US and Canada 2018 – Missing the flight to San Francisco

A quick flight to Melbourne followed by a L-O-N-G but reasonably uneventful flight to LA – approx 14 hours.  The only problem was we left late and then took a while before we could land and then taxi in which meant our flight was an hour late.

Due to the fact that the San Francisco part of the trip came after the original booking of the flights to LA, we didn’t have a connecting flight to LA, just a separate flight, with a two hour window, which meant we had to clear customs, collect luggage and board the next flight – all within two hours.  Bad planning.

So, being an hour late and then customs taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R and us missing the valuable orange ticket that got you fast tracked if you had a connecting flight  (Jay did suggest we should have asked about them, which I did but WAY too late) meant that we collected our luggage at about the time we should have been boarding the flight.

Then there was the monumental walk between terminals with a 14kg backpack on our backs after a 18 hours in travel and transit time.  We tried, we really did, but by the time we made it to Virgin Amercia, we had missed the flight.  Here we are thinking “at least it is still Virgin, so they will be able to arrange a quick flight to San Francisco easily – right”?  Wrong.  For starters, Virgin Australia and Virgin America are not associated.  Silly us to think otherwise.  Second of all, it is Saturday and nearly all flights are completely booked (and they overbook flights here).

So after our very long walk to Virgin America, they tell us there are two options, we can go on a standby flight at 2pm, but there is no assurance we will get a seat, or we can get a ticketed flight at 11pm, which will mean we will miss the basketball – the whole reason we were going to Oakland .- remember, Oakland accommodation and basketball are two of the only four things booked at this stage….

So, we get tickets for the 11pm flight, with the plan that we will head BACK to the terminal we just tracked from to demand that they get us on another flight.  Back we trek and the VERY inexperienced assistant clacks away on her keyboard and tells us she can’t find our booking, even though I had given her the Virgin America flight details I had printed before we left home.  She keeps clacking on her keyboard and still nothing.  More clacking, more nothing.  The very little patience we started with is quickly evaporating…  Finally, the more experienced assistant comes to help and says instantly – Virgin America?  We’re not associated with them, that’s why we can’t find your booking.  We go on to say, yes, but it was your flight being late that was the reason we missed our flight and they can only get us on an 11pm flight which will mean we will miss the game we have paid hundreds of dollars to see.  Sorry, there is nothing we can do if we don’t have access to your flight information we can’t transfer you to another flight.  We explained we had already been down that path and they had checked all the flights that they were associated with and the only option was the 11pm flight.  We then asked which flights they weren’t associated with and something kept telling me we needed to go to Southwest.  Southwest had been recommended on Trip Advisor as a great airline for internal US travel.  Lots of affordable flights and the first two checked bags were free.  By this time we were thinking that we would do anything to make it to the game, even pay for new tickets.  I asked if Virgin America were associated with Southwest and she said No.

We were all pretty despondent.  Jay said “it looks like we aren’t going to make the game, so let’s just go with the 11pm flight because at least we know we have seats on that”.  We were flying in to San Francisco and our accommodation was in Oakland.  That was easily workable during the day, but arriving at the airport after midnight and then trying to get to Oakland to get to our accommodation after missing the game?  That sounded horrendous.  Maybe we could fly straight to Oakland, which is really close to where our accommodation was….??

Southwest kept coming to mind.  So I said, let’s just get to the Southwest counter and see what they can do and if that doesn’t work then, yes, we take the 11pm flight and give up on the idea of making the basketball..  The terminal is the next one over, so not too far to walk.  The boys sit down with our bags and I go to the counter.  An Angel in Los Angeles – a big, black man with a friendly face and a big smile listens to my story and says, “lets see what we can do”.  He then starts talking about delayed flights and transfers and San Francisco and Oakland and gets increasingly urgent in his tone.  He has to repeat it a few times, but I finally get it and I signal to the boys to bring the bags as I’m handing over the credit card.

