[Only just written. Still needs to be proof-read.]
My dive kit hadn't arrived on the carousel when I got there, so I went off to buy my train ticket into town. The machines didn't take credit cards, so I queued up to get my ticket, and then went back to the airport to collect my dive kit. It was a bit difficult carrying my dive kit through the ticket gates, but I managed it. While waiting for the train, I realised that I had no idea what station to get off at to get to my hotel (Travelodge Wynyard). I therefore called the hotel, and was told that I should get off at Wynyard station. Well I never!! I was also very impressed to receive a text message from Orange, thanking me for using GPRS abroad, and reminding me that charges will be higher than in the UK.
I didn't like the trains, because there was no way of opening the doors in an emergency, but at least there was a nice pair of tits at the far end of the carriage. After a bit of confusion, I arrived at the hotel. After checking into my room, I put some washing on at the hotel laundry, and went to buy some toothpaste. There was some nice totty in the toothpaste aisle, but I decided not to chat her up, because I was going to meet Uncle Tom, and Gimmer a bit later. I hung my washing up to dry in my room, before going out to meet Tom.
Tom said that he was outside the aquarium, next to two catamarans - he was obviously confusing me with somebody who knew something about boats. We went on a mini pub crawl around the harbour, before meeting Gimmer, and Dennis. Tom had already eaten, so went back to his hotel, while Gimmer, Dennis, and I went in search of food. This proved difficult at 10PM, but we found a ribs place eventually. It had proved to be a strange evening, meeting Tom and Gimmer for beers in Sydney. I got back to the hotel, turned on Sky News, and sat down on the edge of the bed. I then laid back, and shut my eyes for a few seconds. Next thing I knew, it was about an hour later, and I was slumped on the end of the bed. I turned off the lights, and TV, and went to bed properly.
Tom had said he would pop around to my hotel sometime before lunchtime. I woke up at about 09:30, but didn't find out that breakfast finished at 10AM until it was too late. While waiting for Tom, I continued updating my trip report (I still hadn't got up-to-date), and watched Sky News. There was an article about Sadam Housein's execution being filmed on a mobile phone, and one about Shark Diving leading to a significant increase in attacks on humans. It suggested, as I have said for a long time, that shark diving could lead sharks to associate humans with food. I'm surprised that it's happened so quickly, but something has caused the increase in shark attacks.
Tom popped round, and we walked towards Sydney Harbour Bridge. Tom wanted to find a company that would let us crew a yacht. He'd found one, but it only operated on Fridays and Saturdays, and I was flying to Auckland on Friday. During our walk around, we found somewhere suitable to have brunch. It was a bit pricey ($50 between us), but the food and service were good. We looked around the harbour some more, but didn't find anything suitable. We therefore went to the Harbour Bridge.
Neither of us fancied the Bridge Walk, so did the Pylon Tower instead. I'd done it last time I was in Sydney, but it's always nice doing these things with somebody, so I was happy to do it again. The views were far better than last time, because Sydney wasn't surrounded by bush fires. I managed to get a few TottyCam shots, but failed to get one with the Harbour Bridge in the background! When we got down from the Pylon Tower, I suggested walking across the bridge. "Can you do that?", Tom asked. He obviously hadn't been paying attention to all the information that there was in the Pylon Exhibition! The pictures of the men building the bridge with no safety ropes were very impressive. Also, the white-hot rivets being thrown to a catcher, and then given to someone to hammer in sounded very impressive.
Anyway, we walked across the harbour bridge, which gave us the opportunity to take some shots of the Opera House, and some more TottyCam shots. We then walked down towards the Opera House (having tea and ice cream on the way). Tom suggested going on a boat tour. I'd already been on one when I was in Sydney before, but there were some newer, faster, boats now, so I was up for giving it a go. I got some good video shots of the boat turning at speed, which I will have to put on something like YouTube at some point.
