The DougBlog
"Et sans savoir pourquoi, disent toujours: Allons!" —Baudelaire

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Colleen and Doug’s Excellent Outback Adventure, Part 5: Back to Sydney and So-Long

We got to the airport in Cairns to find out that we were booked on a flight back to Sydney that did not exist. Don’t ask me how that’s possible, but that’s what they said. So the flight that we were put on didn’t leave for 4 hours. So we killed time at Cairns airport, shopping for souvenirs and having lunch.

Colleen doing her “Crazy eyes” again as we enjoy lunch at the airport Hungry Jack’s:

When we finally got to Sydney, we said farewell as Colleen went to her connection to Tokyo and I went to claim my suitcase and head back to Tisha’s.

So I got down to baggage claim just in time to see Colleen’s suitcase coming down the conveyor belt. Needless to say, it was supposed to be headed for Tokyo. And needless to say, mine never came. Putting two and two together made it clear that I had Colleen’s suitcase—and my suitcase was going to Tokyo.

I ran to the Qantas Baggage Service desk and explained the situation, saying that this suitcase needed to get onto Colleen’s plane to Tokyo and they needed to get my bag OFF. The Qantas agent just kept saying, “This isn’t supposed to happen.” No shit, Sherlock.

So they took Colleen’s bag away and told me to wait. And so I did. For about TWO HOURS. They finally said they couldn’t find my bag and I needed to file a claim. I didn’t really understand this, because CLEARLY my bag was either headed to or already on the Tokyo flight (which had still not left), but what could I do? So I filed the claim. The agent asked if I needed a complimentary case of toiletries. I said yes. I didn’t really, but they owed me! He went into the back and came back…with my suitcase! They had finally found it. And sure enough, it had a tag that said “NRT”, as in Narita International Airport.

A view of my time at the Qantas Baggage desk:

The cover of Qantas’ “So we’ve lost your luggage” pamphlet. This guy seems REALLY happy about having his luggage lost:

And with that I got into a cab and finally got to Tisha’s at about 11 PM.

The next day I visited Tisha’s office, the medical advertising agency of Curtis, Jones, & Brown. CJB is much smaller than CDM, and seems like an exciting place to work—no doubt due to the healthy, relaxed Australian outlook on things. I met with Bill Curtis, a founding partner and Managing Director, who was very interested in CDM. Then I had lunch with a big group including Phil Brown, another one of the founding partners who is also the Creative Director. They treated me very well and everyone was just so darned…nice.

Tisha in front of the CJB offices in Balmain:

Inside CJB:

Tisha in her office, trying to look busy and put-upon:

For my last afternoon in Sydney, I went to Gowings, a famous men’s clothier and gadget vendor (which, sadly, is on the bring of bankruptcy) and then walked through town one last time through Hyde Park, down Macquarie Street, to the Opera House, past the Great Synagogue, and along gay-heavy Oxford Street. I met Tisha back home and she took me our for my last dinner at Doyle’s, a historic restaurant in the Watson’s Bay neighborhood that offered a spectacular nighttime view of Sydney. And Tisha even treated…can you imagine anyone so nice that they put you up in their home AND insist on paying for your meals?!

The view from our table on the beach at Doyle’s

I packed up that night and gazed at the Southern sky one last time. I finally saw the Southern Cross. This constellation is only visible from the Southern Hemisphere, and for centuries has guided sailors the way that the North Star has for us. You may recognize it from Australia’s Flag. It was a beautiful sight to behold, and a wonderful way to cap off a wonderful adventure Down Under.


Some random items:

Teaching Tisha the fine art of bandwidth “borrowing” on my last morning:

As in many European countries, non-citizens can get a tax refund on large purchases when they leave the country. But the name they give it here makes it sound awfully sketchy:

Last views of Sydney from the plane. I got to pre-board because I bought a didgeridoo as a souvenir…and so help me, they made a pre-boarding page for “those of you traveling with crutches or wheelchairs, with children in strollers, or with didgeridoos.”

Actual view of the International Date Line through the plane widow:


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