Holidays Our little holiday diary

Australia Part One

PART ONE.

Day 1 (Year 2008)

We nearly had one almighty Di’s aster to start our holiday off. We had locked the windows, turned the gas off, set the alarms etc., and got our cases into Peter’s car. Eric was so excited……. I had to remind him to go back and lock the front door. Doh!

We had an excellent ride to the airport and cruised through security without a hitch. Eric was disappointed he didn’t get frisked. Once on the plane, we settled down for the long twelve and a half hour haul to Singapore. The service was brilliant, loads of delicious food, which is right up my street, as you know. (Well done Singapore Airlines)

Day 2.

Arrived in Singapore bright and breezy. NOT. What is it with us and airports? Our arrangements were that as part of the hotel deal, we would have an airport shuttle transfer. Obviously it didn’t turn up!! Everyone at the various airport desks were trying to be helpful but weren’t. Mind you, very few spoke English. We were sent from one end of the airport to the other for two hours, in the end we managed to get transport ourselves. What we had not taken into account was the fact that it was early the hours of Sunday morning.

We stayed at the Miramar Hotel on the banks of the Singapore River. We went for a walk by the side of it and had a rather poor, pricey meal; I could have fed us for a fortnight. Even the napkins, peanuts, and we think the knives and forks as well were charged for. We hadn’t got the hang of the Singapore Dollar. So we soon learnt it’s rather an expensive city. It didn’t take long to sort out the eating arrangements, Pot Noodles and sandwiches from the garage next to the hotel. (Typical Sanderson’s)

We went on an evening River Cruise. It was amazing. It was like Blackpool Illuminations with statues and sky scrapers all lit up; there were even some fireworks. It was very hot and humid so the breeze on the boat was very welcome.

Day 3.

One of the things Eric was looking forward to in Singapore was a walk along Bras Basah Road which he visited 55 years ago when he was in the Army. He had fond memories of the open air dance halls and the oriental women dancing. The road is still there but obviously nothing is ever the same, but now he’s walked on it again, so he’s happy, (Bless), it doesn’t take much does it?

We went into the famous “Raffles Hotel” which was a complete surprise as it is situated on the corner of Bras Basah Road and Beach Road. It was closed to the public for two years 1989 to 1991 to build a major new “Raffles” complex behind the hotel. They have re sited the “Long Bar” where the drink “Singapore Sling” was invented and served (Recipe on request)!! We stepped inside but as soon as we found out the cost was over fifteen pounds, we stepped out again. Instead of having a drink, I had a wee! The toilet area was all mahogany and brass, (very classy). It must take ages to walk around the whole hotel; it is ever so slightly on the posh side. Better than Butlins.

Day 4

We set off very early for Changi airport to drop our luggage off. We had meticulously planned our last day in Singapore. It will probably go tits up!! It did!! The plan was to take a train from the airport to a reconstruction of a Malay Village similar to the type Eric had guarded when he served out there, only to find out it was no longer there. One of us was very disappointed! Back on the train into Singapore City to take the cable car over to Sentosa Island. It used to be an army museum but it is now a fun park, I use the term “fun” loosely. It’s now mostly an enormous building site. Because it was lashing down with rain, we went into a 4D cinema show to keep dry. Disney World it ain’t. So back to Singapore Airport, one of the cleanest in the world, in fact it was spotless; there is a $1,000 fine for littering and $2,000 the next time you get caught. Singapore is called the Garden City cos every spare inch has been planted with foliage. I must add that the trains are incredibly impressive. There are yellow lines on the platforms where the train doors are supposed to line up to. They are accurate to within and inch every time.  We took the “Red Eye” flight to Sydney, surprisingly without a hitch. It took eight hours.

Day 5.

Arrived in Sydney mid morning it’s like still being in Singapore, there are more Orientals here than in Singapore. Eric’s eyes are still popping out of his head looking at the gals! We were met at the airport by Sean (Mien host). We had booked on the internet an en suite room. To say it was “tired” is an understatement. It was more “knackered”. He also said it was in the “old part of town”. I think he should have said “slum area”. It’s called “The Old Rectory”. I’m glad we booked the BEST room in the house!! There were eight more rooms sharing one bathroom. We have renamed it “The Old Wrecktory”. It is in a suburb called Tempe, pronounced Tempee. More like 5p as far as we were concerned.

We went to the train station and bought a seven day runaround ticket for bus, train and ferry, we got our monies worth on the first day. We would recommend this ticket to any traveller.  We went in to town on the train, (which was a double decker), got off at Circular Quay, looked up and there was Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, which was a complete surprise, we didn’t know they were in that area.

We took a ferry ride to Manly. Very pretty. Got fish a chips and ate them outside trying hard not to share them with the seagulls. It was dark when we sailed back in extremely rough seas. The Opera House, Bridge, and sky line were all lit up but my camera didn’t want to know. Eric slept through it all.

Day 6.

Took the train into town and wandered round a huge market. Eric bought himself a hat. Thank god for that, it stopped him wittering on about getting one. Little did we know the weather was going to be so bad, he could only wear it in our room!! Next off, we walked to Darling Harbour, then along to Hyde Park to get a train to the airport to enquire about hiring a car for the rest of our holiday. They wouldn’t let us off the station because we were out of our ticket area. What’s new! So we went back to the Wrecktory, which by the way was directly under the flight path to the airport, very noisy! Whenever a plane flew past we could see the pilot’s eyes. We thought we would watch a bit of TV but obviously the thing didn’t work, did it!

Day 7.

Got up and went to the kitchen for our “free” continental breakfast. Their pet cat was on the table licking everything in sight. Oh! yes it was!!  (You can use your own imagination). There was a choice of cereal (take it or leave it). Bread and the toaster, DIY. Where on the continent have they visited then? We were looking forward to various ham and cheeses. Sadly, no sight of them.

It was absolutely lashing down with rain and freezing cold. Sunny Australia, WHAT!! Everybody was wearing coats, scarves and gloves. No, I’m not kidding. We had another hard day of walking and my little fat hairy legs were getting shorter! We went into a number of car hire offices, got the best deal and went back to the friendliest man (Michael) at Thrifty Car Hire and asked him to beat it. He did. He even threw in the cost of a taxi from the Wrecktory to the Hire Car Office when we were due to collect the hire car.

Day 8.

We thought we would brave the elements and got out by 9.00am, intending to go into the city for the Sydney Opera House early bird tour. Well, it saves a bit of money. We had to call somewhere on the way and got terribly delayed so missed the tour. Typical!

The weather was much worse than yesterday, the roads and pavements were flooded, the winds were ferocious and an epidemic of dead, abandoned umbrella’s and wheely bins scattered everywhere. There was no point carrying on. So we didn’t. If only we had thought to bring our wet suits!! We nearly got back to the Wrecktory when, waiting at the traffic lights, a car drove through a flooded part of the road and soaked us to the skin. We are stuck now, in the Wreck until our clothes dry out.

We were I bit worried about the boiling hot temperature on this holiday but we didn’t bank on British weather following us out there.

 

We will leave it there for now. Part Two of the “Adventures of the Intrepid”. Sorry, I meant “Inept Travellers”, will follow in due course.

You can get to Part Two from here.

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