Well, well, WELL...
heh-- heh-- heh-- ... ahem... well not so funny actually. I missed my flight! Yes, yes I somehow managed to read the arrival time as the departure time.
Last night we went for a night on the town after drinking beer and wine in the hostel first. "Merry", a girl from Edinburgh named Amy, and a couple others. Amy and I go to this club near by and Amy somehow manages to get rejected entry from the club AFTER we had already paid the $5 cover charge and had been inside the club. We left because she needed to go the ATM. After we came back to the club the bouncer wouldn't let her in for being too intoxicated. We argued a bit about the absurdity of not being let in after having just been in and showing our stamps and finally the bouncers conceded our reasoning that they either have to give us our money back or let us back in the club. The bouncers said I could go back in but Amy couldn't. Finally they agreed to give us our money back and we left. [insert picture of room 103]
Didn't get to sleep until after dawn and then woke up at 9am and made a mad scramble to get ready. My shuttle was coming somteimte between 9am and 9:30am. Ran to the Avis few hundred meters away and told them about the difficulty getting the car back to the place and how I had no time to catch the shuttle to the airport and they infromed me that they had closed at 7pm, so it wouldn't have made a difference if I hadn't had the trouble getting on the right road, we didn't get back into the city limits until after 7pm last night anyway. But, they told me I had until 11am to return the car. The people at the other Avis office where I got info about the rental of the car did not mention this. They said to return the car before 9pm. So I run back to the Hostel and ask "Merry" to return it for me before 11am since I still felt a little wobbly and woebegoned from the still very recent night and didn't feel up for fumbling about in the city streets trying to find the right way to return the car and didn't have time to ask for proper directions. Meanwhile the shuttle has arrived and is waiting for me to gather my things. Luckily a guy from Melbourne was also holding up the bus. Finally I'm on the bus and realize I don't have my yellow daypack. I explain to the driver that I left it at the Avis and he stopped on the side of the street and gave me a minute to run back and fetch the bag which was in fact still at Avis. We get to the airport and I am soon informed that my flight has already left. They tell me there is one other flight available tomorrow same time but my Contiki Bus tour leaves at 9am and the flight only gets me into Alice Springs, the start of my tour, by 11:15am. To further compound matters, I discover my New Zealand phone card does not work outside of New Zealand. Who would have thought. Apparently not I.
Finally after bothering a passerby of my plight, a woman told me to use the reverse charge. I didn't realize what that meant but I tried and was soon talking to an operator to my great delight. It was only after I was connected with the Flight Center where I had made all the bookings for my Australian adventure and plunked down $2500 that I realized that it was a collect call on my behalf to be billed to the travel agency. Luckily they accepted the call and I was informed that I'd be reimbursed half of the Contiki Tour price if I canceled. She said she'd call me back at the hostel in a few hours to see if it could somehow be possible for me to meet up with the bus after I arrive in Alice Springs tomorrow. As the realitiy of the situation slowly sinks in I get a shuttle back to the hostel and at least I get to spend another day in Sydney. I walk back to Avis and find out from them that if I return the car right then I'll get 1/3 of the day refunded. So Amy and I decide tooling around the city in the comfort of A/C is a good way to weather the hangovers. I'm glad I got to see more of the city as viewing from the car is the best way to see it. Really beautiful architecture and there was a massive thunderhead billowing over the harbor. Australia, or at least Sydney, is very much like America. Just cooler and more laid back. The guy from Melbourne on the bus this morning (the last 36 hours feels like 3 days) was that really just this morning? was curious about my thoughts on the differences between America and Australia and I said that I thought they were pretty similar. He expressed concern that Australia was losing its culture or identity and I had to agree that growing up I remember having the impression through movies that Australia had a really unique and distinguished identity but I really couldn't tell him any differences I noticed between Sydney and American cities other than that I was surprised at the lack of honking of horns and the sheer number of beautiful, beautiful women.
It was very hot today so after we had enough of my terrible driving we went to the outdoor salt water swimming pools by the harbor where the giant battle ships sit, but as soon as we got to the pool, the sun retreated, but I did a few laps in the long laps pool. This is why I didn't drive this morning; I half-ran a red light today and had to back up to get out of the way of the oncoming cars and then started driving down the right side of the road to name just a couple of the boneheaded things I did today. Once again, made it through the day with no horns honked. Before I left today I got clear directions on how to get to the return garage so we get back to Avis at about 6:10pm and they're closed! So we might get a couple people to go get clogged in traffic with us inin the rental -- love that little car -- since we both agreed we won't be drinking tonight. I booked the flight for tomorrow morning for 9:25am which set me back $220 since I won't be getting any refund for my missed flight. Returning the car tomorrow morning and waking up in time to get to the airport by 8:30pm is not gonna be fun. Might have to pull an all nighter like I should have last night. Sorry for the long blog, internet is much cheaper on the other side of the Tasman Sea.
I just realized something, it's completley dark at 8:30pm whereas in New Zealand 10:30pm - 11:00pm it's dark.