The Big Visit

The view of Sydney Tower (I still call it “Centrepoint”) from the twenty-sixth floor of The Hilton is pretty bloody good. It’s a fact I discovered on Friday when my relatives, Michelle and Shane booked in for a weekend in Sydney.

Michelle and Shane have been to Sydney a few times. In fact, they were last here a few months ago. But Michelle’s seven year old son, Sam has never been on a plane before, and has never been to Sydney before. It’s been three years since Michelle’s seventeen year old son, Ryan has been to Sydney. And it’s seventeen years since Michelle mum, Pat has been to Sydney. This weekend, while Ryan stayed with his father, and Pat stayed with me, Michelle, Shane, Sam, and Shane’s sister booked in for a luxury weekend at The Hilton.

While all this happened, my role for the weekend was tour guide. I was the guy who knew how far it was from The Hilton to Sydney Aquarium; how to catch a ferry to Manly; and where we could find child-friendly places to eat in Sydney’s CBD. It’s a role I lived playing, as it was a chance to give my family a better insight into the place in which I call home. “We’re on your home turf now”, Shane said to me at one point.

It was quite an interesting experience to see my family outside of Lismore. Whenever I go home, I go back into the role of younger brother, uncle, and so on, whereas in Sydney, I got to be myself, the 46-year old with family responsibilities. I loved it.

A real, unexpected highlight for me was Sydney Aquarium. We planned the visit ostensibly for the seven year old, though it turned out to be as interesting and as much fun for the adults as for him.

I also got to do a bit of baby-sitting for a while late in the afternoon on Saturday. When I was asked the question, “Do you have a playstation, Jim?”, I suddenly realised my house isn’t all that well set-up for a seven year old. With a park across the road, an internet connection, and a disturbingly high level of junk food in the neighbourhood, I realised it wasn’t so hard. “I’ve given him two litres of red cordial and a jumbo pack of green frogs”, I joked as I handed him back. Seven year olds also love fireworks, so thank goodness, they’ve resumed on a weekly basis at Darling Harbour.

Overall, it was a great weekend, though a little exhausting being a tourist in your own city. The back of my legs still ache from all that walking.

And what’s a weekend without a big family shock revelation? Guess which member of the current Big Brother house I’m related to? Bradley, of course!