Thursday, March 12, 2009

Day which our hotel room smells bad

We left our Hawaiian hotel early in the morning. Our Jetstar flight left at 8:15. Since we were flying International, I guess we probably left the hotel at five.

I remember we stopped at Starbucks in the airport. I don't remember if I got anything. I'm sure Jack did.

We went to American Airlines' Admiral Club which shares space with the Qantas Club. The woman working there apologetically told us that Jetstar customers didn't have club privileges. Tim explained that we were coming in as American Airline customers. Even though we weren't flying with American on that particular trip, we were still allowed to still use the club. The problem was then that the American Airlines aspect of the club wasn't yet open. Only Qantas was. But the woman welcomed us in anyway. She warned us however that next time we might not be able to get in. We thanked her. We appreciated her kindness. But I felt we didn't belong there. The same thing happened to us last year. We had been told by someone that we could get into the JAL club. Then when we got there, we were told we really weren't allowed, but we could come in anyway. I don't know. Situations like that make me feel weird.

On Jetstar, you have to buy the extras separately. You can either buy things when/if you decide you want them, or you can purchase stuff ahead of time. Tim did the latter. We got meals, pillows, earplugs, drinks, and a portable video machine. The video machine was horrific. That thing is so heavy! There's not much room in the economic seats, especially when the person in front of you leans way back. It's really hard to reach down and get stuff out of our bags. I put a lot of stuff in the seat pockets. I guess if I kept them empty, I MIGHT have been able to squish the video player in there when not needed. The hardest thing is trying to deal with a meal on your tray while watching a movie. It's pretty much impossible, so then you have to find a place to put the video player while you eat. We lucked out because Tim had a whole row of seats to himself. He would store our video players when we weren't using them. I actually didn't use mine too much. I watched an episode of Enough Rope. It featured a young Indigenous Woman. That made me pretty emotional.

Later, I watched W...the movie about George W. Bush. I found it fairly interesting...gave me a new perspective on things. It made me see George W. as being less evil and more just incompetent. After watching the movie, I had less anger towards him and more anger and shock at my country for actually allowing such a person into office.

I continued reading Have Courage Hazel Green. I think maybe by this time the book started growing on me. I started to like it.

I went to the toilet although at that time I was still probably calling it "the bathroom". Embarrassing moment: I couldn't figure out how to flush the thing! I looked everywhere. It turns out that the little picture I saw that explained how to flush WAS the actual flush.

 I even asked a person standing in line for the toilets. She was Australian so I figured she MUST know how to flush every toilet in Australia. She had no idea what to do either. Although I don't think she actually looked in the toilet/bathroom. After she did her business, she probably wondered how I could be so stupid. But it did make me realize how ethnocentric I can be. I expect Australians to automatically understand all Australian toilets. Do I know how to work every single American toilet out there?

What else happened on the flight?

Jack spilled his apple juice. I got a little wet. It wasn't too bad though. At least he didn't throw up on me. That's probably my worst airplane fear. Most people fear crashing. I fear spending the flight in vomit-stained clothing.

I listened to my I-Pod for awhile. I don't do this much. It usually ends up making me very emotional. Sure enough. I heard a song and it made me cry. It was this song from Eli Stone called "Your Belief".

It's hard for me to imagine this now, but at the time I had a lot of mixed feelings about returning to Australia. I guess I was scared it was a mistake. I've been obsessed with things before. That's not new. But I've never spent thousands of dollars and dragged my family (including a child) half way across the world to satisfy the obsession. I guess I sat there on the plane thinking why the hell am I doing this to us?

I don't know.

I guess the lyrics of the song spoke to me.

Take away all the things that you know are true. Suddenly what seems to be is all in you. Listen to your soul. Don't stop until you know. Remember what got you here. Take away your fear.

All right. And honestly, I think I also cried because Eli Stone has been canceled and I'm a bit sad about that.

The plane landed. We went through immigration and customs. I don't really remember much.

We then waited for our luggage. That took a LONG time. I think our suitcases came off fast, but Jack's booster seat was one of the last things to appear.

We took a cab to the hotel. I don't really remember any of that.

I do remember the hotel. We stayed at the Travelodge Hotel on Wentworth Avenue. I wasn't too impressed. The room smelled like smoke. Tim agreed with me about that. We called downstairs to tell them about the situation. I kind of expected them to move us. They didn't. Instead, a guy came upstairs and started spraying our room with air freshener. I wondered if those chemicals were worse than the actual cigarette smoke. I asked the guy if he smelled the smoke. He said no. There was this attitude of No, there's no smoke. You're probably a crazy oversensitive woman, but I'll humor you and spray if it makes you feel better.

Oh! I forgot to mention this, but I see it in my notes! I still had that damn rash between my legs. It was quite disgusting.

A room that smelled bad and a disgusting rash. Yeah, not the most glorious beginning to a holiday.

After we unpacked a bit (but not much since we were leaving in two days) we headed off towards Chinatown. I'm not sure why we headed there. Maybe we had a taste for Chinese food? Anyway, we looked like total tourists. You would think all the prior Australian research I did would enlighten me enough to pass as a local. Yeah. No such luck. I carried around a Time Out Sydney travel book. The three of us would take turns looking at the map. Then on top of that, Tim had a TomTom (portable GPS system). He bought it to help us when we were driving, but we decided it might also be useful when walking.

I don't think we made it to Chinatown. I think ended up in a Japanese street. We went to a Japanese arcade where Jack played his beloved claw game. He didn't win.

We looked for a place to eat. Tim was attracted to this sushi place where the food comes around on a conveyor belt. I was attracted to a ramen noodle place. Their menu had a vegetable ramen soup that looked so good to me. I hadn't had ramen noodles in so long and I had been craving them.

Tim was nice and let me go to the restaurant that I wanted. Sadly though when I ordered the vegetable ramen soup, the waitress warned me it wasn't vegetarian. I had to order something else. I don't remember what that was, but I do remember that I liked it a lot. Tim liked his food too and didn't give me guilt trips about us not going to the conveyor belt restaurant.

We went back to the room and proudly realized we had not ended up going to bed too early. I think it was about nine o'clock when we started falling asleep. We weren't victims of jet-lag, going to bed at six or seven and screwing up our whole schedule. First day and we were already already doing great!

Could there be a chance I counted our blessings too soon?