Turns out Southwest Airlines have a policy that if any flight is delayed more than 15 minutes, they will transfer you to any other flight at no cost.  So, what this clever man had worked out is that there was a flight to San Francisco that was delayed.  If he quickly booked us seats on that flight, that we had to pay US$133 each for, he could then transfer us to the flight direct to Oakland, which had three spare seats on it, at no extra cost.  That’s what he did.  So, all of a sudden, the basketball was back on!  AND we were flying direct to Oakland, which meant we didn’t have to then get from San Francisco to Oakland, which would have probably cost us another $50 or so, plus all the time and energy.  Yeah Baby!  Problem solving Master points to Southwest Airlines, and trusting instinct Master points to me!!

A quick flight with a pleasant chat to Austin on one side of me (who didn’t believe that Eucalyptus trees were Australian and a lovely lady (who’s name I didn’t get) that was from Texas on the other side of me and we were in Oakland.  We collected our baggage (something I took for granted until I arrived in Hawaii four weeks later) took a cab with a grumpy cab driver, where Bruce tried to sit in the drivers seat first and then went to the passenger seat and he grumbled “no” and so we all squeezed in the back.  A 10 minute cab ride, check in, change of clothes and we were off walking to the stadium like everything had gone completely according to plan!

A selfie in front of the stadium:

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We go to “at call” and pick up our tickets (I remembered to bring the credit card I used and then they didn’t ask for it).  Tickets in hand and we’re in!

Free Golden State Warriors t-shirts on our seats a very welcome surprise.  We confirm that Steph Curry is still injured and sitting on the sidelines – insert sad face.  I took a photo of him still, at least he was in the building (circled below).

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I found lime vodka cocktails (yummo), Bruce accidentally puts chilli sauce on his hot dog (yowzer) and Jay and I share a nachos with nothing but corn chips and cheese sauce, very dull …

The Warriors lost, but what a great night.  Such a spectacle with drummers, contortionists and dancers in the breaks.  So glad we made it.  Shame that we aren’t going to be in the right place to go to a playoff game (although the wallet is thanking us).

We walked back to the Hotel after the game, Jay learnt all about what marijuana smells like because it was everywhere – including billowing out of cars.  We got back to the room and then we slept for 15 hours.

Once we finally surfaced the next day, we found a T-Mobile and bought SIM cards for the three of us for the month.  Jay was overjoyed with having unlimited data. We then discovered the Double Double at In and Out…. Uh Oh.

2A2433FC-129E-4410-921A-76B224F21C24 Continue reading

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Meeting Jane, the Cozens Cousin

We head off to Midland.  Only should take and hour, took us a little longer and then after some confusion we found Jane Cozens who was waiting for us at a great little Cafe in Midland, Ontario.

Jane was the other Canadian Cousin that became very close to Mum (long distance) in the last few years of Mum’s life.  What a treat for me to be able to meet her and “chew the fat” over lunch.  I ordered a burger and was convinced to have “Poutine”, which I’d never heard of, but was told it is a delicacy in Canada – fries with gravy and cheese curds.  Interested I agreed (even though June said I should wait and have Poutine in Montreal).

The Burger was sensational – better than the American Burgers – it had real cheese, rather than plastic American cheese.  The Poutine wasn’t fabulous.  It was ok, but the gravy was pretty bland, as was the cheese and the “fries” were soggy.  I’m glad I tried it, but I wouldn’t order it again.

5DEBF2A9-433D-45D9-8ABC-C78D2A6582BDI felt like I had known Jane forever.  I guess we’ve been FB friends for years – Mum introduced us and she set up a private Crout, Cozens and Cousins FB group that we shared family information from time to time with June and Geoff Embleton.  I saw a lot of communication including lots of jokes between Jane and Mum for years.  Then Jane and I have developed our own relationship in the last four years, so I shouldn’t have been surprised.  Conversation flowed easily and I felt like Mum was watching and smiling.  It was a wonderful couple of hours, spent with two of Mum’s most precious people.  What a Joy.

