I blog when I go abroad, and occasionally when I do stuff in the UK too. There's a nicer interface over here.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Lions and tigers and lemurs, oh my!

Being on holiday, and my last full day in Sydney, I clearly wanted to spend my time doing different stuff to how I would spend a day at home. So, since it was Saturday I got up early to do parkrun, had savoury pastry goods and a diet coke at midday, and went out for Guinness later. Hang on...

I'm not kidding though. First off, up at 0600 for parkrun. In Australia, due to the stupid weather, they do parkrun at 0700 instead of 0900. Thank fuck. We were going to leave at about 0615 to walk the 2km (one vertical) to the Spit reserve where the second inaugural Mosman parkrun was going to take place. It had one run back in October, and then got canned the week after, but now there was council approval and a new route and it just so happened to be taking place when I was there (originally we were going to do Curl Curl, a few km north).

In October there'd been either 99 or 102 runners - parkrun.com.au and Facebook were a bit unclear. But the weather was grotesque (of course, it didn't rain during the run itself, such is parkrun's meteorological power) so we drove and there ended up being just 34 runners. Reps from the council and an MP/minister for health were there for a bit of a speech, I was proudly in my 50 shirt and expecting to come last because all Australians are athletes and because Australia isn't flat. It was 3 laps of the reserve, flat apart from a short and brutal hill at one end. On the last lap I told the steward there that I wasn't being rude, but fuck me I was glad I'd not see him again.

The winner was this guy of Japanese heritage, who ran incredibly fast - like, 15:xx or summat - and Kevin came 5th at 19:16 or so. I'd run the very last bit of his last lap alongside, we split as I said "see you in 10 minutes" and sure enough I finished in 29:16. Considering I'd done no real exercise for 2 weeks, and the heat and humidity and course were all horrid, I was pretty chuffed - sub 30:00 is always my benchmark. And, actually, when I checked, it was my fastest time of any parkrun event that I've only done once. So, pretty cool. But Christ, I was wetter through sweating in the humidity than at any rainy run...

The Japanese guy had done two more laps by the time I left. STOP. I thought maybe he had an earpiece and it was some running version of Speed - "keep running or we blow your kids up" or whatever.

Home, shower and out - Saturday is gymnastics for Alex and swimming for both girls, though Alex's cold meant she couldn't do that part. So me and Kevin took Harry to the pool, where her half hour lesson was an enormous amount of fun for her even as she let loose the floods of tears during the crocodile song. She loved the instruction - jump! jump! jump! - but just not the song. Strange lass.

Home via a midday stop at a bakery somewhat posher than Gregg's, a popular place in Dee Why where I had a Mexican pie, having not had my fill of Mexican food on Friday with the lunch burrito and evening fajitas. Harry ordered sushi, which didn't really work, but there was sushi left for her at home - Alex agreed to share, and by doing so had space and agreement for a slice of lamington. Noms all round.

Lunchtime snooze for the girls went kinda badly. Which is to say it was exactly like all their attempts at sleeping. Harry never switches off! But once they were at least downstairs, me and Kevin went out to the pub. Specifically The Oaks in Neutral Bay, his local when he first moved here which was before I started visiting. It's a regular boozer in a non-touristy suburb. I freaked out when he said "I lost my driving licence after a night out in here", until he thankfully explained that he had literally misplaced it. No one drunk drove, no one got killed. Jesus, watch your words bro...

Guinness! And much better than PJ O'Brien's too. Kevin suggested another bar, by which he meant a different part of the same pub. Turns out the Oaks has about 9 different sections all with separate decor, features, etc. We started in the bit with the TVs and gambling terminals (in which I taught him the difference between -ism and mere description), went to the family bit, then upstairs to play pool. There were about 10 pool rooms, one of which was a single table in a kitchen. Odd. We failed dismally to make sure we had enough coins for an odd number of games and wound up 2-2 (though I thought Kevin won 3-1). A 2 ball play off gave the victory to him anyway. £2.25 a game!

Home, or kebab? Have a fucking guess. We walked to the kebab house, via a considerably worse pub and Guinness in Cremorne. Oh, I get it, so now everywhere sells Guinness. The kebab was decent, and we walked all the way back. That was a fair amount of km in the legs for the day tbh. Back home, we snacked like the post booze post kebab fools we were, lots of ice cream, and I watched Die Hard 4.0 while Kevin snoozed on the sofa. My god, what a shit film that is. I'd weighed myself on Thursday and was super happy to discover I'd not put on a single kg, but that might have changed by now. I am definitely a fat cat if not a fat fuck.

Sunday, my last day. On the way back from swimming on Saturday Qantas had called me, to see if I needed a porter and to book me in for a spa massage treatment. I'd picked my seat and the journey was all set. A chauffeur was coming to get me at 2pm, so I had plenty of time to spend with the girls. Having finally got my sleeping patterns into Sydney time I was up at 7am for the chaos of breakfast, and we did puzzles and chopping until time for the zoo. The fam have a season ticket but yours truly had to fork out. Sal was on a walk so only the Foremans went, at opening time. Jeez, the girls were SO EXCITED. Mind you, Taronga zoo is special. Last time I went I saw the New Year's Eve fireworks over Sydney harbour. Last time Harry went she saw an elephant do a poo from its bum bum, I was repeatedly told.

Lions and gorillas and orang-utangs and tree kangaroos and tigers and elephants and snakes and foxes and turkeys and so many animals. Also an energetic time in the lemur play park. Sal had walked to the zoo in pissing rain that we had mostly missed, and soon we all left via a quick detour for some top notch uncling at the shop where I totally stole Sal's idea for presents for the girls and bought them a pair of lemur tails to wear. They loved them, and gave themselves lemur names of Jasmine and Tiger. I got a cracking photo. But, it was time to go home and get them fed, after which my pocket of coins was my last present to them. Sal's birthday present had arrived on my first full day, a shipment of Marmite XO from the UK. I'm very good at missing birthdays, having previously left the country 2 days before Alex's and this time one day before Sal's. Alex and Harry were so so hard to get to go to bed, but it eventually happened, and then all that was left was to wait for my drive to the airport, the start of a long and nondescript journey back to the UK.

Nondescript apart from the whole first class thing, that is.

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