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Adventuring in Sydney (Part 1) and an unexpectedly long visit to the Hong Kong airport

February 24, 2013

In November I got the opportunity to go to Sydney for a week for a business training. It was a great trip. The business training was really valuable, and I got into Sydney the weekend before so I got to explore the city.

The first thing I went to was the Opera House where they have quite a lot of shows going on actually. I asked about going on a tour and the tour people said the best time would be early Sunday morning as there wouldn’t be any shows so the tour would actually go inside the auditoriums. As it was Saturday, I planned to go Sunday morning. Instead I ended up sleeping until 11 because of jet lag and time zone differences. But it’s ok, I got to go back in February.

Well I heard it was a good tour…

Well I heard it was a good tour…

I also went around the area known as The Rocks which on the weekends has a sort of farmers market going on. I think this is my favorite area of Sydney. Lots of small pubs and stores that are great for Christmas shopping combined with great street stalls on the weekend. Oh and it is right on the harbor basically so the views are fantastic. I also got to take part in street theater unexpectedly when I was pulled into a performance and had to pull someone through a tennis racket. Somehow he actually managed to do it.

Techno Didgeridoo

Techno Didgeridoo

The training went from Monday through Thursday and was very useful. On Friday I flew back to KL and had about 12 hours before leaving to go back to the US for my friends’ wedding. My grandma had also been visiting KL for a month and flew back to the US with me. We had an “interesting” voyage.

Our plane in KL was delayed a bit because of weather so we arrived in Hong Kong for our connection a bit later than planned. There was a sign for people going to San Francisco who were on our flight. Guess what that meant… Yup, they wouldn’t let us onto the flight to San Francisco. Our original layover was supposed to be an hour, but because of the delay we only had about 40 minutes. This would be more than enough time to change planes, but not for our luggage to get on the plane. Apparently Hong Kong law states that you have to travel with your baggage. So because our checked bags couldn’t be screened and loaded onto the other plane in time, we got bumped off our flight to San Francisco (as well as everyone else going to San Francisco). But no worries because they booked us onto their next flight. The only problem was their next flight was 12 hours later…

We made the best of a crummy situation. They gave us each a hotel room and we went out for a long dinner at a piano bar and grill where we had steaks and my grandma got to chat with the singer between songs. We ran into some other people who had been booted off the San Francisco flight as well and talked to them a bit. Eventually it came time to go. As compensation for getting bumped off the flight, we were trying to get me upgraded to business class so I could sit next to my grandma. We had talked to about seven different people to no avail. It seems that nobody was empowered to make a decision. They have these complaint forms so we filled them out for the airline and then decided to fill them out for the airlines lounge as they weren’t helpful. All of a sudden it was as if the light had gone on, once they staff at the lounge saw they might get in trouble they “found a way” to get me upgraded to business class and next to my grandma. It just made me think about how stupid a lot of the airline rules are. There is a lesson in there somewhere.

At the end of the day we made it back safely and only 12 hours delayed. Also learned a lot about the airlines policies. Could have been worse. After all I got to spend some extra time with my grandma and had a great steak dinner.

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