I am quoting my brother Jme with the above statement.
This is a story about what should be a simple and painless Mother’s Day lunch.
Firstly, I googled “high tea at swissotel sydney” because I wanted to make a booking for this Sunday. The first thing that comes up is the review of high tea at the Swissotel on the awesome foodie blog Grab your fork. Nowhere on the first Google page is any link to the Swissotel itself. So I look up their site another way and there is NOTHING about the High Tea that is supposed to be offered at their hotel bar/restaurant. Also, there is no phone number easily found on their homepage. Like duh! So I go back to Grab your Fork and there are all the contact details neatly at the end of the review. I call up the hotel:
Rozie: “Hello, I’d like to make a booking for Sunday for High Tea.”
Hotel Girl: “High Tea??? Oh, umm…” Not a good start. She puts me through to the “bar”.
Male with strong Asian accent: Err, Umm, booking? It will be $35…Err, umm, can I have your credit card number… (something about securing the booking).
I kind of didn’t want to give this unprofessional sounding guy my credit card details, but I did because I didn’t want to miss out on the Mother’s Day booking. So I give him all the booking details a “normal” place would need. I got off the phone with a slightly bad feeling…
Sunday (Mother’s Day) comes along and I need to add one person to the booking. So I get my brother to call up.
Jme: “Hi, I’d like to confirm a booking for today and add one more person, here is the name, time etc”
Hotel person: “Err umm, ummmmmm… we don’t have your booking”.
Anyway, Jme made sure that there would be a table for us when we arrived at Swissotel an hour later.
So, the service when we arrived was a bit random, most of the staff are young and obviously inexperienced. On a positive note, there was plenty of food and a lot of variety from savoury to sweet which was nicely presented. The chocolate fountain didn’t seem to be working properly and the chocolate tasted a bit yuck which was a disappointment. It was quite busy but the place wasn’t packed out. When it came to paying the bill, I noticed that it said $45 per person. I think it was the manager who was taking our money. I told him that the guy on the phone told me it was $35. The “manager” said it was actually $45 because it was Mother’s Day. At this point, I decided to tell him all about my previous experience with this lunch. He was somewhat apologetic and exasperated. I know that there is a shortage of decent wait staff in this city… but that ain’t my problem. The manager of this hotel needs to get the staff’s $hit together. He did give me a small box of chocolates (as some kind of compensation) but that’s not going to stop me blogging with an iron fist. So, I gave him my business card, and now I wait to see if the Swissotel will follow up on my complaints. Of course, this is not the only place I’ve been to in Sydney with questionable service, but I just haven’t the time to blog about every experience. Wish I was a professional blogger!
Phew – glad I got that of my chest.
I am quoting my brother Jme with the above statement.
Alright, better get those coats ready.
Now: 10°C Min: 9°C
The older I get, the more I really think about Anzac Day and why we get a day off. Imagine if every guy you knew between the age of 18 to 50 was sent overseas to fight in a war against a far away enemy and some of them never came back. Kids today… they don’t know what it would be like. Anyway, I thank the people that gave their lives, so my family could come to Australia over 50 years ago (that’s a long story, I’ll tell you another day) and live happily ever after (sort of).
So I didn’t do much this weekend:
Baked some Anzac biscuits
Watched the Anzac Day parade on TV
Catch up with old uni mates
Yum Cha for Nadia’s B’day
Made a roast
Bill Viola: the Tristan project @ St. Saviour’s Church, Redfern
Laundry x 3 loads
Lunch with Thommy
Practiced parallel parking
Update my flickr pics
It’s overcast, cloudy, with occasional showers but, it AIN’T THAT COLD! Put your coats away at least for another month, biatches.
This year I decided to volunteer at the Surry Hills Festival. The festival is the major fundraising event for the Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre. The neighbourhood centre provides childcare, seniors & new immigrant’s activities, support, assistance and information for people who are underprivileged or marginalised in the local community. This, my friends is a good thing because not everyone has a mortgaged roof over their head, lots of friends to party with and their mental health.
So on Saturday morning (9:30am), Dave dropped me off at Prince Alfred Park and I made my way down to the Volunteer’s tent. My job was to be a spruiker and gold coin donation collector. I was given a megaphone and told to welcome people to the festival, ask for donations and tell people about the festival. I had done my homework before the event because I was taking the spruiker position seriously.
What I found interesting was that all the volunteers I met did not live in the Surry Hills area. Most of the volunteers were there because they “had to”, for example as part of their work experience for an event management course. I guess I’m disappointed that more people from the community didn’t make the effort to assist with the mammoth event that it was. Well at least they turned up in their thousands to enjoy the day. It seemed that there were a lot more volunteers earlier in the day, by lunchtime, there weren’t enough people to replace those who were on long shifts. I “worked” from 9:30am til 3:30pm and only got one break. So perhaps there needs to be an effort to encourage more helpers in the afternoon next year. The were more than a hundred volunteers doing all sorts of things like organising the dog show, setting up and bumping in as well as collecting donations. I only spoke to those collecting donations though.