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Landing in Canada

I landed in Montreal airport after a very quick flight from Newark Airport in NYC and was struck with French instructions, French speaking people and I was hit with a moment of panic.  I’m here alone, so I have to figure this out on my own.  Where to go and what to do to get through customs, where to get my bags and then how to get to where June is going to pick me up.  How to contact June and even how to order and pay for a coffee.  I settled the panic and took it a step at a time and it worked just fine.

The only hiccup was that June was expecting I would take much longer to get through customs and get my bags (based on previous experience) so she was 15 minutes away when I got to speak to her first.  Great!  I said, time for me to get a coffee.

Off I toddle (thanks Mum) to the coffee shop, as for a flat white and you would think that I asked for an elephant in a cup.  He had no idea what I was saying.  Changing the instruction to a “latte, “o go” seemed to work.    The guy before me get a coffee and it was less than five dollars.  So, I go to the plastic bag filled with the Canadian cash of Mum’s from 1994 and pulled out three $2 notes – $6 will be plenty.  I handed him the $6 and he looked amazed and says “wow”.  “Oh, are they old?” I say?  “Yeah!  Are you sure you don’t want to keep them?”.  Nah, I say, I’ve got more.  I only found out later, that similar to Australia, $2 notes were replaced with coins many, many years ago.  He he he.  No wonder he was shocked.

So, coffee in hand I head out to where I told June I would be, and looked for a black Kia.

Not long and we were off, we stopped in a beautiful front patisserie and June got a coffee and something to eat and eight croissants to take with us.  Not really knowing where I was, or where I was going I happily listened to the family stories June told, I took notes, and we kept driving.

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Seven hours later we were at Roger and Jenn’s house.

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Roger is the grandson of Annie Ruby Crout.  Annie Ruby Crout is my Grandad Harry Scarborough Crout’s sister – same father – Harry Eden Crout and same mother – Marie Ogilvie.

This is Annie Ruby Crout, circa 1962 on a trip to Tijuana

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Back L-R Harry Crout, Alan Barry Crout Front L-R June Leslie Crout, Thelma Patricia Moore, Annie Ruby Crout, Doris Beatrice Longhurst, Bruce Milne

This is Annie Ruby Crout, circa 1980

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L-R Annie Ruby Crout, Thelma Patricia Moore, Doris Beatrice Longhurst

From left – Annie Ruby Crout, Thelma Patricia Moore, Doris Beatrice Longhurst

Roger had no idea my grandfather existed until a day or so before and yet, he warmly invited us to come and stay when June contacted him to see if we could meet up.  Because Roger is part of the line of Canadian Crouts that stem from Annie Ruby, he is a full blood relative, and it was very important, if at all possible for me to meet him while I was in Canada.  June knew this and so had worked very hard to get in contact with him to see if there was some way she could arrange it.

I met Roger and his wife Jenn and was handed a glass of wine.  June and I explained where I fitted in, which Roger admitted was still a bit overwhelming.  They were fascinated and so pleased that we had “reached out”.  They both have complicated histories and so didn’t really know their extended families growing up and Jenn said she has enjoyed meeting her cousins as adults more recently.

I heard about Jack, Roger’s father (Grandad’s nephew he never knew he had).  He was a character, by the sounds.  Roger told me how at 14 Jack took him on a road trip, and this is when Roger learnt to drive – across the country!  Roger then lived with Jack.  This is Jack, circa 1978

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Jack when he was older, circa 2002

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We sat by the fireplace, drinking wine and telling family stories and I met Frank, the big sook of a cat.

We enjoyed a wonderful home cooked meal (something I was missing from my three weeks travelling) and more wine and we talked more before heading off to bed.  I was given Roger and Jenn Emily’s room who is an artist

 

The morning was cold – my first sight of snow

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We drank coffee, ate croissants and June shared some stories, documents and photos and Roger shared what he had.

