I am not one to ever complain about heat. I mean, really? We are the ones who visited Phoenix during the dog days of August. I've done Israel in May. Believe me, heat does not affect me. But is it ever hot here. Australia is gong through one of their hottest weeks on record, and I am writing this from the friendly confines of the protected ocean breezes here in Sydney. Around the country, they are contending with dozens of bush and wildfires. We can only imagine what it is going to be like as we leave for the broiling Outback. They are calling for temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius at Ayres Rock tomorrow. If I were a meat eater, I might say that it will be hot enough to roast a suckling pig, but given my confirmed veggie status, I will only say that a potato doesn't stand a chance in those furnaces of Hades.
I think that the people on our tour are worried. They are hoarding water like it is liquid gold, all the while complaining about the prices. Seriously?? Half of them are from Texas, California, and Florida--certainly not places known for their moderate temperatures. The group is mostly made up of Americans, a few subjects of Her Majesty, and 3 Canucks--Us and Peggy.
Peggy ("Don't call me Margaret") is a tiny pistol of a woman who is definitely several years my parents' senior. Hailing from Ottawa, she travels the world mostly on her own, as she is on this trip, and she isn't afraid to do or try anything new. She flew in yesterday after a full 24 hour voyage from our nation's capital, and still she showed up at the orientation looking fresh and raring to go. When we went down to meet the tour this morning, Peggy was the first one there.
We took a coach tour (Don't you like how I am acquiring the local slang?) throughout the myriad of neighbourhoods that make up this fascinating city. It is truly one of the most photogenic places that I have ever visited. I might have to put it on par with San Francisco, and that is really saying something. I am constantly amazed that this entire country was built and developed by convicts. There is something brutally dirty and sordid in every country's colonial history. None of us treated our Native People with any dignity or respect, and we all tended to build our nations on the backs of the less fortunate. Ouch.
Following the tour, The Husband and I made our way to The Rocks, a regentrified area that has become the home to shops, galleries, pubs, (they do love their drink here in Oz) and on Sundays a beautiful open air market that puts the flea markets back home to shame. Artists, musicians, chefs, and craftspeople all out displaying and selling their creations to the excited tourists and Sydneyisians. (Does that sound right? What else does one call a resident of Sydney?)