Today, I fell in love. Again. I’ve fallen in love a great number of times in the last month with all the people that have helped me unexpectedly in little or extraordinary ways. Today, it was Alfred. Here’s my plug for the Four Points Sheraton in Sydney – best concierge desk EVER!!! I thought to myself, “Why not ask them if they know where I can go to ship my luggage?” Ohhhh no… They didn’t tell me where to go, they did all the work for me! And when I mentioned I’d considered Greyhound, Alfred didn’t say, “Great idea, call them instead of the super expensive companies we use.” HE called. Weighed my bags, measured my bags, got the quoted information, offered to store my bags until a later date until I’d be at “home” before he shipped them off with Greyhound. How terrific. All my concerns about cost and ordeal about luggage taken care of in mere seconds. Well, it was more like 20 minutes of standing around waiting – I’d have waited plenty longer! And to top it all off, my heavy-ass suitcases were brought back up to my room for me. Beauty.
Well, despite the most magical part of my vacation/life in Australia so far being luggage shipping, I have been having a marvelous time. Tuesday night I arrived at the Kelowna Airport ready for anything! Now, when I say ready, I mean it. I had some Isagenix bars and Slim Cakes to keep me fed, gum, mints, and Halls. I had a Sudoku book, a brand-new juicy novel, a cheesy romance novel requiring zero brain power, two ‘personal development’ type books, my Australia travel book for planning my Sydney and Melbourne days, five 40-minute television show episodes downloaded on my laptop, my iPod with music and games all charged up, and three notebooks to write in should the desire strike. I had plenty prepared to keep me busy for 15. 5 hours on the plane from Vancouver to Sydney. Despite this (over?) preparation, I was wary of getting started on it too early. So, I did nothing at the Kelowna airport aside from about five minutes of writing. At the Vancouver airport I went as far as reading about 8 pages of my new book and listening to my iPod for about 17 minutes.
So, after the two delays, I finally get onto the plane all ready to roll with my “stuff to do” … and promptly put on a movie (LOTS of choices! Go Air Canada!), ate dinner, and fell asleep. Halfway through we got a snack, bathroom/stretch break, and …back to sleep. Three quarters of the way there, I managed to read about another 8 pages of my book, then watched another two movies, ate breakfast and FINALLY got to look out the window. So…. didn’t really need ANY of what I brought. And even though from my description you may think the flight was a walk in the park and it just flew by, by the last four hours I was dreading the thought of having to do it all over again … in a year. I don’t know how people travel to Australia for a quick two-day business trip. Utter cruelty.
Pleasantly enough, getting off the plane, finding luggage (and a CART which was what I was most stressed about – I know, messed up – it was free and easy as pie), going through customs, finding a shuttle, getting a ride to the hotel WAS like a walk in the park. After the shuttle driver dumped my two 50 lb suitcases, 20 lb carry-on suitcase, laptop bag, and purse it was a slightly different story. I did have some ‘new friends’ help me get it all to the check-in desk and onto the elevator, but once we hit my floor I was on my own! And somehow, I managed to drag two suitcases with one hand, toss the other bags over my shoulders and drag along the last suitcase with my other. I was completely exhausted and disgusting by the time the door closed behind me. Everything was dropped unceremoniously to the floor and I barely managed to get out my toothbrush and facewash before I was in the hot shower. It’s amazing what travel can do. I’ve been camping in the dirt, sand, rain, bug spray, suntan lotion, etc, for three days or more and yet have never felt so greasy and coated in…something… EVER. So yes, the shower was quite miraculous. I even made it out of the hotel room after about an hour and saw the sights.
Although I didn’t even know the Harbour Bridge existed until a few days ago, and never thought much about the Opera House, it was pretty incredible when the bits of the bridge suddenly peeped out from behind the giant skyscrapers. WOW! I think it was the shock of ‘HOLY SHIT, I AM ACTUALLY ACROSS THE WORLD IN AUSTRALIA” more than anything else. So, got into Circular Quay, admired the bridge, saw a giant cruise ship, found a bench to sit on and BAM – there’s the Opera House just hangin’ out on the other side of the Harbour. Again, “Wow, I’m actually sitting right here, looking at the real thing!”
Well, that will have to end today’s entry as I seem to be overwhelming the blog with too many words and pictures – everything is going wonky – so I’ll continue tomorrow!