We didn't sleep at all on New Years' Eve so the 6.30am flight was a bit tired-ness inducing. But the next day was OK. The flight even made it there early. Gorgeous views of the entire of Sydney from the plane. It's kinda weird being in another country, because it feels only subtly different. But it smells slightly different, and it's lovely and warm. Cloudy and slightly breezy. I hope it's hot tomorrow.
But setting up cellphones has been a nightmare. After ringing Vodafone NZ internationally (luckily a nice Vodafone promotional person at the airport was giving out free international calls to publicise a new phone - we took advantage of the offer!) they told us the roaming network was totally overloaded internationally (i.e. thanks text-happy people in Europe - Karen M, I know it was you). It only came online at 6am NZ time, so at 4am this morning Brendan and I were woken to the sound of many texts loudly announcing their arrival on our phones, each of which, we discovered later, cost us 50c. So please people, don't text us cos it costs!!! It also costs us 75c to text, so I think I'll keep my phone off. Also, figuring out the international codes to text and call was a slow process, and the network seems to be patchy in Sydney.
Then we were woken around 6am to the sound of kookabarras. They sound like hysterical monkeys, really odd. One was posing for us in a tree so I took pics. I also saw galaas eating something on the grass by the road as we drove past. Brendan's cousin has promised to take us snake-hunting, no way!
Brendan bought an Aussie SIM for $2, which means NZ texts might be only 25c for us, so we will probably all text from his phone.
Today we went to the biggest mall either of us have ever been to, in Hornby. It had 4 floors of shopping, and when we thought we had been around the entire thing, we walked along a bit and discovered we'd only been in one half! In terms of shopping, this was the best time cos the entire mall was on sale, most shops were 50% off or more. There was an entire clothing shop (and yes OK I think it was the ValleyGirl twin - it was called LovelyGirl/Hipster) which sold only clothes under $10.
(Ida and Tara, your predictions are probably coming true. Stop laughing. You'll choke. There is still plenty of room in our suitcase.)
Brendan and I bought a set of matching watches for $50, instead of $399. We're wearing them now and waiting to see if Julie (Brendan's mum) notices. In a few hours, she hasn't. I also bought a cute pink one for $30 instead of $200 (and resisted the urge to buy the one with pink diamantes) as it was the only one I saw which had each individual second timed. I'm a bit geeky - I need it for the gym. Brendan bought some ipod speakers, and got bored when Ellie and I went shopping in yet another clothes shop. (Women's clothing shops - about 30. Mixed - 10. Men's clothing shops - 3.) He would go away for however long he estimated we would take, then come back each time to find we were far from finished. Ellie was a bit sad though cos she lost the present she bought for her boyfriend.
Ellie was saying "This mall has everything except the $2 shop", just as we walked past something similar. There are 2 supermarkets and 4 department stores, and the random organic/asian/vege food shops. (They call them stores. Think I'm picking up on it.)
And they had a pet store. They had birds just sitting on a perch out of their cages- they didn't fly off. I want a mini lop rabbit, I held their one and it licked me...
Apparently, this isn't the largest mall in the area. That honour belongs to the one in Parrammata ([everyone else's] sp?), with 9 levels. I understand how you can actually spend an entire day in the mall - its not really possible in New Zealand.
Tomorrow we're apparently going on the sight-seeing tour. Funeral arrangements are still being made. It's a small cloud hanging over everything.