Our dear friend and pet-sitter, Clair, swung by to collect us at 11. I was still frantically packing. It was about 30°C downstairs which translates to about 35°C upstairs in the bedroom. It's supposed to be 20°C in Melbourne so I was looking at my woollen scarf collection with disbelief as the perspiration continued to form on my forehead. It's funny how when being stinking hot at home makes it really hard to pack for a cold climate. It's like trying to do the stupidmarket shopping on a full stomach. Yes, having the pedestal fan blasting while rifling the cardie drawer seemed a trifle ridiculous.
Luckily we live in a country town where the airport doesn't take the 30-minutes-before-the-flight check-in very seriously. Clair was collecting her partner, who was coming to spend the weekend with her, and who'd arrived on the flight before ours, so she parked the car and raced off to meet her. Actually, strictly speaking the flight before our flight IS our flight. It's like getting on the bus at the terminus. The plane that arrives from Sydney is the plane that turns around and flies back to Sydney.
So 50 minutes later we land in Sydney at terminal 2 (the country town and Virgin terminal). Luggage is checked through and we have an hour to kill before we need to be at terminal 3 (the big smoke terminal). We hit the Turkish fast-food stand in the food court with abandon. D___ orders an iskender kebab (doner kebab meat and bready bits smothered in garlicky yoghurt, from what I could see) and I go for a gözleme (flat bread filled with spinach and feta). We'd been looking forward to this for weeks! There is a miserable dearth of 'ethnic' food in Port Macquarie: a couple of okay Thai places, a huge number of stuck-in-the-70s Chinese restaurants (the kind that in addition to spring rolls with fluororescing sweet-and-sour sauce also boast an "Australian menu"), a hole-in-the-wall noodle shop ("Delicious Noodle") and, finally, our salvation, a Japanese place with a proper sushi chef who greets you with the customary irasshaimase!.
After a week of Dr Joshi detoxing (well, D lasted 6 days), this weekend was going to be a foodfest. We oohed and ahhed at the size of the plane when we got on our second flight to Melbourne (a regular 737 seems like a jumbo after the little Dash-8). Took the skybus from the airport to what used to be Spencer Street Station (now Southern Cross Station) and checked in to the Vibe Savoy, a refurbished Art-Deco style hotel. Since my brother and his wife-to-be had usurped our anniversary, we celebrated our anniversary a night early at The Point Restaurant on Albert Park Lake. We shared an entree degustation, followed by ocean trout (for me) and a steaky thing for D.
After dinner, we strolled through biting wind towards the main road to grab a tram. We were so excited at the prospect of being in a city with a proper range of movies that we hit Crown Casino cinema and saw Dreamgirls which is not due to play in Port until at least 2012, if we're lucky. Jennifer Hudson was stunning: everything people have been saying about her and more (although we've been fans since her American Idol days). Don't know how I'll feel if she beats out 'our Cate' for the oscar.
All in all a lovely night, just me and my gal.