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Australia

Finally HOME !!

Day 95 Sunday 19 December - “Finally HOME !!”

The buffet breakfast menu at the Metro reflects the Asian connection, the dishes on offer were almost identical to those in Singapore – I guess the menu could be described as International more correctly.

Checked out from the hotel and walked up to our bus stop where the bus and driver were waiting. We left at the scheduled time and started our long trek to Moruya. With a number of pick-up points along the way, a 45 minute change-over in Nowra and another 45 minute break in Batemans Bay it took us 7 hours to get to Moruya. The seats on the coach were more comfortable than those on the JetStar aircraft and because we were in the front of the bus we listened to the driver chatting to one of his 'regulars'. A most entertaining time.

In Moruya, Michael was there to ferry us home, a sight for sore eyes. A mountain of mail awaits us and there are two computers that haven't been updated for three months. Jenny starts washing the content of our suitcases while I try to sort the urgent from the important and the also-ran mail. It will take some days to get through all of this.

Great Trip, Great to be Home.

Posted by greynomadm 10:34 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Darwin to Sydney


View 2010 Around the World on greynomadm's travel map.

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.

Posted by greynomadm 10:29 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Down to Seven Days

Sorting the paperwork

overcast 22 °C

What a day!! With only seven days to go we've collected our tickets from the lovely Jo at Flight Centre. We needed a fair sized shopping bag to carry them away. We've spent the afternoon going through all the vouchers and tickets and dates and times and it looks like it will all hang together without problems.

We also contacted DVA and CentreLink to advise them that we'd be overseas for the three months.

I was reminded of a couple who went overseas and found that when they tried to use their credit card the transaction was rejected. They tried again and were told the card had been blocked. They hadn't informed the card company that they would be in Hong Kong. The credit card company was alerted to what they assumed was an unauthorised transaction and blocked the card. Took the shine off their first overseas trip and cost them a few days to get it sorted.

So today I spent a few hours informing my credit card company where we'd be and when. It would be nice to be able to point them to my Travel Map here at TravellersPoint :-)

I also found out that different classes of ticket on different airline flights have different baggage weight limits. Some are very generous but that's not much help when you're travelling with five different carriers. Looks like 20 Kg is the limit. It is proving difficult to pack for the cold climate for three months and stay within that.

Finally, for today, I'd like to comment on the extensive and thorough set of documentation provided by the people at Cartan Tours. Indications are that out train, coach and Fairmont hotel trip from Vancouver to Toronto will be the highlight of the trip. Check out Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Fairmont Banff Springs and the Fairmont Royal York.

Am I getting excited ?? YOU BET !!

Posted by greynomadm 18:04 Archived in Australia Tagged pre-departure Comments (0)

No Power All Day

Wild Storms in the area

storm 25 °C

I've been off the air for most of today. Wild storms brought down power lines in many places, one was just down the road. The tree broken by the storm brought down three spans of overhead power line. I lost power at 0315 this morning and it was restored at 1615 this afternoon.
Praise for the emergency crews that worked long and hard this Fathers' Day.

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Posted by greynomadm 18:56 Archived in Australia Tagged storm damage Comments (0)

Update of the Trip Map

Additional Information for each leg

rain 18 °C

I have added additional detail for each leg of the trip. Stating the arrival and departure times and the hotels we're staying at. I've also include airline and flight details and corrected some date errors.

Posted by greynomadm 16:48 Archived in Australia Tagged final update pre-departure Comments (0)

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