Vertigo Leg 1: 2005, US


'Pretty Special'

06 December 2010
'Pretty Special'
Sydney.  Day off.

Woke up to find that a slight eye irritation I€™d been noticing over the past day or so had now turned into an alarmingly swollen event.  My right eye looked like I hadn€™t slept for a month and the left one looked like it had ideas of following suit.  When you€™re on the road it€™s almost amusing that the first emotion that accompanies any kind of ailment or illness is the sheer inconvenience of it.  I knew I had to go and see a doctor but in a foreign city on the other side of the world, it€™s often far easier said than done.

With the aid of our extremely helpful local promotor rep, I did manage to find a trusted doctor by the middle of the day and he was both reassuring and helpful.  He€™s certain that the mad swelling is due to some sort of allergic trigger which, being the least dramatic option, was what I€™d hoped he€™d say.  A couple of prescriptions later and I was out the door feeling calmer, though my customary resemblance to Quasimodo might be slightly more pronounced for the next little while.

The whole experience had left me a little traumatised, so the phone call that I received shortly afterwards could not have been better timed.  My hope that there might be room at the crew hotel had become a reality and so, I was informed, I was free to move there forthwith.  Never was I happier to check into a normal hotel - that€™s it for me and casinos for the foreseeable future.  I€™m not sure what the opposite of 'adding insult to injury' would be ('adding compliment to healing'?), but the fact that I even have a view of the Opera House from my new accommodation would certainly fit the phrase.

By way of convalescence, I took myself for a walk through the Botanic Gardens, along the Finger Wharf at Woolloomooloo (top name) and back to the Art Gallery of New South Wales where I stopped for a mooch around the Aboriginal works.  On past the Opera House and to Circular Quay, which is my new €˜hood.  In a fit of spontaneity I even went to see a movie.  I haven€™t seen a film at the cinema in forever and, if nothing else, I thought it would prevent me from checking out my swollen eye every five minutes to see if the drugs were working yet.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader 3D was the next movie playing, so I wandered on in.  I loved the C.S.Lewis books as a kid and the Dawn Treader  had been a real favourite, after The Magician€™s Nephew.  Of course the movie version had been blanded into standard young-adult action-movie sentimentality, and through adult eyes the original plot probably wouldn€™t stand up to a great deal of scrutiny, but in the moment I was glad to sit and get lost in it.  I even got to keep the 3D glasses which would still be large enough to conserve my dignity if my eye swelled to three times its current size.

I rounded out the evening with a bite to eat at a place in The Rocks overlooking the harbour.  Sitting on the little wooden balcony out the back, I had my supper and settled into finishing my current book (Henry James€™ Washington Square).  The place was all but empty when I got up to leave I passed a table of five or six people, one of whom said €œWillie!€  Yet again, in a city of four million or more, I manage to pick the same place to eat as a posse from our touring party.  I joined them for a nightcap and we strolled back through Circular Quay.  Sydney harbour at night is one of the great urban beauty spots.  The bridge, the Opera House illuminated, the ferries coming & going, a calm, balmy evening, it€™s pretty special.

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29 December, 2010
Travel Writer Extradonaire!
Willie you have done a superb job of pointing out all of the beautiful highlights of this gorgeous city! Sorry Melbourne,there really is NO competition especially in the beauty stakes! Come back for NEW YEARS EVE CELEBRATION,when Sydney turns on the fireworks
12 December, 2010
Melboune has food and culture (we say about Sydney, "thins books read quickly"), but they have the harbour and for that, we'll never beat them.
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