Trapped in Suburbia
03.15.2010 - 03.19.2010
I’M JUST GONNA HIT SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS
While Jennifer, Martha, & Donna work during the week, I am left to do as I please. It’s kind of exciting but not as easy as it sounds. Sure, I’ve scoped out the area and walked to nearby stores and you know I have lounged around the pool and hotel some too; but that’s not enough. I want more; I want to go outside of camp and EXPLORE. But figuring out the bus system ain’t easy. It’s down right overwhelming. At times it felt like I was trapped in the hotel; but I have managed to escape my own fears by going out and facing them. Sometimes, sponteneity is the prescripiton for survival and that has helped me. I'm not one for sitting around and obseesing about the plans, I learn by doing.
After, inquiring about the bus system with Emily, the hotel receptionist, she suggested that I ride along with Jack on the hotel shuttle bus. He dropped me off at the library in Castle Hill. I enjoyed my time in the city and felt a surge of adrenaline at my escape from the fortress of solitude. I was able to figure out which bus to take back as well, which built up my confidence.
I have learned that it is much easier catching a bus in the city because they have information booths, maps, and people to help you but catching a bus at the bus stop outside our hotel is much more challenging.
Usually in the evenings, we will go to a nice restaurant with in walking distance or just eat here in the hotel restaurant. However, one evening we decided we wanted KFC. So, we called a cab, told him where we wanted to go. We explained that KFC was in Castle Hill Shopping Center and told him the street name and everything. You would think a cab driver would know the area but apparently he didn‘t or maybe he was playing us and taking advantage of the American tourist. Now, he was foreign as most cab drivers are. When I say foreign I mean he was dark skinned and from somewhere in the Middle East or India, It is hard to tell. He took back roads and said that the GPS wasn’t showing the listing that we gave him; so he pulled into the Seven-11 (gas station) and called his friend, who was apparently on the toilet and had to call us back; he kept the meter running the whole time which infuriated us. To make matters worse, Jennifer and Donna pointed out the building because they recognized it from an earlier trip and he then turns and goes behind the building and takes the long way around the opposite side of the building all the while the meter is adding up quickly . I felt so disgusted, but I began questioning myself, thinking maybe this is normal, maybe his GPS really did malfunction. I confess, I am guilty of being naïve. Anyway, the meter read $37 and he added a $3 service fee which equaled FORTY DOLLARS. We paid the fare; but get this, he didn’t even say thank you nor did he attempt to apologize for anything. The nerve of him. Well obviously he ain’t from the south. This was supposed to be a 15 minute ride with few turns and maybe $16’s at the most.
We got out of that cab, and you should’ve heard Jennifer and Donna, I wish I had recorded that conversation. I learned that I should’ve trusted my gut because we were definitely ripped off. In defense of my naivety> they both have female intuition. We all raked him over the coals. The expression came up “We’ve just been screwed and didn’t even get kissed”. It really is an awfull feeling to be treated like that. I don't want to ever fill that way again.
Let’s all remember to be kind and helpful to tourist.
We took the bus back to the hotel and that only cost us about $3.20 each or around ten dollars, plus the bus driver was much more helpful and accomidating.
We had dinner with Kylie and her daughter Ajilla one evening. Kylie is an old friend of Jennifer's. They met it Winston Salem when they both lived there some years back. She and her daughter Ajilla, who is three, now live here, just 15 minutes away from our hotel. Small World. Kylie picked us up at the hotel and drove us to Parrametta (pronounce Pair uh met uh). This was on a Wednesday and it was super crowded. This was a city area and you had to wait on the sidewalk outside while others passed by, it was quiet congested and unlike most places back home. Kylie said that on weekdends you would have to make a reservation because it gets so crowded.
Kylie was nice enought to print out some infromation about the busses and pointed out that I could get to Parrametta by bus very quickly and easily. I've gone there twice now. Thanks Kylie. We had a good time talking about the differences in culture between America and Australia. I had lots of questions and Kylie became a sounding board for all of our observations. I have a running list that I will compile in a future blog. It's funny how we both speak the same language yet there is so many differences.
In the scope of conversation I learned that all beaches here are topless. Did any of you know that??