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Original Marriage certificate Henry Edward Crout and Mary Cozens 1846

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Inscription on back by Henry Edward about the birth of his son Henry Eden and the death of his wife

 

L—R Henry Eden Crout (Harry Scarborough’s father) early in his military career when he was about 18 or 19, Harry Eden Crout, Emily Jacobs and Harry (June’s Dad), Harry Eden Crout (far left) as bandmaster in the 60th Battalian of the Canadian Army, 1915

Then Roger took June and I for a tour of their property on the “Polaris” – we rugged up – it was pretty cool and we assured it would be cold on the tour.

What an exciting (and a little hairy at times) way to see the spectacular property of Roger and Jenn’s.  We took photos in front of the fireplace, said our goodbyes and armed with a map, June and I were off to meet Jane – a Cozens cousin.

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Mum’s Diary of her trip to Shipley and Ireland in 1995 Part 2

Tuesday 3rd October 1995 (pages 11-13)

5.50am  Sitting in my hotel room, Isaac’s Hotel Frenchman/s Lane Dublin (£35 a night!!) and feeling much brighter after a good night’s sleep and a clearer mind.

Airport will send on my luggage (if they find it).  If I haven’t heard from them before shops open, will buy a set of clothes, knickers etc. and claim on insurance.

Took a bus from Airport to City Centre ($2.50).  Isaac’s Hotel is on block next to Busarus and opposite Keating’s pub.  Was costly but adjacent hostel was charging £28 for a shared room for 1 – figured extra £ was worth comfort and it was getting late and I was so tired and low.  Unpacked most of my carry on gear so backpack was lighter & headed off to find O’Connell St.  By then it was 5.30 and everything was closing.  Gave me a feel for the place again though and a sense of direction.  My boots and long skirt seem to be causing something of a stir around Dublin.  Last year it was leggings!!

Bought new batteries for Walkman (must have turned itself off during flight).  Had chips & coffee at Hungry Jacks (Excuse me!!….?)…. but it was cheap!!  £1.60.  Bought an Irish Times (found those damned “Frenchies” have dropped their second bomb!!  Found a money exchange who don’t charge commission.  Will change remaining $A100 to Sterling £’s ready for ferry trip to U.K.  Figure I’ll stay here tonight and do some of the Dublin “stuff” today.  UK tomorrow – stay Wed & Thursday nights.  Ferry back on Friday & bus to Ennis??  We’ll see how it goes.

Wednesday 4th October 1995 (pages 14-21)

4.25pm  Sitting in Beshoff’s O’Connell having just finished a lunch/dinner of “Beshoff’s Meal” (fresh cod, chips, coleslaw & coffee).  Am now on 2nd cup of coffee and about to light up a 4th smoke.  What a relief it is that smoking is accepted everywhere here.  Not just accepted but almost compulsory….  Thought it time to catch up with what’s been happening in my life.  Where to star?

Well, I’m relaxing and passing the time until 8pm when I need to report to the Busarus ready for my trip across the Irish sea to Leeds and the next step on my latest adventure.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring?….  Hoping I can get some sleep on the ferry and bus tonight because I’ll really be on the go tomorrow.  On arrival in Leeds plan to:

  •  check out 10 Meanwood St (the house Dad’s mother and father were living I when his birth was registered).
  • Check out the shops for Doc Martins for Kirrily & Chad (not much of a selection in Dublin this year …. certainly no green ones …. very few cherry & they’re only boots….)

Soon as this is done I’ll head for Shipley, book a room for the night, leave my backpack then hunt down Mossman St…. if it still exists ??  Will still have a little time on Friday – but have to be back in Leeds early evening for the return trip to Dublin.  Then straight on a bus to Ennis, pick up car, head for Corofin and a BIG sleep!!!  before Sean calls around.  Booked car hostel this morning and rang Sean to let him know of my arrival date.  He’ll be around “after dark” …. so hopefully I’ll have time for a “cat nap”…!!!

