Back at Jean's to sort out some final arrangements, meet up with friends and family and have a jolly god time.
We had our US visa appointment on 12th and with much preparation we were pleased to get our visas for next year. We also made an expensive visit to a travel clinic where we had jabs and pills ready for the next leg. Then to round off a satisfactory day, we met up in town with Judy & Pat who we'd met in Tasmania. We had a few beers and a nice Chinese lunch as well as a good laugh. Pat was please to be in the vicinity of Paddy's Market where he used to have a pet stall. His sign should have been something like - Come along to pat Pat's pets at Pat's Pet Stall at Paddy's Market! Welll maybe not!! It was really good to meet up as they're good company.
Next day, while E waiting patiently at Jean's for the return of our passports from the US Consulate, M headed into town for a much- needed haircut. Although she'd said earlier in our journey there would be no more Toni & Guy when E took the strimmer to her hair (with amazing results!), she felt it was about time to get some shape back to her head. E joined her later on and we had a walk around the rocks visiting the old pubs - The Hero of Waterloo and the Lord Nelson. Then it was off to Turramurra to meet up with Archie & Helen. We had a good chat over a lovely curry and learnt about Archie's continued rise in the engineering world - see website http://www.engaust.com.au/magazines/ea/100influential2007/top_academia_research.html
On Friday it was another day in the city while M waited for the visas - and they arrived safely. We enjoyed a meal at Nicks in Darling Harbour before another concert - Crosby Stills & Nash. A great evening with so much good music.
Saturday was a leisurely affair followed by an excellent evening at Connie's & Rick's - Jean's old next door neighbours and friends from Gordon. We were treated to great hospitality. The food (all 27 courses!) - was absolutely delicious, and the entertainment, in the form of Karaoke (mainly by Connie, Jean and M), was delightful (?). Sunday was an early Christmas Day - since we will be in Malaysia on Christmas day proper. We had a lovely, restful day while poor Jean slaved over the hot stove - but admittedly with sterling help from M as the scullery maid. She produced a delicious Christmas dinner of oysters and prawns for starter, roast loin of pork with quince paste, mint (although it was 'mint' to be sage) and wrapped in prosciutto with hot salad of fresh green vegetables with lemon, creme fraiche and caper dressing, boiled baby potatoes, followed by semifreddo with cranberries and pistachios covered with melted white chocolate - mmmmmmm!!! We ended the evening in the Christmas tradition with a few phone calls around the world to family and friends - hope they all enjoyed our musical Christmas carolling!! Sorry we didn't get some of you in.
Monday was spent catching up with a few last minute bits and pieces then a trip in to Sydney to pick up some Malaysian Ringits and a meal at Bills restaurant in Surry Hills - mmmmmm again!! Jean was out on a Christmas bash with her work mates having very ordinary pasta and pizza and our text messages about our meal at Bills made her green with envy.