SYDNEY, Mar 28 – The amount of time it takes to fly to Sydney has always freaked me out. I keep on asking 15 what? hours… jeez! After flight delays in Jo’burg, I was eventually airborne to the land of Kangaroos. Tales abound that they jump up and about the airport and are one of the ‘scares’ at the landing field.
I realised after landing we were the only two handsome black guys aboard that flight. The experience that followed at the immigration desk was one of those you would like to forget.
My friend had carried with him medicines in anticipation that he may need them in case he took one too many or if the Kangaroo meat did not sit well in his tummy. As a result of this, the sniffer dogs at the airport got interested and overly excited about his luggage like he had carried a tonne of heroin.
My friend being a rural chap started asking “Man, what breed is your cute dog? And the stone-face look he got in return was like … pick your bags we are headed for the quarantine section.
It was annoying and at times hilarious watching the perceived hawk-eyed immigration officials go through our luggage with such precision like laser surgery and asking questions like, “How come you are wiping your face? are you on drugs? “How come you are not as dark as other Kenyans? “How come you are young and the boss (of a company back in Kenya)?
At the end of it all, we were let free and we made our way into the city.
The serenity of the city of Sydney was clearly evident as we settled in the Northern part near the marvelous city bridge overlooking the city and separated by the Tombolo Island; it was such a magnificent and splendid view that set us in the mood for the activities of the following day.
Australia being a wine producing region, we set off for Hunter Valley wine tour with a group of Aussies under the direction of our French born Australian guide. We were taken to three exclusive cellars whose wines are not found anywhere in the world. It was a wrong decision to take Kenyans to sample wine all day, as it was beckoning excessive indulgence.
The stages through which the ‘assessment’ is done were awesome, coming from a country where any wine is good wine.
The introduction of 5’s formula came in handy. The first step is to hold the stem of the wine glass. Once poured, lift it up and see through the wine, good wine does not stick to the side of the glass. Stir it a little bit to allow oxygen in the wine, and then smell it so that you can tell the aroma of the wine. After that sip it and you can make a choice of swallowing or spitting. (None in our team did the spitting part).
We did this the whole day in the exclusive wineries and I thought they forgot the sixth step. By the time we were in the car for the two-hour journey back, everybody was already sleeping. So the steps would have gone like this… See, Stir, Smell, Sip, Swallow or Spit and Sleep!
Our visit would not have been complete without enjoying the night life. And man, this country really has beautiful women; of course I had to see that! And off we went to darling harbor where we enjoyed sea cuisine; the table was joyful except for me from the highlands, where we are used to root tubers. I could not crack the mud crab that was screaming when being cooked. I could not handle it but nevertheless with plenty of wine, other delicacies came in handy.
Meanwhile, the group of young men who were playing host, informed us the red-light district was a centre of attraction too. But on a weekday like Tuesday, it is a dead street, so we zoomed past, hard to believe! But the hotel was our destination.
The following day was packed with activities including going for shopping at Queen Victoria and Oxford Street, which turned to be disastrous as guys sometimes have no good preferences. But I think keeping a bevy of beauties behind the counter was a deliberate step to keep us removing our credit cards for constant swiping.
We had overstayed and it was time to sum it all up at the Italian village near the Marriott Hotel, Opera House and the harbor and we treated ourselves and colleagues from Aussie to sumptuous food and drinks overlooking some of the private yachts that had docked there in readiness to say bye to Sydney.
It was a trip and a half as we were airborne via South Pole (Antarctic region) where the sky was blue and we were treated to a lively menu of where the polar bear stew exists.
I would recommend anyone to travel there as long as you do not encounter the mean immigration officers who do not appear to understand that being black is not a crime!