Feeling really weary now.  It’s been a tiring morning …. hence my decision to have a relaxing peaceful pm to get my energy levels up.

Rang Airport again this morning just before checkout time – They said they’d delivered my luggage 8.15pm Monday.  I checked the desk at about 9.30pm last night (Tuesday) and they hadn’t seen it.  Turned out the Airport had delivered it to HOSTEL instead of HOTEL.  They just hung it behind their door and didn’t think about it again.  Had the foresight to get receptionist to note on my bill that I didn’t receive it until this morning – to cover me with Insurance Co.  I sure expect to be re-imbursed for clothes I bought yesterday.  So, went back to room, re-packed, made my calls to Corofin/Ennis & Limerick (Sean) and booked out at 10.45am.

Went to Busarus.  Considered storing my backpack for the day.  Decided against it.  Having been dispossessed of it all this time was feeling distrustful of leaving it in someone else’s care again….  Result was I lumped the damned thing all over Dublin today.  By 3.30pm I’d really “had it”….  Although its relatively light & easy to carry, it gets heavy carrying it for hours on end.  Another lesson learnt here.

Checked out Sin Fein bookshop – Trinity College (bought some Celtic stuff … more weight to carry around).  Took lots of photos of Dublin.  Will finish off now (they’re starting to look at me rather weirdly here).  Will leave my backpack on for one final trek down to Busarus and stay put till bus leaves ….  Note – man’s conversation in Bureau of Exchange.

Thursday October 5th 1995 (pages 22 – 34)

7.30am  Well – here I am in Café at Bus Station (Leeds).  Arrived in at about 6.40pm – it was still pretty dark, just beginning to get light.  They had a guy on duty near women’s toilets which I was glad about with it being so deserted and all …. My next little challenge – How to get to Shipley??  Saw a sign to Shipley as we were just coming out of Bradford.  National Express timetables here had no mention of Shipley so I’m guessing it may be a local bus.  To keep myself amused (and as a souvenir for Dad) I bought a  Yorkshire Times.  Then a guy in charge of station turned up.  I’d seen a sign pointing to Tourist Information and asked him how far down it was .. “big white building at end turn right” in a strong Yorkshire accent “at 9” is what I think he said next but he was so brusque I didn’t want to persist.  Sat shivering in Sharp wind for q while then noticed that the young woman who’d been sitting outside having a smoke when I arrived had opened Café.  Nice hot coffee is good.  I enquired how I might get to Shipley.  She wasn’t really sure but thought a local bus left from across road.  Another likely confirmation to my detective work.  Don’t really want to wait round here till 9 o’clock so may “steel” myself to go ask the gruff “Busman” – Maybe he has a heart of gold beneath that ?? exterior?  Must mention I feel quite at home in this part of the world with so many sharing my hacking “smokers” cough.  Quite a cacophony in early hours of morning on bus form Anglesey (Wales) …

Oh!! 2 more people have turned up for refreshments in the “deserted café”… We can of course only have drinks … “too early for food yet …”.  We weary travellers are grateful.

Oh yes!  Changed my plans since yesterday and am sure they’ll change again before day is out …

I’m not going to hang around Leeds to check out shopping …. Will get straight to my planned destination (Shipley) … With so little time before bus takes me back I need to focus on my mission.  Any time left over can be spent on other activities.

Wow!! Quite a crowd in here now …  2 more customers have arrived for drinks & chocolate bars …

The trip from Dublin was pleasant & largely uneventful.  Smooth trip across Irish Seas.  Gale force winds that have been whipping the coast for past few weeks died down.  Had a Guinness, pack of Taylor’s potato chips, bought 2 coasters & tried again to change my Australian $ to Sterling £.  Got the same story as form the girl in exchange in O’Connell St, Dublin …. “better to do it on the ship… I’ll have to change it to Irish £ first & you’ll “miss out twice”.  This time the story was to change it in Leeds for same reason.  Thought about it for a while then went back with a £20 Irish note – didn’t want to arrive in UK with no money before banks opened & looking for an Exchange Bureau.  Just as well I followed my instincts.  I know they were trying to be helpful….

