February 14 - 17, 1999

Our Travel Experience - Photo Album - Ratings - Tourist Info

Our Travel Experience
Seth's business trip to Sydney & Melbourne was originally scheduled in January and we were planning on spending a week in Fiji following his work. However a few days before the Sunday he was scheduled to leave on, his ear started hurting a bit and even though the doctor said 'don't worry about it', Seth was worried. We were even more worried on the Friday before his trip when he woke up & could not move 1/2 of his face. We got a doctor's appointment ASAP and learned that he had a totally curable problem called Bell's Palsy. However, it would take time (3 - 6 months most likely) for his nerves in his face to grow back. So, the January trip was canceled.

After three weeks, when Seth went back to the doctor, his face was ~80% recovered - a VERY fast recovery. We don't know if we can attribute his recovery to acupuncture and a special Chinese medicine of snake, turtle & scorpion blood, but it doesn't seem to have hurt!! In planning the trip again, we decided to forgo the 6 hour flight to Fiji and instead take a one hour flight to Tasmania.

But before rafting, Seth had business to do and Tara was very excited about being in Sydney for vacation again.

We had both been to Sydney before on our pre-honeymoon. Our impressions of it being a city that looked allot like a small town in Indian were re-confirmed on the drive from the airport to the hotel. However, overall we did leave with a better impression of the city this time. We really liked the SHOPPING. Sizes to fit us!! We stumbled upon the City observatory & went up for a nice view around the city from the AMP Tower Centrepoint. And, on the way out, Seth found a store he liked. He bought pants, shirts, coats and shoes!! We also stocked up on the few things we still needed for our rafting trip the next week.

We tried to go back to the same Italian restaurant in the Rocks, but it was closing, so we instead ate at a German restaurant and then stumbled across the Duty Free Store at about 10:30pm. We walked in and it was JUST like home in JAPAN. Everyone was Japanese. We started playing the "which one of these things is different game" and making bets on how many more Japanese we'd see before seeing a non-Japanese. Our guesses were about 8 more people before we saw another person who was not Japanese. Well, we LOST. Out of the maybe 30 people in the store, customers and sales people, we were the only non-Japanese!! It was just like home. We were the only different ones.

We could have enjoyed a few more days together, but Seth did have to go to work & Tara had to take the camera and explore:

Photo Album
I headed out on a walk to the Opera House and ended up at Bondi Beach!! The Opera House and Botanical Gardens behind were a nice walk, giving pretty views of the city and bridge. But, I'd been in the city before & was very eager to see a beach. I saw a bus labeled "Bondi", so I got on. This is me getting ready to go down to the beach and read my book. The most interesting sights at the beach were the lizards, the large number of people surfing and the even larger number of topless women. When Seth heard, he wished he could have come with!!
From the moment I picked up the tourist information in the airport, I wanted to go on the "Bridge Climb - The Experience of your Life!". But, I kept looking up at the bridge & looking up at the bridge & looking up at the bridge & looking up and thinking that I'd never make it. It just looked so high! The brochure also said you needed to be physically fit and I was worried that I'd get too tired. 

But, in the end, as you can tell from the picture, Seth talked me into it & I signed up for a morning climb on our last day in Sydney. I am really, really glad I did. 

The 360 degree view was tremendous and the climb was actually very easy. I wasn't scared at all. I especially remember how blue both the sky above and the water below were.

From an organizational perspective, I think this is the best tourist event I've been on. From the moment I made my reservation through a dedicated phone line to when I purchased my digital pictures, everything was SO organized. 

We were told on the phone that we had to wear gym shoes and could bring sunglasses, but that we'd have to wear a special bridge suit and could bring nothing else with us up onto the bridge.. One lady didn't have good shoes on, so they asked her for her size and produced a pair for her. Anyone who had brought sunglasses had then connected onto their suit with a cord. They used a metal detector on us to make sure we'd not forgotten to removed coins, etc. from our pockets and then put us on a mock-bridge structure to practice walking along while holding the device that connected us to a wire cord the whole time. The organization was just amazing!!

Quickly, in the afternoon before leaving, I took a cruise to Manly. I through I'd be going under the bridge. I wanted to look up and see how high the bridge looked from down below. However, I didn't know where Manly, so I was very surprised when we turned towards the Opera House instead of the bridge. Even so, it was a nice cruise with lots of wind. I found out half way through that I should have put sun screen on my hands! They were red where they'd been sticking out of my climb suit. So, I kept them out of the sun while I read at Manly beach and all the way back on the boat. 

Finally, I bought a piece of watermelon and enjoyed it while gazing out over Sydney harbor.

Category Rating Comments
Overall Experience 8 Everyone spoke English, we could shop, Tara had a fun few days on holiday and Seth's work went well.
Ease of Journey 9 We were so lucky! Seth didn't actually need the little card that we'd forgotten at home since he had an electronic visa work and Tara was upgraded to Quantas business class even though she had purchased a cheap economy group ticket.
Accommodation 7 Our Renaissance Hotel room had a view of the harbor, was conveniently close to work and overall just fine.
Activities 8 The bridge climb made the trip this time. Shopping for clothes that fit us was a good activity also. Plus, Tara bought a big backpack to test our in preparation for our round-the-world dream.
Coolness 7 We'd been here before, so not as cool as last time to think "I'm in Sydney". Especially as Seth expects to make more business trips.
Tourist Info

When: In Australia from Feb 15 to Feb 27, 1999
Tourist Offices: Ticket Hotline = 62+2 9252 0077, email =
Web Sites: BridgeClimb, The Climb of Your Life
Flights: Tokyo - Sydney - Melbourne - Hobart - Melbourne - Tokyo
Tokyo to Sydney on QF 022 on Feb 14. Leaving Tokyo at 8:30pm and arriving Sydney at 7:55am next day
Sydney to Melbourne on Qantas 463 from 7:30pm - 8:50pm.
separate tickets purchased to go to Tasmania
Melbourne to Tokyo on Qantas 021 on Feb 27. Leaving Melbourne at 7:45pm and arriving Tokyo at 6:05am the next day.
Tara's ticket purchased from No1 Travel in Shibuya, Japan. Seth's business class ticket purchased by the company. Tara :-) was unexpectedly upgraded to business class on the way from Tokyo to Sydney.
Travel Time: LONG!
Hotel: phone number was +61-2-9259-7000, was in the Marriot family & called Renaissance Hotel