In all travel there comes a day that does not go as smoothly as other days. This day was one of those.
Because Uluru is so far away from the populated areas of Australia, we had to fly to Sydney, but the airlines do not provide convenient schedules for this remote pick up. We got to sleep in a little later, but then we had to check out of our hotel by 10:00. We also had to change our carrier to Virgin Australia which had a departure time of 12:05.
We got to the airport super early, and then we had to stand in line forever. Mind you, this is a small airport. Security was tight. I got the wand for the first time. Then we sat some more. 12:05 passed us by. Finally we started to board, but once again, it was slow going. No lunch.
The airplane was old from what I could tell. Once we got aloft, we got our snacks, and most of us were pretty hungry. Well, let’s just say, it wasn’t a well thought out snack. We had barbecued chick peas (hard to describe–little sticks) and a savory muffin. The muffin was cold and dry. (They could have at least warmed it up and given us some butter or spreadable cheese.) Just carbohydrates. No fruit or cookies or cheese or peanut butter. I spilled my tea, but the flight attendants were so busy talking in the back of the plane, I received no help. It was a sorry flight, but at least Garrett had chocolate licorice for us to nibble on.
After we landed in Sydney around 4:30 (in the Uluru time zone), we exited the plane from the back and climbed down the stairs to the tarmac. A woman in front of me was struggling walking. Then when we got to the terminal, we had several more flights of stairs. No help for her, but, as I later learned, we should have exited the normal way from the front of the plane avoiding all the steps. What a crew!
The weather in Sydney is cooler, and it was overcast. Our bus driver got us to The Grace Hotel on narrow streets. Then Brent, the tour director, told us that he had had a sort of nasty encounter with the restaurant that he usually takes his tour groups to in Sydney. (He thinks it might be under new ownership as he has had no trouble in the past. ) So the bus took us to the wharf in Sydney, and we all got off and found our own places to eat tonight.
I was looking forward to a cup of tea, a short blog, and a little relaxation. So, to make a long story short, when I tried to connect to the internet with my iPhone and iPad, nothing happened. Hotel staff tried to help. I ended up in the lobby in my pajamas (covered up) with the very kind manager. “Wait until tomorrow,” he said. So I went up to Garrett and Carol’s room and Garrett started trouble shooting with me. Endless tries to get it working. Carol was exhausted and balled herself up into a sleepy mound. Finally after the last hotel staff guy came up, I realized it was time to call it quits. Garrett, just for a try, pulled out his old iPad, and it connected! Then miraculously mine did too along with the iPhone. What devil was inside of my devices for two + hours tonight!
So my relaxing evening was anything but. I’m posting a few photos. Tomorrow will be a big day. Three tours- one of the city, one of the opera house, and one of the harbor. And oh yes, our guide says, “You’ll probably have time for a half hour of shopping at the end of the day!” Oh, goodie.
Judy wanted me to post of photo of The Grace Hotel. Her little granddaughter is named Grace.