Musings of a morbid mind

The general ravings of Scott Baldwin

Sunday, September 16, 2007

On Holidays - Sydney for Chris and Alison's Wedding


We decided to tie our holidays in with Chris and Alison's wedding in Sydney. We arrived at Sydney airport on Friday afternoon after an extremely stressful process of getting to Melbourne airport. Niki was coming from Fitzroy, and I was coming from Essendon. I arrived at the airport in plenty of time, whereas Niki had a slight issue with the taxi not turning up, and she almost missed the plane.

After having made it to Sydney I proceeded to pick up a hire car and drive out to Berowra for the wedding rehearsal, and Niki checked into the hotel (The Marque), and then went out for a tango in Glebe.

I was concerned about driving from the airport to Berowra, especially considering that APEC was on at the time, and I don't really know my way around Sydney that well, but once I got on the Eastern Distributor... and then finally turned around and headed in the correct direction, I just followed the signs to Newcastle, and I was OK. That was until I missed the Berowra Exit and had to Drive 15 minutes to the next exit where I could turn around. I arrived at Chris and Alison's place, and very quickly went through my role as best man, and then Chris, Alison, Alana (Alison's head bridesmaid), went off to the pub for a drink. It was only 10:00pm, but they had already called last drinks at the bar, none of us could believe it, so we quickly ordered drinks and sat down and talked.

On the Saturday, Niki and I went shopping, and then I headed out to spend some more time with Chris. Niki went dancing again. Chris and I had Pizza and then I caught the train back to Strathfield to catch the last hour and a half of the Milonga (Tango night) with Niki.

The next day we arrived at Chris's place at around 10:30am to find him still stressing about work. He eventually finished what he was doing, and we had lunch together with the other Groomsmen, (Rob his Uncle, and Rodney a friend from Newport). We then started to get ready for the wedding. We were cutting it fine as it was, and just at the point when we really had to leave to make it on time, we discovered that we'd lost the keys to our hire car. This put us into a bit of a panic, and we rushed around stressing for about 15 minutes until we eventually found them. We arrived at the Loxley on Bellbird Hill where the wedding was to take place at 3:00pm instead of 2:30pm, but this was OK, the official part of the day wasn't scheduled to start until 3:30pm. I must say, Loxley was just the most picturesque place for the wedding, it was beautiful, and the staff were a really friendly and helpful bunch of people. The wedding was just lovely, and everything went pretty much to plan from what I could tell.

Chris and Alisons wedding #4

Chris and Alisons wedding #1

We stayed the night at Loxley, and then had breakfast with Chris, Alison, and a few other wedding guests who had also stayed the night. We then hit the road at about 10:30am to get to Sydney airport for our flight to Cyprus.

I have to admit, I have always hated driving in Sydney, but this trip from the blue mountains solidified my absolute detest for the Sydney road infrastructure. The quickest way (and the only way that is actually sign posted) to get from the Blue Mountains to Kingsford Smith Airport is via a number of toll roads. The M7, the M5, the M2, and the Sydney Harbor tunnel, all of which have different operators, some of which have toll collection points, others have only e-tag, or E-Pass payment options, and each of which have a different procedure for paying. We had a hire car, we were NEVER going to use that car again, we are also very unlikely to need to use any of these roads again (at least in the near future), and consequently we just wanted to pay out one off toll, we didn't want to buy an e-tag, or create an account with any of these companies, and I seriously thought that as a business model, people would generally find ways of making it easy for consumers to give them money, but I must say I am still confused as to what we have paid for, and wouldn't be surprised to find an infringement notice in our letter box when we get back. C'mon Sydney, is this the best you can do, your tollway system has to be the worst in the world, I don't understand why a government department could not at the very least manage the collection of all tolls, and then distribute the funds to the different agencies as necessary, at least that way, there would be a consistent means of paying.

Anyway, with that off my chest.... we managed to arrive at the airport in time, and boarded the plane, First stop Kuala Lumpa, followed by Dubai.


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