As someone who has organised a few events myself, I could imagine what a freaking nightmare organising the Surry Hills Festival would have been. I was also informed that the festival was brought forward about 5 months due to the Council doing work on the park (which they later postponed, but it was too late to change the date). I really have to praise the organising team because unlike say: Big Day Out, Good Vibrations or V Festival, they aren’t doing this for their own profit. All the the money raised goes to the Neighbourhood Centre. I would say the 95% of people who turned up gave a donation of at least a dollar which is great. Though some people (who clearly didn’t look poor or underprivileged) tried to ignore the donation buckets being waved at them. It was a great day with beautiful weather, lots and lots of people and a good time was had by all (I hope).
Check out some pics here. They aren’t very good because I was busy volunteering and didn’t take my good camera.
I’ve slowly been adding to the Town Hall Steps group. I’ve found it a bit hard to find the time between having to have a SHORT lunch break due to too much work and keeping up with my exercise regime. Anyway – I thought this girl was interesting and she sounded like she’d had a BIG weekend. I’m pretty surprised by the amount of information some people will give me and up until yesterday, no-one had refused me. I even asked the guy if I could take a pic of his shoes if he didn’t want his face on the blog – but he was adamant that I should leave him alone.
So I finally created the Flickr group for Sydney Town Hall Steps. I’ve wanted to do some kind of photo-blog project about people waiting at Town Hall Steps for a long time. I used to wait there for friends as a teenager during school holidays or as a “young-adult-raver” before a big night out. I don’t hang out there anymore because I’m certainly not a teenager with nothing to do… but I do walk past it everyday on the way to work. When Dave & I lived in the burbs, we drove to the city and it became “inconvenient” to meet people there. Obviously for hundreds or Sydney-siders and visitors it is a very central and convenient place to meet.
Please stay tuned for photos on the Sydney Town Hall Steps Flickr group
Feel free to join the group and contribute.
Now, I just have to pluck up the courage to start asking strangers if I can take their photo. I seem to be able to do it at gigs for ITM. I wonder about all those different people waiting…waiting…waiting…
Last week was pretty quiet one. I went home sick from work twice, so was feeling rather crap the whole week. When I went to see the doctor (my normal medical centre but a new doctor in the house that day) something a bit odd happened. The doctor asked me “how my faith was”, then told me he was a minister. Then he asked if he could pray for me. I am not religious, so I found this quite weird but I said he could if he wanted to. So he did.
I had tickets to Caribou but didn’t go because I was sick, so Mr T went with Dave to the Beck’s Bar. On Saturday we had a nice lunch at Danks St Depot. We tried to go to Sopra but there was a 45 minute wait. What annoys me is that I want to “support” my local cafe/restaurants but “they are so trendy” that EVERYONE wants to go there. We still had to wait about 20 minutes for our table at DSD at 2pm-ish. Later that day, we attended Au Revoir Parapluie at the Sydney Theatre for Sydney Festival. It was a mixture of circus, mime, song and dance – quite abstract but fascinating to see what one can do with their body!
I just saw the worst live performance of a cover version on Rage this morning. It was Swoop performing “Do that To Me One More Time” on Recovery. That was freaking awful!!! They couldn’t sing properly and – what the hell were those guys wearing? Now, I am a advocate of the glory of 80s and 90s fashions – sometimes bad is good – but – that was crap! They must really be bad because there is hardly anything on the www about them so I can’t even reference any article about them. Here’s what I found. The past couple of weeks have been great for old music videos on Rage & Video Hits. Stay tuned.
Well it was big night, shame about the drizzly rain but at least it didn’t pour. Plenty of people were out in the city to experience lots of great bands, singers and entertainment from the 2008 Sydney Festival Program. It kind of felt like NYE but better! We made our way to Martin Place to see Chromeo. We were not too far back, arriving about 40 minutes before they were meant to start (then they were 15 mins late). The DJ before hand played a big mix of hits and mashups which got the crowd jumping. As to be expected at these things, there was a fair amount pushing in and projectile throwing. The MC for this event looked like the same guy who MC’d at the HP Art in Motion Coldcut gig – he had got a caning on the ITM forums and it seems he heeded this info by getting some “trendy” sunglasses and wearing his cap sideways I know he’s just doing his job. This part of FFN was well organised with free water stands and first aid & toilets close by. When we left this area after Chromeo (who were really good, but we’re seeing them at the Beck’s Bar too), there was a mad crush to get through. We wandered around the various areas for a while, then decided to get food in Hyde Park. This was the crap part – you had to buy food voucher tickets to get your food. There appeared to be only one stand to buy these and the line had about 100 people in it. So we skipped that and went straight to the numerous ice-cream vans around the park. Next we went to check out Spank Rock in the Phillip Street area. It was very crowded here and the sound was too low (even for my liking – btw I have my new musicians earplugs – they’re awesome). It’s a concert for f’sake – maybe there was a technical hitch – because Fuzzy are very experienced in organising these kinds of events and they would know better right? Anyway, when Spank Rock came on it was kind of a let down because you couldn’t hear them properly and then someone threw a glass bottle and I said “let’s get the xxxx out of here”. So we went to Chinatown and had a nice big, fast, delicious late night dinner.