Thursday, February 26, 2009

On the Move

It is almost nine years since I was last in Australia. It was the year 2000 in fact, when we went for the OS's mother's 100th birthday party.

Today we take the long flight, 15 hours, from Vancouver to Sydney. That I am not looking forward to at all and I only wish they would make the cost of business class travel less outrageous for I would willing pay double, maybe even four times, as they charge to fly to Europe, but eight times! I'm afraid I just can't bring myself to spring for that. To add insult to injury they charge a $350 fuel surcharge which seems incredible given that the price of crude oil had dropped to around US $40 a barrel again. It seems like just another money grab by Air Canada, who even so managed to lose $2 billion dollars in the last fiscal year. In fact I hope they don't go bankrupt before we return in early April which has been bandied about.

Now the flight is direct, with no stopovers at all. When we first went back to Sydney from here, in 1963, the flight was 22 hours, with stopovers at Honolulu and Fiji. Sometimes, over the years, we took the opportunity to break the journey for a few days at one or other place on the way. Now that is no longer an option. I am hoping to sleep for most of the trip, since it leaves just before midnight. On the other hand I am petrified of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), sometimes charmingly known as Economy Class Syndrome and knew someone who died from it in the Glasgow airport after a flight from Vancouver, so I have to make sure I keep the circulation in the legs moving.

The other problem is that you arrive in Sydney at 9 am and check in time at the hotel is 2 pm. I like to get onto local time immediately but that means a whole day ahead of us after we land. Still, while Sydney is officially 19 hours ahead of us, in practical terms it is just a five hour time difference, so I have always adjusted relatively easily. However it's been a while and I'm not getting any younger. We shall see.

We have no relatives in Sydney now since they all have moved away, so we will be staying for two nights at a small boutique hotel, The Rendezvous Stafford, before we leave on a 17 day cruise on the Volendam, seen above, from Sydney, down the east coast of Australia and across to and around New Zealand and back to Sydney. My favourite area of Sydney is the Rocks, the original settlement area of Sydney and which is right on the harbour, close by the Sydney Harbour Bridge and I am willing to pay a premium to stay there. It is right downtown, on the harbour front near Circular Quay, the ferry terminal, opposite the Sydney Opera House and within walking distance of the central business area, but relatively quiet. Above you can see a view from the hotel penthouse, which we will not be occupying but there is a rooftop viewing area.

After the cruise we will stay with several different relatives and make our first visit to Perth, to spend a few days with the friends we made when they spent a sabbatical in Vancouver last year.

Naturally I will be taking my computer and will have online access most of the time so hopefully I can share with you some of the highlights of this trip to the land of my birth and of my heart. After all, Once an Aussie always an Aussie.


Crushed said...

Enjoy your hols...

15 hours, I think it takes longer from here to Australia. Of course, we go the other way round. One instinctively sees that as normal, I guess, because one bisualises the world in map form. Canada is top left, Australia is bottom right. It takes a slight mind shift to recall that Vancouver and LA face asia and are nearer to Asia than Europe.

sally in norfolk said...

hope you have a safe journey... will be interesting to know how you get on with such a long flight as you know i have a 14 hour one in june and having never flown for more than 3 hours before i dont really know what to expect

CherryPie said...

I think it sounds like a wonderful adventure :-)

Ian Lidster said...

Say hello to my very old and cherished friends John and Joy if you bump into them. They're very nice and great fun.

Seriously, though, I hope the flight went without a hitch. We did 13 hours getting to the Cooks, but that was in two parts, so not quite as bad.

Sean Jeating said...

Bon voyage!

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

Safe paths JMB. I know just what you mean about the cost of business class, it seems a rip off.

It's not like I want fawning on, just some decent leg room. A chance to recline without being in the lap of the person behind. Bad enough the US/UK flight, especially with California, but Oz is really some trip.

I always wear those flight socks, try to drink water and do little exercises to stave DVT off.

I do have a tenancy to not drink enough water, so I don't have to disturb everyone going to the rest room. Sometimes you cant get by anyway what with the trolleys and a lap full of tray.

Carver said...

I hope you have a wonderful trip JMB and that you are able to sleep on the flight. I'll look forward to your photographs and travel adventure posts.

YTSL said...

Hi jmb --

Guess you'll be too busy enjoying yourself to be Photo Hunting this weekend. Never mind. Have a feeling that you'll be sharing lots of posts and photos that will be fun to check out in its stead. :)

Hope you and "the old scientist" have a great cruise! :)

stan said...

THat is a very long haul! 22 hrs?!!

Isn't Australia just an amazing country to visit? It's kinda expensive still to visit Down Under from Asia.

Janice Thomson said...

Hope you have a wonderful wonderful time!

okrebecca said...

happy travels and safe skies <3