In May 2008, I went travelling on my own for the first time and was out of England for a month. Along the way I took in Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and Thailand before coming home. I kept a journal of my time on the road, so here’s a day by day account of my trials and tribulations that has the undeserved title of Dave’s Odyssey.
Day 28 – Sydney
I took the chance of a lie in this morning but was still having breakfast at 8.00. A chat with my two ‘grandmothers’ divulged a bit of gossip about the merry band from last night that went out for further drinking at the Lord Nelson. It turned out they continued to be so rowdy that the staff refused to serve them any more alcohol and they were asked to leave. Worse followed with Jackie and her husband – Giancarlo – escorted back to the hotel in a police car! Giancarlo informed us it was because Jackie was feeling unwell and they couldn’t get a taxi. When the police enquired out of curiosity they offered to escort the inebriated couple home. I was glad I opted to head back to the hotel early last night.
Our coach to the airport was due at 2.00 but we had to check out at 11.00. Afterwards I had decided on a wander around Sydney. I ended up in Hyde Park and found myself a quiet spot for a read. It turned out to be the worst place to sit. First, a beggar approached me. He expressed how cool I looked which had me worried then asked if I had change to spare. He was very polite even when I insisted I had nothing, which was true.
Next up was a couple from our tour group that stopped by for a quick chat. Then another group of tourists approached me to take a group photo of them. With that, I decided to move on before someone else spoke to me. Before going back to the hotel, I had another wander round the shops and found the route back to the Travelodge was straightforward, compared to my experience of previous cities.
The majority of the group was already waiting in the lobby when I showed up. I was very surprised when Alex handed me my card to access my hotel room. He’d told us to leave our luggage in the rooms even though we were checking out, so my first thought was I must have misheard him or something. Instead he informed us that we would be spending a fourth night in Sydney. Engineers had gone on strike leaving Quantas no choice but to cancel the flight to Bangkok.
Now, there were a few repercussions from the cancellation. First of all, some members of the group had flights/trains/coaches from Heathrow booked for Wednesday. Alex took details of all these people and assured us he would get answers a.s.a.p. I was looking to sort out my train tickets on my return so there was no inconvenience for me but I was concerned for other people though.
The only consolation was that Quantas had agreed to pay for our dinner at the hotel in the evening and contribute to breakfast the following morning. The new flight was arranged for 7.00 a.m., which meant a 4.00 a.m. wake-up call!! Alex would have a better idea of the situation by the evening. Either we’d have a day less in Thailand and still return on Wednesday or have an extension and come back Thursday.
Our dinner was at 7.00 that evening and for a free meal it was pretty good. In fairness to the hotel they’d been informed at the last minute of the situation so did well to accommodate us. Alex informed us that our time in Thailand would be reduced to one night, meaning our original plan of returning on Wednesday was still going ahead. It would have meant serious disruption to a lot of people to have it any other way, but this was all still provisional so everything could change before then.
I did confirm the time situation again for tomorrow. Our bags were to be outside the rooms at 4.00 a.m., we’d meet in the lobby at 4.45 and leave at 5.00. We would reach Thailand early afternoon and have one night to recover before that 12-hour flight back to London. It was going to be tiring over the next few days.
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