We still hadn't got around to sorting out any diving, so stopped at an information kiosk. The woman said that diving was fully booked for tomorrow. We therefore went for a cuppa, and called a place mentioned in the Lonely Planet guide. It had spaces for shore dives, so we booked ourselves two dives. Unlike the other dive centre, we wouldn't be picked up at our hotels, so had to check out ferry times to Manley. We had to catch one that left at 08:05, so Tom would have to call at my hotel at about 7AM, so that he could have breakfast at my hotel (I had to make sure that he had some egg before diving).
After finishing our tea, we walked over to the Opera House, but found that the tours had finished for the day. We therefore had our first pint of the day sitting at a bar, looking at the Opera House, and the Harbour Bridge. Despite both being quiet hungry, we stayed for a second. After the two beers, we went in search of somewhere to eat. There was a Chinese restaurant near the bar, but we decided that we'd be paying for the location, and not the food. We walked a bit further into town, and saw a Thai restaurant in the distance. We got closer, and I realised that I'd get Frequent Flyer miles if we ate there. We got even closer, and I realised that it was Thai Airlines!
We walked towards Chinatown, and I was amused to see that there was a shop called the General Pants Company. There were also lots of missing apostrophes, but I was to hungry, and tired, to take any pictures. We eventually found a restaurant (in Dickson Street), and went inside. The food and service were pretty good. After eating, we both walked back to our hotels. Somehow, I walked past lots of restaurants that we had missed on our search for food! I wasn't too hungry on the way back, so took pictures of all the missing apostrophes on the way back to my hotel.
Back at the hotel, I turned on Sky News, and was surprised to hear about a campaign by Richard Branson and Ian Botham to leave the Ashes in Australia. Unsurprisingly, 87% of Aussies think that it should stay. I have to admit that, although I don't like the Aussie Sky News, it is the only broadcaster that I have heard to correctly say "Manchester United is", and "England is", instead of "Manchester United are", and "England are". Even the BBC gets this wrong.
I went down to breakfast at 7AM, and Tom joined me soon afterwards. When Tom arrived, the totty waitress asked what room he was staying in. I explained that he was staying in a different hotel, and that the breakfast should be booked to my room. She didn't understand, so I tried explaining two more times, but she still didn't understand. Eventually the bloke in charge turned up, and understood what we needed. I left Tom finishing breakfast, while I went upstairs for a dump, and to pick up my dive kit.
It didn't take too long to walk to the pier (thanks to Tom for helping me carry my dive kit). We bought two all-day tickets - they were a bit more expensive than a return, but we wanted to have a quick ride on the monorail afterwards.
It was a nice boat ride over, but the weather (and the water) looked a bit cold. When we got to Manley, there was an announcement saying that we shouldn't leave the boat until the crew HAS secured the gangway - as Dimdin would say. "I approve".
The guys in the dive shop seemed very laid back, there didn't seem to be any hurry. While we were waiting for other people to be sorted out (one bloke, and one bird), I went to have a look at the dive kit. I was tempted by a techie reel, and also saw quite a nice halsion wing. They sorted out Tom's kit OK, and also understood the difference between a high-pressure and low-pressure DIN fittings. Getting low-pressure DIN fittings was a bit of a problem, I'll have to make sure that I travel with my high-pressure DIN fittings next time (and buy an A-clamp to DIN converter).
Just as we were loading up the van, two sexy diving girls started loading up their car, and a sexy Asian girl joined us in the van. We drove to the beech, and we met by a balding British bloke. Looking beyond him, we noticed that there was a lot of diving totty in bikini tops, and a lot of totty sunbathing on the beach. There were also a lot of blokes, and lots of pokiness, but we could ignore them.
Our dive guide told us that he had dived from this beech about 400 times. He then asked whether any of us were instructors. I said "no", and Tom said nothing. We then kitted up, and walked down to the slip-way. We got into the water, and I even managed to put my fins on myself. As we were surface swimming to the buoy, I told the dive guide that although I wasn't an instructor, I was an experienced diver. He said that he thought that I was experienced, by the way that my kit was configured - Dimdin will be so jealous.