So, ferry trip was calm.  Irish ferries are magnificent!!!  Passenger section like a 1st class hotel “Oisin” Lounge … “O’Reilly’s” pub …. “?” A La Carte restaurant.  I had a most pleasant doze and woke up just as the ferry was docking.  (4hr trip) passed quickly when you “snooze” much of it away.  Only unpleasant experience was when we dis-embarked in Wales.  Some crazy guy picked a fight… There’d evidently been some “carry-on” on way over about a girl.  Ferry officials restrained him pretty quickly & called Town Police.  All this at about 1.15am whilst we were waiting to collect our luggage…. Had a big sleep on bus and awoke as we arrived in Liverpool.  What I could see of countryside from Manchester to Leeds was fascinating.  Undulating hills pretty well all the way and appeared to be heavily populated.  Bit hard to tell for sure though, in the dark.

Just paused to get another coffee & spied some freshly made sandwiches!!! Yum!!! – corned beef “home cooked” proper corned beef & just touching the right spot (thoughts of Mum” – should help me get rid of this thick head & faint headache probably due as much to lack of food as lack of sleep.

It’s now 8am and the city of Leeds is on the move out there right now… Doesn’t seem so scary now in broad daylight.  Maybe the food will give me re-newed energy & I will walk down to Tourist Office.  I have a sense that this is what I should be doing…. maybe I’ll pick up some other relevant info ??  Who knows ??…

Before I stop this little writing session, must just record the little “to do” with money.  When paying for sandwiches & coffee handed over a £5 knowing may need change for bus (I had just spent time putting away Irish Money & getting out English!!).  She looked at torn note consulted with Bus Drivers here having a meal break, then came back and said “I’m sorry I can’t accept this”.  Me thinking its ‘cos it was badly torn handed over a smooth new £10 and she said she couldn’t accept this either.  Long & short of it was, I had carefully folded away my £15 English & was trying to use £15 Irish.  Not surprising …. I’m juggling 4 currencies at the moment:-

  1. Australian
  2. Irish
  3. English
  4. Hong Kong

Before I get home I will have added Italian to this.  Not bad for a 2 week holiday …

Time to relax before taking off on my next little “sortie”.

 

 

Mum’s Diary of her trip to Shipley and Ireland, October 1995 Part 1

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This is a treasure that I found not long after Mum passed away. It was a diary she wrote when she took a cheap, whirlwind trip to Shipley, Yorkshire UK to try to find where her Dad, Harry Scarborough Crout lived before he came to Australia at the age of 16. As this was well before the Internet, and Mum’s blogging, this is almost a travel blog that I decided that I needed to be added to her electronic blog.  This will immortalise her words for everyone to share.  The first thing that struck me in the aftermath of her death from lung cancer was how this diary captured her life as a smoker.  How much her life revolved around it and how much she loved it until she was forced to give up five years or so before she died.  Thank goodness she did and we got at least those extra five years.  The second thing that struck me was how much finding out about her history meant to her and how completely capable and independent she was before she suffered her breakdwn in approximately 1997.  What fantastic timing for her to do this when she would be so emotionally and physically affected in the following years.

