The Ties That Bind

Sunday, September 07, 2014 Road Junkies 0 Comments

A WANDER DOWN UNDER, CHAPTER 4:  IN WHICH WE GO TO AFTERNOON TEA

Day 5:  Sydney.  In the mid-1800s a family in a little lake town in southwestern Hungary had three sons and two daughters.  As these children grew to adulthood, they moved away from their hometown, as offspring are wont to do.  Successive generations continued this practice until descendants of the original five children were living on at least four far-flung continents.  The ties that bound them together frayed with time and distance though there remained some collective memory of the ancestors who originated in Hungary so many years ago.

A hundred years later, one of those descendants moved to Atlanta, and I was lucky enough to meet and marry him.  Another was born in Australia and currently resides in Sydney.  In anticipation of our visit to the city, Ken spent some time with Google and tracked down this distant cousin with the common Hungarian roots, and Chris graciously invited us to visit his home this afternoon.

In an unexpected but heartwarming gesture, Chris and his lovely wife Olivia had gathered his two brothers and his mother as well as some of their children and spouses to join them for afternoon tea and meet the American cousin.  And all this on Father's Day.  We were humbled and very grateful.

We spent a delightful couple of hours getting to know these relatives and connecting faces and personalities to names on the family tree.  Chris has made a pilgrimage to the little lake town in Hungary and visited the ancestral graves.  He encouraged us to do the same.  Since he and his British-born wife are avid travelers, he suggested that we might connect with them again "on holiday" in some part of the world.  Perhaps some day we will.

As we drove away headed back to our hotel, it dawned  on us that we had been so caught up in getting acquainted with the family that we neglected to take a single photo.


Road Noise: 

Taxi drivers in large cities are usually a mixed bag.  For many years, our experiences with the surly cabbies of New York were consistently negative.  One once screamed expletives at me for neglecting to close the car door after he refused to drive us because he wanted a longer fare.  More recently we've had very polite and even congenial taxi drivers in New York.

Not so in Sydney.  Granted, two incidents form an experience, not a pattern, but these were notably bad.  Both the Sydney drivers we engaged refused to help us with our bags.  Today's driver wouldn't even open his trunk but expected us to pile our backpacks and daybags in the back seat with us, presumably so he wouldn't have to get out into the rain.  We suspected he didn't want to take us because we were going only a short distance and he wanted a more substantial fare.  Bon Qui Qui is alive and well and training taxi drivers in Sydney.

Daily Stats:
  • Started in Sydney, ended in North Ryde
  • Mileage - 71           (Trip total:  9,730)
  • Weather - variable from rain to sun, 52° to 63°
  • Relatives we visited - 9
  • Times Ken turned on the wipers when searching for the turn signal - 18 

Photos from Today

Always a disorienting sight for American drivers
At a park in Palm Beach, we learned that cockatoos are indigenous to Australia
Palm Beach, north of Sydney