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First Day – Manly and Sydney

Published on September 16, 2006, by in Australia, Manly.

My first day back visiting beloved Australia started just after dawn in Manly with a brisk walk north along the beach, from the Gazebo near the Corso, about a mile to Queenscliff and back. If the Gazebo looks familiar to Americans, it was the centerpiece in a television commercial for Old Navy clothes, shown frequently across the US in August Prime Time. Teenage dancers were romping around the Gazebo, showing off the Old Navy fashions.

Coffee and a muffin over the Sydney Morning Herald in a sidewalk cafe facing the beach got me going. I spent the day wandering and reacquainting myself with the area. By sundown I was arriving in Sydney’s  Circular Quay,  (pronounced “key”) between the Opera House and The Bridge, via ferry.

This was my third trip to Manly since being introduced to “E”, a charming, attractive and intelligent woman. She’s American but has lived here for a few decades, the widow of an Aussie.

On my second visit, this past January, I lived with her for a month and it all seemed to have gone well. She came to the States and we spent time with her oldest son’s family. We then had a similarly pleasant visit with my own oldest.

But now something is off. I’m only here a day and already I have a bad feeling. She’s extremely fragile emotionally and that is exacerbated by the pain of knee surgery she had two months ago and issues related to retirement that is being forced on her earlier than she expected. I’m feeling very unwelcome.

The John Harkins Trio (headed by one of my sons) are playing tonight at the Sydney Intercontinental Hotel, a ten minute walk from dockside . I went alone. The pix above were taken as the ferry approached the city at sunset.

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