach is all that it is cracked up to be. Then some.This time I noticed many more topless sun bathers, less pet dogs and generally a mellower buzz. The air was cool and clean, as we strolled along the strip before jumping into a cab ( very expensive ride!) back to the hotel. The Aussie dollar is very strong, which is not good news for us desis, since it doesn't take you too far. But it works brilliantly for Aussies on vacations in Obud and other similar destinations.
I was missing my bhaat too much, and had had enough of Baramundi, the local fish. When I ordered a lobster rissotto at Doyle's, I got strange looks from my son, which I ignored. Turns out it was a super choice, since Aditya ate half of it. A glass of well chilled Cloudy Bay did the rest. The elegant lines of the Opera House glimmering across the water, made up for the rough morning. Amit Dasgupta, our very erudite and astute Consul General in Sydney, and his daughter Diya, played attentive hosts. But more than that, it was the quality of their minds and converstaion that made the evening perfect. Sleep beckons.... till tomorrow and more Sydney....

15 comments:

Alex Engwete said...

You continue "wowing" me with your Australian travelogue. You are a natural-born story teller: No wonder you're a novelist!... I particularly liked the search episode your son went through at the airport... Which reminds me... Last time I was at Paris Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport coming from the Congo (it was in the winter), all the Congolese travelers were held in this overhanging tube that was very cold and very uncomfortable. We were thus held not on terrorism suspicions but on economic migration presumptions... Anyway, I didn't have my winter coat; so I suggested to the immigration officers if these visa controls couldn't be moved to a warmer place. One of them laughed his head off and told me with all the respect he could muster: "Very sorry, sir. Next time we'll move visa control into the bathroom... just for you!"... A remark that caused much merriment among the other fellow French immigration officers!...

SUFFIX said...

Take me there:) Lol!!

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...
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Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

Writer-cum-Director
- not a bad idea.
What say???

PAA - Most of us have watched except you. hurrayyy !!!

cmpershad said...

`Am done with cutting edge, boutique hotels where bathrooms don't have doors and electronic panels challenge you at each step to press the right buttons just to get the room lights on).'

to enjoy the taste of India you needn't go that far:)

shivansh said...

I guess such type of boutique hotels exist in Pakistan too....one of my frens went there and shooted a video of it....I hope it was in Pakistan only or he may have got footage of some American military camp there...

my said...

Glad youre enjoying my city !!
Have fun mate !

pissed with politics!! said...

http://dareindianpolitics.blogspot.com/ check it out!!

Eidothia said...

The whole set of posts on Australia would have been a lot better with some pictures.

mahatru said...

Wow wonderful post. You play so well with words, looks as if i too was there enjoying all the stuff with you!!
Now-a-days you pick only one topic for your posts :). No astericks dividers and 2 or 3 topics clubbed into one. So when are you returning to your ammachi Mumbai?
Hey m waiting for a Paa review from you!!!

Regards
sports events in Chennai

sports events in Mumbai

sports events in Bangalore

madmax531 said...

Hey great to hear your in my city!! I love Doyles...you should try the beer battered john dory next time...and bondi is much to hyped...u should give the outskirt beaches a go...they are much better...Manly, Cronulla are a couple of suggestions. Also if you are a japanese food fan try out Saki near the argyle. need any more tips lemme knw...and i would love to meet up with you for a coffee or something...if you have the time! cheers and have fun!

Mukesh Bhatia said...

Hey screening & security check, thats something, v hve to face. Its not just that v r asian, its likewise for everyone. Well it seems a very good time in Sydney. Hope u wud meet some of cricket stars too. Keep writing.

Madhu said...

You are missing drama in Andhra Pradesh. come back soon.

Noor said...
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kochuthresiamma p .j said...

there was a time i enjoyed your columns.now i get impatient with them.
do you get impatient with yourself?
have you concerns changed over the years?
just curious. believe me, am not trying to be offensive.