“It’s just not fair,” I wailed.
I wailed because I saw buttery yellow sunlight creasing the clouds, and because it was disembarkation day for our 14-day cruise of New Zealand and Australia, and our last day in Sydney, Australia.
We had arrived in port two nights prior, but had only one rain-filled day to explore this massive port city, with its famous Opera House, gorgeous old heritage buildings, and infamous convict history.
But that’s beside the point ‘cause now I am just mad at you, Sydney. And that’s very strange since we (my husband and I) had vowed we had no interest in visiting Sydney. Ever. And that makes me even madder.
You could have told me sooner that I was going to love your harbour, that I was going to love your city streets and your people, that I was going to adore The Rocks, and that you had so much to offer. I would have made different plans.
And now it’s too late; we are leaving. (Or so I thought.)
Things are never as they seem…read on…
I had packed for several hours the night before; 12 bottles of New Zealand wine take a lot of careful wrapping. I was crabby; I wasn’t ready to get off the boat. Hmmph! Maybe I’ll just sit here. Make them come to get me. Ah, but a 20-hour plane adventure lay ahead. So, I adjourned to the Celebrity Theatre to await our call to disembarkation.
It came too soon. We joined hundreds of other passengers as we wound our way through Australian customs. That’s where the rascals absconded with my macadamia nuts! (I had stupidly taken the nuts out of their brand name bag and Australian Customs is very strict about foods entering its domain. No proof that the nuts had been commercially processed? Then, no nuts. Into the garbage they went.)
Fine, I thought. Just fine. There goes my lunch; now I’ll have to eat airline food. Fine. I was getting crabbier.
That’s when I saw the baggage room, and the lack of baggage carts. How in heck were we going to get our 4 big suitcases and our 4 carry-ons to our waiting bus? And where did all those young virile soccer players come from? I hadn’t noticed them on the ship.
Well, the boys weren’t soccer players; they were Svitzer boys (luggage wranglers) complete with yellow jerseys and large muscles. The boys came from all over; carrying our luggage was a part-time job they did when ships were in port. Hmmph, I thought. At least something is going right.
Our luggage was loaded beneath our bus, and my husband and I got on board. I slumped into a seat, wishing I could stay in the sunshine instead. Hmmph!
The bus began to move; it traveled for about 2 minutes away from the pier, and then pulled to a stop outside a building called, “The Menzies.” What the heck is The Menzies? And why are we stopping here?
That’s when the clouds began to part; we weren’t leaving Sydney, at least not just yet. What I didn’t know is that we were being put into a holding area, at the Menzies Hotel, while awaiting our flights. Really? REALLY? I had to know the details.
We were told our luggage would remain securely on a locked bus, and that the Menzies Hotel’s “Australia Ballroom” was ready to receive us, complete with comfortable chairs and refreshments. We would stay here until it was time to go to the airport. Really? We would be leaving at 1:30; it was only 10:30. I counted on my fingers…1-2-3. 3 hours to see more of Sydney!
“BONUS!” I exclaimed as I dove off the bus, husband in tow; he was not quite sure where we were headed but he knew I couldn’t be stopped. Not now. Not with 3 hours to explore. And with Wynyard Station just across the street.
“C’mon,” I said to my bewildered husband. “Let’s catch a train.”
And so we did.
A special thanks to Celebrity for saving us from hours of sitting in a boring airport, in uncomfortable airport chairs. A bonus dash around Sydney in search of new adventures was so much better. Especially since one of those adventures was the Powerhouse Museum and the Princess Diana exhibit. (But that’s for a future blog entry – you won’t want to miss it if you are a fan of the late princess.)
But, Sydney, I am still mad at you. You could have told me sooner how much I’d hate leaving you.
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