Fabulous get together and lunch in Sydney with friends from South Africa!...Small world...

Tom and I and Ken and Linda, great friends from Marloth Park who happened to be in Sydney at the same time as us!  Small world!
When Linda and I chatted in Facebook over these past few months, we could hardly contain our enthusiasm over the prospect of she and husband Ken meeting us in Sydney on March 15th.
Our wonderful friends, Linda and Ken whom we met in Marloth Park in 2013.  We look forward to seeing them again next February when we return to South Africa.
How ironic after staying in touch over these past years since the onset of our friendship in Marloth Park in 2013/2014 that we'd happen to be in the same part of the world at the same time, Sydney, Australia.

Our mutual time frame in Sydney only overlapped by a few days making the 15th the ideal date to get together.  We hadn't rented a car during this 40 day stay in Manly (hopefully, immigration situation allowing), it was imperative for us to begin using local transportation.

Ken, Linda and Tom, in front of Fortune of War pub, also known as First Fleet Bar & Bistro, the oldest pub in Sydney, circa 1828.
After spending over AU$150, US $115 for three taxi rides to and from Sydney for the required visit to the immigration office, we decided using public transportation is a must while in this area.

Ken and Tom toasting "James Squire, the Swindler" summer ale in the pub!
With the use of the popular Manly Ferry and the free Hop, Skip, Jump bus that has a nearby stop with only a few block walk to the holiday home, we were easily able to make our way to Circular Quay in Sydney to meet Linda and Ken right on time at the Observer Hotel Pub at noon sharp and then to return "home" with ease.

Our fabulous landlord and new friend Bob, insisted on driving us to the Manlly Ferry wharf for our first ferry experience.  While showing us around, Bob pointed us to the bus stop where we'd catch the bus upon return later in the day.

Linda and I toasting to the special occasion.
Bob had given each of us an Opal card which is a local transportation card to which money is added at most news stands and "top up" machines, which is then used to easily pay for ferries, buses and trains.  Bob escorted us to a news stand at the wharf where we topped up the cards. 

My grilled chicken salad included a side of avocado.
The round trip cost for the Manly Ferry to Circular Quay is AU $28, US $22 but there's no charge for the bus.  Its too far to walk to the Manly Ferry from here in the Fairlight area. 

By car, its a ten minute drive to the ferry station.  The free local bus makes this trip relatively easy and affordable, especially compared to a rental car which is pricey in Sydney.  We'll share details and a video of the Manly Ferry in an upcoming post.

Tom's steak sandwich with grilled onions and chips.
Close to noon we spotted Linda and Ken sitting outside of the Observer Hotel Pub, beers in hand.  We couldn't have been more thrilled to see one another, embracing in warm hug among the four of us.

Linda's burger with avocado and "chips."
After chatting and catching up a little on our mutual world travels (Linda and Ken are avid travelers like us), we decided to head to the popular historic First Fleet Bar & Bistro where Linda and Ken recommended we take photos of our get together.

The conversation was lively and animated when we all have so much in common including past experiences in Marloth Park over which we easily recalled and giggled.  We'd had memorable experiences in Marloth Park and look forward to more upcoming next February.

Beautiful orchids at our table.
By 5 pm, after our fabulous meal at the bistro we headed back to Circular Quay and Wharf #3 to make our way back to Manly.  The ferry ride was delightful when I sat next to a 90 year old woman, who migrated to Australia almost 70 years ago, a published author and patron of the arts. 

The pub was packed throughout the day with lively locals enjoying themselves.
Once again, I was engaged in an enlightening conversation which reminded me of how much we thrive on interacting with others including those from our past and those we meet along the way.

We continue to concentrate on the immigration issue and yet, we're able to enjoy ourselves in the process.  In a few nights, we'll be heading back to Sydney to the Opera House to which we purchased tickets almost a year ago.  Can't wait for that!

Have a great day filled with lively conversation that stimulates your mind.

Photo from one year ago today, March 16, 2016:

Roses continue to bloom in the cooler weather in New Zealand.  For more photos, please click here.


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