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Melbourne, Australia: Day 1

Posted Monday, June 19th, 2006 6:57:00 am
What a day. Or two.

It all started back on Saturday morning when Kathy and I had begun our fixing up the old laptop, Sparky Jr., preparing it for service in Australia with us. Perhaps the fact that it rebooted several times while trying to install Windows was a sign of things to come.

We started running late, and in the process forgot our jackets and the US to Australian power convertor for our powered things. Oh well, too late. We walked into the terminal at 6:10pm, 55 minutes shy of our flight time, and paniced when the kiosks didn't recognize that I had reservations to Melbourne, Australia.

No worries, the attendant was wonderful in figuring us out. So helpful was she that she discovered an earlier flight that had been delayed that we could get on to! We thought we had a great deal.

Instead, we just been had.

The flight continued to be delayed, and did not take off until about 4 hours after it was scheduled to, leaving us in Los Angeles at 11pm, rushing around an airport neither of us have ever been to before to get to a 11:40pm flight. We were in terminal 6, and found out we had to go to terminal 4. When we got to terminal 4, we were told it was for Sydney only, so we had to go to terminal 3.

Terminal 3 was, in short, hell on earth. It was quite simply a sea of people, and I have never been pushed around by people I've never met before. They were just rude, brash, and unapologetic. The lines were all nightmares, and Qantas was over in the far corner of the terminal, causing us to go through this sea of people.

The lines there were not long, but they were slow in serving us. When we got to the desk, we were assured we'd make our flight, and sure enough, after "expedited security" (really, just a shorter line, you still have to do the routine, and getting through it took about 15 minutes), we got to the gate at midnight, just in time to hear our row being called.

Surprisingly, the 15 hour flight was not only event free, but the most pleasant part of the journey so far. Two nice meals, great service, and lots of sleep for me.

Kathy and I finally make it to Melbourne, make it through customs in uneventful fashion, and get to the baggage claim, where we waited.

...and waited...

...and waited...

Finally the baggage collection area shut off, and we were told nothing else was coming. Hmph. We filed a claim, and was told one of the bags never left Houston!!!

So here we were, in the middle of a city we're unfamiliar with, with only a laptop, IDs and passports, and some check cards. No clothing, no extra necesseties, nothing. We left the airport via shuttle for the hotel, where we were told our early checkin was for 11:30. It was 10:30. So we went downstairs, bought some jackets, and had lunch.

I've never had chicken parmesian (don't ask me how to spell that) in a sandwich before, it was actually quite nice. Kathy had some lasagna she was impartial to, but otherwise a good meal to keep us going.

We wanted to go into downtown to hit the Qantas travel center, so we decided to take the tram. Bad idea. First of all, I had no idea that it cost so much to get onto the tram, it was $2.30. Secondly, I had $4.30. Oops. We got off at the next stop, faces red in embarassment.

Then we made it down, via foot, the 3 blocks to the Qantas travel center, and found out that we could get $100 of free Australian cash per bag lost. Cool, $200 quick cash to pick us up new clothes! We hit a target another 3 blocks away, and then walked all the way back to the hotel where Kathy crashed.

I was about to, but then I got on here to document our first day. Now I'm going out to meet with Thorn of TTR fame for some grub. Our bags should arrive tomorrow, though we'll be hitting Surfers Paradise to meet up with some friends of ours and spend the day there. I'll likely report again after that. Until then, g'day mate!

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