Last June, when I heard the Dodgers & Diamondbacks were going to open the season in Sydney, I knew that was my chance to go Down Under. Once I booked the flights & the hotels, I decided to e-mail these guys, one was Joey Khoudair & the other was Jamil Mannah. Jamil told me his cousin played soccer there. Ironically his brother also now lives in Manhattan after he lived seven years in London, England.
A week or so later, I got an e-mail from Joey saying that he & Jamil indeed remembered me from when they came to NYC. He told me to call him when I got Down Under & we'll take it from there he said. We arrived on Saturday. I decided to wait until I got up Sunday morning to call him. True to my word, I called & I told him I'm with my friend. I mentioned that we had a day trip planned for Wednesday & a sight seeing bus tour on Thursday. I told him to e-mail me when he & Jamil were going to be available. It turned out that Tuesday night make the most sense for all of us. I asked him where they lived. He told me in Hornsby, which is North of Sydney about an hour away by public transport. So I looked on the map & I saw it. With that being said, I told them when we got back to the Circular Quay that we'll take a train ride there. It took about 45 minutes by train since it was rush hour & they skipped a few stops. I spoke to Jamil who e-mailed me back. He said to call him when we get to the train station in Hornsby. I did indeed. He told me to go outside by the taxi stand & Joey will come to pick us up. Shortly thereafter, Joey came along. We shook hands & greeted each other. I also introduced him to the King who I called by his real name which is Mike. We got into the car & we drove a short distance to a place called the Hornsby RSL Club. It was a nice place. In order to go there, you have to be a member which Joey & Jamil are. Mike & I signed in as guests. Once we did, Jamil who was already there, saw me & he came over to greet me. I proceeded to introduce him to Mike aka the King who never met these guys until that night.
We proceeded to sit down at a table where we had some drinks then we all ordered dinner together. I wound up having a nice piece of grilled fish they call barramondi. It came with mixed vegetables that consisted of cauliflower, carrots & string beans. In addition, it came with a slice of steamed pumpkin. It was a tremendous meal. The King ordered a burger with minimum add ons. Joey & Jamil ordered burgers too with the works which included a fried egg on top. They told the King & I quote "this is what you missed out on". We enjoyed our dinner while we conversed back & forth. We told them of our plans for the rest of the trip as well as what we already saw. They got to relive their big trip to the States with us. They went to Los Angeles, Las Vegas & Houston before they came to NYC near the end of their journey. I met them the night before they were heading back home.
As I told them when we were talking, this meet up was the highlight of the trip. We'll to be perfectly honest, it was one of the very many highlights of this amazing journey. I was so thrilled to that I got to meet them while I was there. It was such a wonderful passage of time. I want to personally thank them for their royal treatment. They unexpectedly paid for our meals. That wasn't necessary but they said they didn't forgot how I treated them when they came to NYC. With that being said, they wanted to take care of us. We were very grateful for their generosity. They also told us to go to a place near our hotel called Harry's Cafe De Wheels which is known for their meat pies. They said plenty of celebrities have been there. I told them I will definitely go there before we leave.
When we got done spending precious time with them, Joey drove us back to the train station. The King & I then went back to Potts Point to our hotel to get some sleep since we had to get up early Wednesday morning.
Stay tuned for another special post that will go into detail about that memorable day.
Thank you for reading & following along.