The other 4 divers were all useless. The bald bloke, and the Asian totty both spent most of the dive crawling around the bottom. Half-way through the dive, Tom noticed that the Asian girl's cylinder was slipping out of the cummerbund, so went to tighten it. I then realised what was happening, so went to see her face to face, to make sure that she didn't panic. It all went OK, and we continued our dive, and saw lots of rays and LegClampOn guvnas. We surfaced fairly close to the beech, and the bloke gave Tom and me the option of swimming back underwater. Wanting to perve at the totty on the beech, I said we'd swim on the surface. Tom soon realised why I'd chosen this option, and was up for it.
The bloke at the dive shop had told us that the shop at the beach was expensive, so we'd already bought water and sarnies. We got through them quickly, and I then fancied a cuppa. Tom wanted more water, and was embarrassed to admit to me that he'd thrown away the empty bottle, and I'd have to spend money on more water. Obviously I whinged lots, but forgave him when he told me that he'd used the recycling bin (which I hadn't seen).
We hadn't seen any Sea Dragons on the first dive, because SlippyCylinderGirl had taken ages to descend, so we didn't get far enough. She only did the first dive, so we got further (BaldCrawleyBoy descended OK), and saw some Sea Dragons (very difficult to distinguish from kelp), and I saw a shark in the distance (better not tell Becky).
Apparently the dive guide kept on telling me to keep up, but gave up in the end, and just left me to dawdle along behind. He just relied on Tom to check that I was OK. Tom also saw BaldCrawleyBoy going upwards, so pulled him back down using his shoulder dump. This time, I decided to swim back the final bit underneath the water, because there was a lot of snorkeling totty to perve at. We finished the last bit on the surface, because there were some well-stacked women lying on their backs, floating in the water.
Chatting to the two Brits who were in the dive shop when we arrived, she asked me how many dives I'd done, so I told her 510. She seemed very confused! As we were driving out of the car park, two sexy girls were giving away Red Bull. It seemed rude not to stop to perve (and to get some free Red Bull, of course). The British girl got even more confused when Tom said that we weren't travelling together, but that I had taught him to dive. Poor girl. I asked about the curry house that we'd seen next door, and was told that it was very good.
Back at the dive centre, I forgot about the tecky reel, but I did try a can of Red Bull. I don't think I'll be trying another can! There were loads of people queuing for the ferry back to Sydney, but we were close to the front of the queue. Looking back, there was a fair bit of totty. There was one bird in her 30s at the back of the queue who looked very sexy, but Tom pointed out that she was actually in her teens! Seeing that she was chatting to a bloke in his 70s, I wondered whether she was into older men! We got a seat on the boat, and two Scottish girls sat down next to us. The old boy then sat down next to them, and starting trying to chat up the one next to me. There was something not quite right about this, but he gave up after a while. When the ferry docked, we went to the tourist place, to try to sort out some sailing action for Tom. The woman there took his phone number, and said she'd call him when she'd got through to the sailing place.
Tom helped me carry my dive kit back to my hotel, and then went back to his for a shower, and a kip. I packed most of my things, had a shower, and then hung some of my dive kit in the bath to dry. I then watched Sky News before Tom arrived. There was a very strange article about a MacDonald's employee being strip-searched, and then spanked. Tom arrived, and we walked up to the ferry. Gimmer was staying local tonight, and meeting up with a mate of Dennis, so it was just Tom and me for curry.
We had a quick pint before getting the ferry, and then two pints at a bar that the British bloke had recommended. The sun had set, so Tom explained some of the boat lights that we could see (boat over 26m, yacht, and yacht under power). We then went to the curry house. It was an excellent curry - we had to order baby goat, and also mattar panner, which was pretty good (4 out of 5). There was some pokiness on the table next to us, with their older sisters. Fortunately, the parents were on the table next to them, to keep them under control.
