Day 15 - Sydney to San Francisco


It's now been four days since we arrived back in San Francisco. I had planned to write this page on the plane ride home, but I mistakenly checked my notebook computer with the rest of our luggage. Lucky for me it survived the baggage handlers in both the Sydney and San Francisco airports. We're both still adjusting to being home and having to go back to work. I didn't think the time change would effect me much, but I was wrong. I haven't been able to get to sleep before 2 o'clock in the morning since we got home. Neither of us slept on the plane ride home. Next time we're holding out for First Class sleeper seats.

This turned out to be our best vacation together so far. While we were staying at the Windsor in Melbourne we found out that Andrea is pregnant with our first child! I was going to put it on the web page that day, but I figured we should wait until we got home. I wasn't totally convinced that EPTs are 100% accurate. Well Andrea went to the doctor on Tuesday and it's now official, we're going to have a baby. Around June 23, 1997 Alexandra Elaine Martini or Jonathan Kent Martini will be making his or her entrance into the world. We're ecstatic and nervous at the same time. I look at my own father who had three children by my age (31) and wonder how he did it. I guess I'm going to find out!

I thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of the hotels and restaurants that we patronized in Australia. The following recommendations are completely subjective, but I hope that you will find them useful. Thanks for sharing in our vacation. Next destination: Europe in 1999!


Updates:

February 9, 1997: Two weeks ago we found out that our baby had Turner's syndrome. Turner's syndrome is when a female baby is missing one X chromosome. In some cases the baby survives, but we weren't so lucky. Our daughter had a cystic hygroma and several pockets of fluid in her body. Pressure from the fluid prevented her heart and lungs from developing. She died sometime between last Thursday and Saturday. We named her Sydney Faith to remind us of the happiness she brought us in the short time she was here. The good news is that Andrea is doing just fine and there have been no complications. According to the doctors there's very little chance that this will happen again. With any luck we'll be trying to get pregnant again in 3-4 months. I hope to have some good news to post on this page by the end of the summer.

August 14, 1997: Eighteen weeks ago we found out that Andrea was pregnant again. I hesitated to post anything on these pages until we knew that the baby was healthy. Andrea had an amnio about two weeks ago and we got the results yesterday. IT'S A HEALTHY BABY GIRL! The due date is January 23, 1998 which is exactly six months after Sydney was due to be born. So far everything is looking great and the baby is growing so fast that we nicknamed her Bubba. Of course this was before we found out she was a girl. Now we're calling her Bubbette (French for Bubba)! Her real name will be Alexandra (Alex) Elaine Martini after her two grandmothers. I'll post more details to this page in January after she arrives! 8-)

January, 10 1998 @ 4:02 PM (PST): Weighing in at 7 pounds 6 ounces. Standing(?) 20 inches tall. The beautiful Alexandra Elaine Martini!

January 31, 1999: Our beautiful daughter Alexandra was diagnosed on November 10, 1998 with AML Leukemia. It's a very rare form of Leukemia for someone her age, I believe the odds are 2 in 1 million. The good news is that Alex is currently in remission and undergoing chemotherapy.

December 12, 1999: The story continues. Alex relapsed on September 30, 1999. She underwent a cord blood transplant on October 20, 1999 and is doing fantastic. She's officially engrafted and a bone marrow aspirate on December 5th showed no signs of the Leukemia. 

October 19, 2001: Alex relapsed for a third time on September 10, 2001 and has been treated with targeted radiation and IT chemotherapy.

September 7, 2004: Alex is now 17 months post-2nd Transplant and doing well. For more details check out Alex's Leukemia Update page at http://www.alexupdate.com.


 

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Hotel/Restaurant Location Rating
Sydney Marriott
College Street, Sydney Recommended. Good central location. Convenient to the subway (which takes you to the Circular Quay) and the monorail. It's biggest drawback is that it doesn't have a view of Sydney Harbour. We were lucky enough to have a coupon for three free nights at a Marriott, but you should be able to get a rate of about $150/night.
The Windsor Melbourne Recommended. Beautiful Victorian era hotel in the best part of Melbourne. The biggest negatives were the size of the standard room (extremely small) and the outrageous prices for room service ($30/person for a continental breakfast). If you do go, book through a travel agent. When I called the hotel directly they quoted me a room price $50 more than the $140/night rate that I got from Castaway Travel.
Caffe Cento Venti 120 Collins Street, Melbourne Highly Recommended! Some of the best Italian food I've ever had and the best service in Australia. I only wish they would open up a restaurant in San Francisco! If you want to read more about Caffe Cento Venti check out our October 17th page. Dinner for two came to about $70 and it was well worth it.
Fast Eddy's (closed as of 2006) Melbourne Recommended. If you're looking to save a little money while you're in Melbourne this is the place to go. The food is good, cheap, and served in large portions. Breakfast here came to about $16 for two people, compared to $70 at the Windsor. If you do try their milk shakes remember to order it American style. If you don't you'll get chocolate milk.
Claerwen Retreat Apollo Bay, Victoria Recommended. The retreat is situated on top of the hills overlooking the coastline at Apollo Bay and the view is spectacular. Check out our October 19th page for some pictures of the retreat and the view. They serve a great breakfast, but you'll have to go in to Apollo Bay for dinner. If you do go out for dinner you'll probably want to avoid Beaches. We went there and were not impressed by the food or the service. A room in the Country Guest House was about $110/night.
Portland Inn
Portland, Victoria Recommended. A beautifully restored inn built in 1841. The owners, Elaine and Grahame McDonald, are two of the nicest people you'll ever meet and they were extremely helpful . There are two guest rooms in the inn and I'd recommend the one with the queen-size bed and the ensuite bathroom for about $80/night.
Menenia Mininera, Victoria Highly Recommended! Of all the hotels/B&Bs we stayed at in Australia this was our favorite. The cottage that we stayed in was perfect and the owners Adele & Trevor Coutts were great company. Adele is the only chef we found in Australia that could compete with Caffe Cento Venti. The cottage is available for about $80/night and you can get a two course dinner for about $16/person. You'll definitely want to have dinner there. The nearest restaurant is about half an hour away.
Adelaide Hyatt
Adelaide Recommended. We didn't get to spend much time in Adelaide, but we definitely enjoyed staying at this hotel. The room service was reasonable, the food was great, and the view from our room was fantastic. We used a half price coupon from United to get a rate of $125/night. Normal rates probably vary and I'm sure there are casino packages available.
Heron Island Great Barrier Reef Don't bother. Unless you like bird guano you should probably avoid this island especially during the month of October. Their prices are pretty reasonable ($340/night), but the service is lacking and you have to pay for a lot of extras (soda, snorkel gear, dive boats, etc...). Spend the extra money and go to Hayman or Bedarra.
Ritz Carlton Double Bay (now the Stamford Plaza Double Bay) Double Bay, Sydney Recommended. It's a Ritz Carlton. It has a beautiful view of Sydney Harbour and it's in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods of Sydney. Need I say more. We were able to get a rate of $199 with a United coupon, but the normal rate is $329/night. It was definitely a classy way to end our vacation in Australia.
Botticelli Double Bay, Sydney Recommended. This Italian restaurant two blocks from the Ritz Carlton serves the second best Italian food we found in Australia. Andrea had the Seafood Pasta and I had the Veal Scaloppini with minestrone soup, bruschetta, and Tiramasu for dessert. Very popular place with the locals, but you won't need reservations if you eat before 7:00. Dinner for two came to about $70.

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