These words are those of my Mum’s, writte in pencil, just brought to life by me almost a year after she departed this life.  [Another year has passed now, and I’ve found this draft post, and thought I would post this as part 1 and then continue the story on and incorporate the folder that my Mum made when she got to Shipley for Grandad]

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Page 1 is a shopping list

Hong Kong – Modem, phone, Nutrix (Kirrily)

Ireland – Fridge magnet, Jenny shoes, Chad shoes, Kirrily Shoes (Cherry Docs), Dictionaries – Gaelic & Eng, Childs gaelic b/book, Cartoon (gaelic), Jacket? – Donegal, Hair Clasp Kirrily, Earrngs (me), Bodran, Tapes

The following two pages are a proposed itinerary

Deart Adelaide 1/10 – Dublin – Leeds – Shipley – Leeds – Ennis – Corofin – Galway – Ennis – Dublin – Rome – Adelaide – 15/10

Sunday 1st October 1995 (pages 3-7)

9.40am – Sitting on tarmac at Sydney waiting to take off.  Flight was delayed in boarding and now there’s a bit of a back-up.  Shouldn’t be too long (we were told).  Feeling sleepy, but pretty happy.  Being at airport at 4.20am and having a restless night (sleeping on Cullen’s futon) has added to my normal lethargy at end of school terml.

9.45am – We’re off! Adelaide to Sydney flight was comfortable/window seat/breakfast (nearly dozed off) was feeling a little disgruntled about my seating for Sydey – Hong Kong flight – 76C!!  Right at back of plane.  Glad I didn’t ask for a re-allocation in Sydney and decided to “go with” just what the Universe dished out.  Turns out it is at very back of plane (Qantas 747) but is one of 4 seats that are doubles only (rather than 3) AND the best part is I’ll be able to stretch across two seats (all being well) in my little corner of the plane and get some sleep – after lunch that is.  Non smoking flight is a pain.  I’ll try not to think about it and get some sleep instead.

8.40pm Hong Kong time – Well here I am sitting in “Windows on the World” restaurant in Hong Kong airport.  What a relief!!  Had plate of fries, coke, coffee and am enoying a smoke in the smoking section!! of restaurant.  Most humane!!  The first thing I did on arrival at Hong Kong was to have two smokes – after a smoke free flight from Adelaide to Sydney to Hong Kong!! Took a photo of the “smoking area” sign to remember the occasion.  Had to put my watch back 1 1/2 hours on arrival cos it was getting too confusing and didn’t want to miss my flight to Rome.  So I’ve been here in Hong Kong 3 1/2 hours now (5 hour stop over).  First 2 hours were a pain saved only by endless smoking.  Had to wait in hot humid stuffy arrivals area until Alitalia Transit desk opened at 7 o’clock.  Ended up being 7.20 but my patience was rewarded by getting a smoking seat on the 13 hour trip to Rome.  Although I’ll likely sleep much of the time.  Managed about 4-5 hours sleep Sydney to Hong Kong, so that was pretty jolly good.  Had to use an Australian $50 note to buy my tucker and got change in Hong Kong dollars.  Think I’ll go and buy another carton of smokes with some of it.  Will help reduce my expenses in Ireland.  From memory they’re pretty dear there??  Well flight is due to board in 30 mins (9.20pm).  So need to finish this smoke and get myself into gear.

Monday 2nd Oct 1995 (pages 8-10)

2.15pm Dublin Airport – Well here I sit in restaurant having cappucino, smokes and about to chuck down some vitamin tablets after what is (at last count) 38 hour travelling.  Don’t quite know whether to laugh or cry.  Cry I think it’ll be, but I can’t afford the luxury right now.  Have to get my head together, energy levels up and plan my next course of action.

Was feeling OK (if a little tired) until I found out that my luggage didn’t arrive with me.  Well, that’s a first!!  Also having some real bad stomach cramps and need to go to toilet.  Woe is me.  Where is my Tour Organiser??  OK the story they told me here at Dublin that they’re not surpirsed my luggage didn’t mak it and they’re amazed I did.  Too many tansfers to check it safely all the way through.  Three is the maximum.  Figured it probably stayed at Rome while I moved on.  This would not surprise me.  Rome was a nightmare and although I was there 4 hours I almost missed my flight due to the fat that when we arrive about 4am there was no staff.  Those that were there were exceedingly rude, arrogant and unhelpful.  Must pause and find a toilet!!!!!

(the nightmare of Rome continued on Page 57)