After a few beers, we went down to the ferry terminal to have another drink. The bar that we'd drunk at before was closed, so we went for a pint at a German bar. Every beer that we asked for was empty, apart from a very dark, strong, beer. We had a bet on who in the dive club would get married next. I knew Tom would put his money on Darren and Ruth, but I wasn't sure who to put my money on (Gordy/Emma, Ian/Carro, Tania, or Cherryboy). I was tempted with Tania, but decided to try the outside option of Cherryboy (I must have been pissed!). There were loads of couples snogging outside the pub, but we kept the camera focused on the scenery.
We tried to take lots of night-time pictures on the way back, but the combination of an automatic camera, beer, and a boat, conspired against us. After saying goodnight to Tom, I got a bit lost on the way back to the hotel, and then fell asleep on the end of the bed again.
Feeling a little bit rough from the previous night, I went down for breakfast. There was no need for any egg action, but I ordered the full breakfast anyway. While finishing my tea, I wrote postcards to my parents, and to Bird. I had to write them before I flew back to New Zealand, because Becky had given me two Aussie stamps, and I couldn't waste them. There was a woman sitting on her own on another table, but I was checking out in about half-an-hour, so didn't bother chatting to her. After finishing my packing, I checked out. There was some very nice totty in the lift with me - why was all the totty appearing when I was leaving the country? The hotel receptionist said that they would post my postcards for me, so I left, and walked to the train station (without getting lost this time). LiftTotty was walking back to the hotel, having bought her ice-cream, so I got a final perve.
Like on Tuesday, I avoided the machines, because I wanted to pay by credit card. The bloke at the counter said that they only accepted credit cards for amounts over $19. I paid by cash, but will have to check how much I was charged on Tuesday. There wasn't long to wait before an airport train arrived (with commuting totty to perve at, time went quickly). After carrying my dive kit up several escalators, I decided to use a trolley to carry it once I'd got to the airport. This turned out to be an excellent idea, because I had to walk from Zone A to Zone J to get to the Air New Zealand check-in desk. The queue was quite long, but I was very impressed with the woman in front of me. She wanted to sit on her trolley while waiting in the queue. She did so, and, when the queue moved forward, I saw a hand appear, and pull the brake upwards. She then walked the trolley forward without standing up. After a while, she got fed up with reaching behind her, so she tied a strap around the brake, and just pulled on the strap when she wanted to move. It took about 90 minutes to get to the front of the queue - fortunately, for once in my life, I actually allowed for a 2-hour check-in.
When checking in, the woman asked to see my return ticket. I told her that it was an e-ticket, but, working for Air New Zealand, she didn't understand! Fortunately, Dial-a-Flight had posted me an itinary, and I hadn't left it at Ecky and Jo's as I had intended to do. Eventually, the woman understood what was going on. I then had to take my dive kit to the over-sized baggage place (even though the Slough Council recycling box is smaller than most suitcases).
I tried to find an Emirates Customer Service desk, so that I could select my seats for Tuesday's flights, but there didn't seem to be one. I therefore went through security, and straight to the departure gate at 11:20 (not even stopping to take a picture of a sign that said "Childrens Area" - with no apostrophe). The flights was delayed, so nobody had even started boarding.
While waiting for the queue to die down, I started chatting to the woman sitting next to me. We started discussing different airlines, and I mentioned that I enjoyed flying with Emirates Airlines, because of the very sexy air hostesses. She said that Singapore Airlines's air hostesses are even better. I wasn't sure whether I was wasting my time chatting to her (because she sounded like she might be a carpet muncher), but she did start putting make-up on while we chatted. There were lots of kids on the flight, but, fortunately, they were all sitting at the back of the place, and I was sitting in the middle.
I then spent a few days in Auckland and Rotorua.
Created on: 14 Jan 2007. Modified on: 14 Jan 2007.
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