18.12.2010 - 18.12.2010
Day 94 Saturday 18 December - “Darwin to Sydney”
It is pointless comparing the airport of our arrival with that of our departure so I won't, except to comment that it is NOT a spectacular entry to Australia. Overseas visitors would be forgiven for thinking they'd travelled back in time some 20 years. The immigration check was friendly, the young lady was from Eden and appreciated the distance we still had to travel and made us feel welcome.
The dreaded Customs and Quarantine counter loomed. In the past we've been less than comfortable confronting this check, they've inevitably found something we should have declared and we've been lectured and threatened for failing to comply. This time I'm pretty sure we'll be OK to say we have nothing to declare. There's a two way split in the queue, those who have something to declare and those who claim they don't. We're in the second queue where those ahead of us have their luggage scanned and in some instances have their bags opened and searched. For some inexplicable reason we're told to “Just go straight ahead” - no scan, no search !!
Just a little point of poetic justice. We've observed that some of our fellow travellers are not the sort of people we'd invite into our home. They are generally overweight – more so than we are, they wear singlets, shorts and thongs, are pushy and rude and talk very loudly about how many drinks they consumed last night. There was a couple, him and her, on our flight to Darwin, their carry-on luggage was more than we had in total and they picked up their check-through as well. They had claimed nothing to declare, had been scanned and were being searched. The Customs Officer holding up what appeared to be some muffins and asking them why that wasn't declared as food. Couldn't have happened to more deserving people.
Breakfast options at the airport were limited and we 'dined' on a chicken wrap, fries and a bottle of coke. At the appointed time we are asked to board our flight to Sydney, the walk to the aircraft had us thinking we were walking back there.
This JetStar plane must have been fitted out for small people, seats were narrow and leg room just barely adequate for Jenny and we all know she's somewhat vertically challenged. The seats don't recline and due to the overwhelming service provided, my tray-table was used solely as an arm rest. Not even a drink of water, fortunately we had bought two bottles of water in Darwin. Again the flight was not all that long and we stepped off in Sydney vowing to NEVER fly JetStar again.
Just outside the arrival area I was approached by a young woman who asked me where the JetStar lounge was. Being a little less than fully alert I vaguely pointed across to where we'd just arrived. She said “Thanks Dad” and it dawned on me that she was my daughter Melissa from Scone. What the hell was she doing here, how did she find us?? Kisses, hugs and lots of questions as we head off to find a place that sells coffee and a cup of hot water for Jenny.
Their story was almost as involved as ours was. They'd been in Canberra for her company's Christmas Party and decided to detour via the Sydney International Terminal because that's where we were initially meant to arrive. During the 3 months away, the flight number and destination had been changed and we hadn't been aware or had we known would not have bothered to inform anyone.
Coffee and chats completed they set off to drive home and we found the shuttle to take us to our transit hotel just down from Central Station. The Metro Sydney Central is not a flash hotel. It caters to the many Asian tour groups who need a base in Sydney. It suited us and the beds are clean and we crashed in our room. I slept after Jenny sorted out the air-conditioning. The room had been like a freezer and I couldn't stop shivering violently. Not sure it was just the temperature. Anyway, that was the last I remember of our first day back.