Monday, February 21, 2011

21 Nov 2010: Darling Harbour and the rest of the day

21 Nov 2010, Sun:

I headed back to the hotel to check-out after a hearty visit to the Sydney Fish Market. The hotel was very nice to extend my check-out time to 12.30 p.m. Furthermore, the hotel offered free baggage service. I guess simple kind gestures like these matter a lot to a travelling tourist who would appreciate a home away from home.

I visited Darling Harbour to enjoy its open spaces. It is a beautiful place worthy of our visit if we are in Sydney, even if I may be biased in my reviews since I love spaces that are open.

Nearby, near the Convention Centre, I saw people enjoying the shades that the trees offered. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The people of Sydney are in many ways blessed.

Nearby, children have had fun at the playground. Fountains provided a cooling relief to the bright spring sun. I was reminded of the innocence that life can offer, if we were to pause for a while to see it.

My friend, RL, who had so generously loaned me her camera took the special effort to travel to town to meet up with me before I catch a flight to Singapore. Together with her fiance, we had lunch at Sydney's Paddy Market. I ended up choosing chicken congee for I simply wanted a lunch that was as light as possible after a delicious treat to calamari rings that I could not finish. I guess my appetite for seafood was pretty small afterall.

After a beautiful lunch, my friend and her fiance were very kind to wait with me at the hotel lobby for the shuttle bus service that was to take me to the airport. It was to come at 2.10 p.m. However, it did not. I tried calling the bus company but no one picked up the phone. I was doing my best to stay collected and balanced as I did not want to risk missing the flight. Thank goodness for the presence of friends and the helpful service of the htoel staff, I eventually dedcied to take one of the cabs to the airport by 2.30 p.m.

On the way to the airport, the taxi-driver and I saw a Qantas plane waiting at the taxi way (runway track). The taxi-driver commented he has never seen something like this before. I reached the airport around 3 p.m. The cab fare took AUS$38.50. Botany Bay is beautiful in its own way.

When I stepped into the airport, I was in a moment of panic when I could not find my flight number on the display panel of departing flights. Having learnt from previous experiences, it was better for me to get myself calm and collected. So I did so and went to speak to one of the airport's volunteers to ask for help. She did not know what had happened so she advised that I head towards the Qantas' desk to ask for help. I learnt that my original flight that was to depart at 17:30 was cancelled. I was transferred to another flight that would depart at 16:55. I felt thankful that I did not insist on waiting for the shuttle bus service. I would have risked being later if I had insisted. I later learnt that the bus met with a traffic accident and while there was a replacement service that came much later, I had left on the cab.

At the airport, I found a shop that sells nougats and got some for my family. Soon enough, I found myself on the plane. I had the pleasure to sit at a window seat next to a couple who was on their way back to London. They would be stopping by my hometown, Singapore, to break their journey. They were very kind to accomodate me whenever I needed to excuse myself to the toilet.

For much of my journey, I read Discover Your Inner Wisdom. I felt blessed that I was able to read and that meant more access to knowledge.

People and moments that I am grateful for:
1) I am thankful to RL for taking time out with her fiance to meet up with me on a precious Sunday afternoon. She has been a wonderful host during my stay in Sydney. She saved the day too with her most helpful loan of the camera. Many of the photos that you see from this trip are possible thanks to her timely loan.
2) I am thankful to RL and her fiance for waiting with me at the hotel lobby for the transport to the airport, even though they need not have to. Their presence have been most assuring and comforting.
3) I am thankful for the hotel's staff for their kindness and attentive help.
4) Many thanks to the taxi-driver for getting me to the airport safe, sound and on time.
5) Many thanks to the people whom I have met at the airport for attending to me when I realised that my original flight number was not published anywhere on the list of departing flights.

New things that I did:
1) I took a cab to the Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport. That was my first time taking a cab to the Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport.

My learning points:
1) I have learnt to put the skill of getting myself collected and calm to greater mastery. Yes, even during challenging and unforeseen circumstances whereby I was taken aback. Two such episodes in one single day: a missed shuttle bus and a sudden change in flight details.
2) I have learnt through the experience the value of asking for help. At times of challenge, be willing to receive help. Next, communicate, communicate and communicate. Communication involves listening. Learn to have the faith that things will work out somehow, for good reasons.

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