Saturday, January 19, 2013

Spectacular Sydney Australia!

As our plane was on final approach, I looked out at the beautiful lights of the Sydney skyline and commented to Joe that we were going to love it here...and we did! In fact, we both agree that in many ways it felt much like home.

Our accommodations were in the heart of an area known as The Rocks. The proximity to the Sydney Harbour, Opera House, Harbour Bay Bridge, and many charming shops and restaurants was absolutely fantastic. Even more wonderful, was the roof top pool with views to die for, and the perfect location for the upcoming "High Tea" with the Mrs. and Miss Australia International ladies.

The first adventure for us, and a must for Joe, was securing our tickets for the bridge climb. Along with the ticket purchase we were given access to the observation tower, which displays historic artifacts, photos, and a video about the bridge. We both found the information about this bridge, which took nearly eight years to build, fascinating. My favorite detail is the nickname given to the structure as "The Iron Lung." Construction commenced prior to the collapse of the American stock market and the beginning of the Great Depression. Even though the cost to build was high, during a time of 32% unemployment in Australia, the construction forged on and the bridge kept men working at a critical time in history. We took photos from the observation tower as these are the only photos allowed on the bridge, because no cameras may be taken on the climb itself...and we shipped the photos taken during our climb by our guide home, so I will have to deliver proof of our climb after returning to the states. 

Sydney Opera House from the observation tower on the Harbour Bridge.

The locals also call the bridge the "Coat Hanger." 

Mr. & Mrs. International down under! 

View from our hotel rooftop. 

Enjoying the Cove. 

An Aborigine entertaining on the wharf.

Before our twilight climb, we walked along the wharf to one of the most famous icons of Australia, the Sydney Opera House. What a wonderful treat we were given by the very well spoken director of the Australia International Pageants, Sylvie Boutros and our very own glowing Mrs. Australia International 2012, Veronica Cristovas, as we thoroughly enjoyed the guided tour of this stunning architectural structure.

After our tour, we had just enough time to stop at a local pub for dinner before our three and a half hour climb to the very top of the Sydney Harbour Bay Bridge! If you ever get to Sydney, please do consider the climb, as it is truly spectacular! After a gearing up and completing a training program, we were finally ready to start our ascent up the bridge. The twilight climb brings you up in the daylight, and the decent is in darkness with the light of the city and a headlamp to guide you. What a blast! 

Dinner in a local pub in the Orient Hotel. 

Thrilled to see Veronica again! 

High Tea with the Mrs. & Miss Australia International contestants. 


What an opportunity and an honor to carry the crown and the message of the International system to Australia. 

Beautiful day and beautiful ladies! 


Our second day in Australia was equally as wonderful, and I have to say I was so very excited to see Veronica and Sylvie, to meet the contestants, and to experience my first "high tea!" It turned out to be a gorgeous day on the rooftop, filled with some wonderful conversations, and hopefully the message I shared with the ladies will help them have the best journey possible within this International pageant system. To the Australia International contestants, it was an honor to spend time with each of you and thank you for making the trek to our gathering. Also, warmest wishes and much appreciation to Sylvie and Veronica! Enjoy the photos:

After the lovely tea with yummy scones, my pageant world and burn world connected, as Sylvie and Veronica joined Joe and me for dinner, along with the founder of the Phoenix Society Alan Breslau and his wife Delwyn, who flew in from New Zealand. We enjoyed a wonderful meal at the Italian Village along the wharf, and shared in a nice exchange of devotion to charitable causes and generally enjoyed our time together. 

Delwyn, Alan, Joe, me, Veronica and Sylvie.

Our third day included another merging of worlds, between burn survivors and my fabulous HBS classmate Chris Bridges-Taylor and her wonderful husband Scott. But first, we shared lunch with Alan, Delwyn, and Cheryl Sobczyk who is a burn survivor from Australia and traveled more than an hour to Melbourne and then flew into Sydney to join us. 

Later we added the unforgettable Debra, a survivor from Sydney to our group, and we all shared in a truly memorable conversation. In mid-afternoon, Chris and Scott were able to join in on the exchange, which was really a celebration of connecting people. I can not possible thank all of you enough for sharing your time with us. 

Alan, Delwyn, Joe, Cheryl and me. 

Alan, Cheryl, me, Debra, Delwyn, and in back Scott and Chris.

In our final hours in Australia, we had a chance to visit with Chris and Scott, which was topped off with a fabulous dinner at Cafe Sydney located in the Customs House just across from the Sydney Cove. Joe and I both appreciate the gracious hospitality from Chris and Scott...thank you so very much!

Chris, me, Scott and Joe.

With love and appreciation to all,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

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