Laugh at Us… WITH Us!
One really has to laugh... especially if you ever plan to travel with us. We left Atlanta at 7 PM on Friday evening. That morning, minutes before we had to leave to meet the builders at our house site, the Lovebug realized his passport expired in four days... while we would be in Sydney. I told him it wouldn't be a bad place for him to have to live. While in panic mode, searching online about how to update his passport immediately, the Lovebug discovered that a person must have a Visa in order to enter Australia. Panicking further, he CANCELED our hotel reservation (yes, he did)! We raced out to have our meeting with the builder and then Steve headed downtown to the Atlanta passport office to see if he could get his passport updated. In the meantime, Kelsey and I looked up the Australia Visa thing. Turns out it's a form you complete online, pay $50, and there you have it - a Visa to Australia. Not a trip-canceling ordeal by any means.
By 2 PM, goober Lovebug had a brand new passport for a mere $190. Visa – CHECK. Passport – CHECK. Hotel room – NO! He called Hotels.com to try to get our canceled room back, but ... you guessed it. No longer available. The Hotels.com person said there were only three hotels with any availability in all of Sydney. One at $500 a night and the two others were for backpackers. "Can I cancel the $500 a night room if I need to?" asked the Lovebug, who planned on conducting his own hotel search. Since the answer was yes, he could cancel, he booked that $500 a night room (BA HA HA HA HA)! And yes, he canceled that same room, after finding a place that got 4 stars and had good customer reviews. All of this was happening unbeknownst to me, as I was getting all groomed up for the trip (mani/pedi and haircut, all horribly overdue). I felt like Humpty Dumpty being put together again. Steve did confer with me before booking our stay at the Art Hotel. At that point in time, I didn't care where we stayed and I felt so bad for him that I would have agreed to just about anything so he would be able to relax.
So we fly our 20 hours on three planes to get to Sydney and upon arrival, we have a text on my phone that reads, "I have your bag. Call me." There was a US number that had come from a 202 area code. Steve recognized it as D.C. number and we laughed it off, joking that we had all of our bags with us and how is it scammers figure out so quickly where you're at, etc. etc. etc.
We got to our hotel room at the Art Hotel and were anxious to get outside for two reasons: 1) we needed to WALK after all that sitting, and 2) the weather forecast was "a shower or two." The sun was, at that moment, peeking out from behind the thick clouds and we wanted to enjoy the sunny, shower-less time outdoors.
I opened my suitcase to get my walking shoes and immediately realized the items inside were not mine. "Steve! This isn't my suitcase!" We tried for about 30 minutes to contact the luggage department of the airline and couldn't get an answer. We decided we'd deal with it later and off we went to see Sydney Harbor and the Opera House. We actually squeezed in a lot of beauty in a short afternoon. We walked through a magnificent city garden and an amazing botanical garden on the way to the Opera House. We marveled at the Opera House and then took a ferry boat to "Manly Beach." We walked around there and had Starbuck's (yes, I have become a Starbuck junkie) before ferrying back at dusk. It was on the ferry that the Lovebug had an epiphany. “’I HAVE YOUR BAG. CALL ME.’ Oh, my God! That was from the person whose bag we have!” We can be pretty slow sometimes. All I could do was laugh.
We decided to take the bus back to the hotel as it was dark by the time we got off the ferry. We asked a young woman at the bus stop for assistance and learned that our hotel is in a "colorful" area of town. When we got off the bus, a few blocks from our hotel, we started noticing some of the names of the local establishments. Our two favorites were the liquor store, cleverly called "Lick-Her Here," and "the Tool Box." We still think the gay bar in Atlanta wins the title contest, though, with “Swinging Richards.”
Back in our not-$500-a night room, we made arrangements for the woman’s suitcase to be returned to the airport in New Zealand in the morning. Turns out she’s a reporter in D.C. (I Google’ed her!).
I was able to buy an inexpensive pair of walking shoes and some socks – at the drug store - so I’m good, at least until tomorrow when I can maybe buy some undies and a tee shirt. (Now I understand why they encourage people to have all of your medications on your person when you travel – which I did, along with all of my electronics and cords.)
All in a day’s play! As long as we’re all healthy and happy, what’s to get worked up about? I’m not sure who’ve I’ve become, actually, but I didn’t get upset about any of the Murphy-ism’s we’ve brought upon ourselves in the past 48 hours. I’m becoming like Pete the Cat (without the pot)… “Did Pete worry? GOODNESS, NO!” ‘Cuz it’s all good!