What’s the number one thing you should do when entering a new time zone? Yep, change your watch. And what did I forget to do on Friday night? That’s right, change my watch. So my alarm happily went off at 7 am NZ time – which is 5 am Sydney time 🙁 And of course, once it had woken me up, my body clock, not as easy to change as a watch, said “it’s time to get up!”, and I was wide awake. It was getting light outside, so I decided to sneak out onto the balcony (well, I tried, but you just can’t sneak out of a top bunk, so I’m afraid I woke Lytteltonwitch up anyway – sorry!) to see if the view was as good as I remembered it.
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(The neon sign in the second photo is Kings Cross).
And by daylight, just to point out that you can see the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge:
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Now that we were both wide awake, we of course wanted to get out and start exploring the city (and releasing books!), so we thought we’d leave Littlemave and her family to sleep, and sneak out to find breakfast at a cafe somewhere.
First stop was the park, to release a few books: According to Jennings on a monument (where I had my first encounter with a (tiny) Australian spider – Lytteltonwitch released a book there too, and when we walked past later, mine was gone, but hers was still there, so we decided the spider must have eaten mine), and Anne of Green Gables on a statue of Captain Cook (probably should have left a NZ book there, I suppose!).
It’s always the little things that tell you you’re in another country. For me, it was seeing a mynah bird in the park
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and then later, while sitting in a cafe eating breakfast, several cockatoos swooping noisily overhead and landing on a rooftop opposite
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After breakfast, we decided to try and find an internet cafe (to make release notes on the books we’d released so far), and walked back the way we’d come in the taxi the night before. Of course, we couldn’t find one anywhere (Littlemave later told us if we’d only walked in the other direction, we would have found several within a couple of hundred metres!), but we released a few more books on our wanders: Only an Orphan on the steps of the Catholic Cathedral (seemed like an appropriate themed release – and so far is the only wild release in Sydney that I’ve had caught!), The Fire Raiser on a statue of Queen Victoria, and Women, Politics and Power in another part of the park as we walked back to Littlemave’s apartment (it occured to me later that I should have left that book on Victoria’s statue!).
When we got back to the apartment building, we realised that we couldn’t get in – the night before, Littlemave had used a swipe card to get into the building, and to use the lift. There was an entry phone, but had either of us thought to take a note of the apartment number? No, of course not – all we knew was that it was on the 13th floor – we didn’t even remember Littlemave’s surname! We managed to get into the foyer, by dashing in when someone opened the door to come out, but the lift refused to go anywhere without a swipe card. Another resident came in a few minutes later, and we asked her if she’d let us up to the 13th floor, but she said each person’s card would only let them take the lift to their own floor. So it looked like we were stuck. We were just about to resort to pressing every 13th floor button and hoping we didn’t annoy too many of Littlemave’s neighbours before we found the right one, when the concierge arrived. “This is going to sound really stupid,” I said, “but we’re staying with some people on the 13th floor, and we don’t know their apartment number, or their surname. Their names are ***** and *****, and they’ve got three little kids…” Luckily, he didn’t throw us out on the street, recognised the Littlemaves from my description, and gave us the apartment number so we could use the entry phone.
I wrote the number down, just in case.