Coming Home

Wednesday – September 14th

After getting showered and dressed and spending about 45 minutes packing and re-packing my suitcase and backpack as efficiently as possible I made my way down to the lobby and checked out of my hostel.

Realizing the night before that I hadn’t had a bagel the entire trip, I searched bagel places in Sydney and found one close to the train station. Weirdly, the place was called Brooklyn Hide, the second Brooklyn themed breakfast place I’d encountered. Then again, I guess if we can have a chain of restaurants dedicated to Australia, they can have a few non-chains dedicated to New York.

img_4883Breakfast at Brooklyn Hide

In any case, I ate my bagel sandwich in the corner and then grabbed all my stuff, hopped on the train and headed for the airport. I got there no problem but when I got to the check in line, I faced a decision. I could either skip the long line and do self check-in at the kiosk, or I could wait in the longer line and deal with a person.

Since I was plenty early, it was 9:40am and my flight wasn’t due to board until noon, I took the long line. Additionally, I wanted to talk with a human so I could request a window seat. The line took forever and when I got to the counter I was faced with bad news.

Unexpectedly, my flight had been delayed to 7pm! This meant I wouldn’t arrive in Texas until 7:30-ish and which meant that a) I was going to miss my connecting flight and b) I wasn’t going to be able to visit Gas Monkey Garage like I had planned. The only thing Qantas had offered as a consolation prize (besides getting me a window seat which they would have done anyway) was a $30 food voucher to be used only on that day in the terminal.

img_4886Cruise ship and Sydney Opera House as seen from Circular Quay

I called my parents to let them know the situation and then made my way back to the train station to head back into Sydney. I figured my time was better spent there than sitting in the airport. I took the train to Circular Quay (pronounced “key,”go figure) and walked to the Sydney Observatory. It was one of the only things on my “to do” list I hadn’t gotten around to.

As it turned out, I hadn’t really been missing anything and after about 20 minutes, I left. I walked aimlessly down the streets and ended up at Darling Harbour. I sat and collected myself for a bit and looked at my list to see if there was anything else I could do. The only other thing on there was the City of Sydney Library.

I made my way to where I thought it would be and after consulting a map, and a bit of wandering around, I found it. It’s not a traditional library but rather a “link” to other libraries as well as a wi-fi hotspot with chairs and desks. And so that is where I am now, writing this, figuring out my next move.

In all honesty, despite the fact that it’s 2pm, I might just hop on the train and head back into the airport. What else do I have to do? I can grab some comped food, maybe finally start the Musk book that has been dead weight in my backpack and just relax until my flight.

To be continued…

4:40pm SITREP: after traveling back to the airport I went through security and then hunted around for a place to eat. Eventually, after walking all over the international terminal I settled on a place and got a shitty sandwich and a shitty milkshake.

Literally as I sat down to eat there was an announcement that my filght had been delayed again and now it wasn’t/isn’t set to depart until 9:45pm! I am never getting out of here. I guess I’ll just have to transfer to work at the Sydney Tesla Showroom, which I wouldn’t be opposed to.

8:06pm SITREP: made friends with an Aussie named Scott who is on my same flight. Chatted with him and added photos to all my blog posts; one less thing to do when I get back home plus it was a good way to pass the time. I also used my second meal voucher to get anther sandwich and a drink.

Eventually it was about a half an hour before we were set to board. I had a third meal voucher that I wasn’t going to waste so Scott and I went in search of food. We eventually split the voucher getting one muffin each. The muffins didn’t take up the entire $15 so he grabbed a water. A short while later we boarded. To my very pleasant surprise, not only did I have a window seat, like I requested, but I had the entire row to myself. This was a really good consolation prize.

Taking off on runway 34L, we flew right next to downtown Sydney. Sitting on the starboard side of the plane, I was able to get one final view of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House before heading out over North Sydney and then banking out over the ocean.

Once there was nothing left to see and we had leveled off, dinner was served. Shortly after that, I filled another craving. Being that I recalled seeing it on the IFE on the way there and that I had taken pictures of some of the locations from it, I knew what I had to watch. I went into the “Classics” section of the movie selection and clicked on The Matrix.

The Matrix is one of my favorite movies and since I hadn’t seen it in a few years, it felt sort of new again. Plus it was cool to see all of these locations on film that I had just visited in person. The movie ended around 1 or 1:30am and once it was finished I lied across all three seats, used two pillows and a blanket and got 8 hours of sleep.

When I woke up, I was left with an 8 hour flight, which, compared to 16 hours is a cake walk. Upon getting up I watched the movie Focus. It was actually really good. Then between going to the bathroom a few times, tracking the flight on the touch screen, looking out the window as we flew into daylight (and later back into night), watching a few episodes of Entourage and Silicon Valley, and eating breakfast, the flight was over and we were landing in Dallas.

When we got off the plane all of us who had a connecting flight and had missed it were given a packet containing our new flight information and a hotel booking. There was also a shuttle provided to take us to said hotel. After waiting on my bus for what seemed like an hour, we finally got to the hotel and I checked in.

Sidenote: along the way we passed Six Flags Over Texas which I had been to in 2006 on a cross country road trip with my cousin and my uncle. The last time I was there was 10 years ago!

It was around midnight Dallas time but for me, still on Sydney time, it felt like 1pm. So, after getting a recommendation from the front desk, I took an Uber into Fort Worth. I found an open bar in Sundance Square and had a couple of beers. I chatted with this one woman Rebecca who, liked my shirt and wanted me to give it to her and who, unprompted gave me her number.

I then chatted with the woman, Courtney, who was sitting next to me. After a solid conversation about Texas and “yankee” stereotypes, it was 2am and the bar was closed. I grabbed an Uber back and along the way, had my driver Harrison (who was super cool) stop at Waffle House so I could pee.

Upon arriving at the hotel I conked out for a couple of hours before getting up at 4:45am to take a 5am shuttle to the airport. However, when I got to the lobby I was informed there would no longer be a shuttle coming so me and two other guys split an Uber to the airport.

Fast forward to getting by bag checked, finishing my muffin, going through security and taking a picture of the Gas Monkey Bar and Grill at the terminal before calling my Mum to give her an update and, shortly after, boarding my final plane. Unlike my original flight, which was set to be on a bigger 757, we were on a 737 with no IFE.

That’s false, there were drop down TV’s from the ceiling but they were playing The Angry Birds Movie, and who wants to see that. I listened to three podcasts and had the little biscuit and juice before essentially sleep/napping the rest of the flight home. It was a full flight and this time I was stuck between between two dudes in the middle seat.

Despite being a relatively short flight, the lack of entertainment and lack of comfort made it seem like it took forever. Eventually we landed in Boston where I collected my bag, took the shuttle to the Blue Line, took the Blue Line to the Orange Line, got off at Sullivan and then walked home.

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