Two Yanks Downunder

A blog about the experiences of two Americans on their first visit to the fabulous continent of Australia

Friday, July 21, 2006

Waiting For Sydney With Lost Angels

All right, just when we thought there were a couple or more free hours to lounge around a waiting area, we found that the actual process involved in accessing the place of repose would be a bit more challenging than merely wandering over to it. There was a plan afoot, as yet unkown to us, that would keep us on our feet and off balance when we expected the opposite.

Specifically, a cunning airport terminal remodelling required us to walk far away from the entrance to the gates and then go upstairs and then ALL way back where we came from only one storey up.

There, a long line awaited us while one TSA employee checked boarding passes and passports, which for families with children took that much longer as their parents had all the documents and spoke languages other than English. Just when we got to the front of the line, business travelers who were in a time crunch to get to their flight basically nudged us aside and started taking off their shoes and placing their computers and carry on luggage in the plastic bins that go on the conveyer to the security scanners. They even helped a guy in front of them (and us) who was not in their group to place his things in the bins so that he would not slow them down in their frenzy to get to their plane.

Well, we did survived the LA TSA hurdle, put our shoes back on and returned stuff to our pockets and walked all the way to the end of the gate area where the hallway (with multiple gates on each side) becomes one large round area with many gates. There, we were given less than one hour of relaxation before an intercom voice told us that we would no longer be leaving from gate 48 B, but would have to walk all the way back down to gate 41, near where we entered the terminal and where the business thugs cut in front of us.

Decamping from the spacious comfortable waiting area, we found ourselves in a much smaller gate where the 10:30 p.m. Qantas flight was boarding with a big hustle and bustle and hopeful stand by passengers were trying to catch an empty seat. They were all crowded near the front of the gate entry, so we had to carefully thread our way between the lines and into the seating area. I wound up bumping a few people, but did not knock anyone over and unlike those business guys, I apologized for my infractions.

After the 10:30 departed, more passengers for our own Qantas flight began to fill the waiting room. This soon included over 100 junior high aged girls and boys all wearing the same maroon t-shirts that stated People to People. They were clearly excited and kept the whole waiting area abuzz with chatter and consequently we could basically forget about that nap that tempted us so.

We met a priest from Sydney who was returning home to new duties after spending two years studying in Rome. He had some very good suggestions on things to do in Sydney, where we planned to spend three days and nights prior to heading off to our destination on the west coast of Australia. He was actually in Cracow, Poland when John Paul II passed away and was able to witness and take part in the genuine mourning of the Polish people who had know the Pope even before he had that office. He had moved over to our area in the waiting room to get away from the multitude of energetic People to People children and so we naturally fell into conversation. So, we had alreay enjoyed several chats with different Aussies and felt that this was a really good indicator of the openness and friendliness of the people with whom we would soon be living.

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