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?


Stephen Moore said...

Cattle class in Jetstar international doesn't sound like much fun. Next time I fly to the US I'd like to go Premium Economy on the Qantas A380 - you pay $$ for the extra space but on international long haul I reckon it's worth it. But then again when I'm travelling I'm not carting a family around with me so can afford the splurge.

Nice that you got the gps to work in Oz. Did you have to pay for an Australian map for it to work, or were you able to get one free?

And all this time I thought Tim was the bloke beside you in the profile photo. But he's the one behind you. And Jack's there too!

Fe said...

Oh I'm laughing so hard! When I flew with the boys to from Sydney to Glasgow last year, Boo threw up all over me on the first of the three legs of the trip!! It was horrendous and we were both covered in vomit with no spare clothes to change into.

Still... we survived and no one around us complained so it couldn't have been TOO bad!

I love your detailed posts of your trip. Makes me feel as though I am there with you. Can't wait to get to the part where you meet ME!

Oh, and Stephen... I thought that Tim was the guy next to Dina in her profile pic too! I wondered if she'd brought her OTHER husband when I first met them!

Dina said...

Stephen: Before we went to Australia last year, Tim and I vowed we'd always go business class if we went overseas. The few times I traveled with my parents overseas, we always went business. Going economy seemed absolutely nuts.

But then when we decided to go to Australia in 2007, we looked at the prices and I thought HOLY SHIT!

It's one of those things where we might be able to afford it, but we'd have to make huge sacrifices elsewhere. For example, stay in Australia a shorter time.

I don't know. It's kind of bad being in the economy seats. But not that bad.

I haven't looked much into Premium economy though. Is it that bad price-wise?????

I'm not sure about the GPS. I THINK we downloaded the map for free. Maybe? I'll ask Tim.

FE: Boo throws up a lot, doesn't he???!!!

I'm so scared of being covered in vomit for a long plane ride. I bring extra clothes...even for me. And for Jack, I brought TWO extra pairs of clothes. I think I did that because in one of Ayun Halliday's books she talks about how her daughter threw up on her, they changed clothes, and then she threw up again.

I guess on the bright least it was your own child throwing up on you. I think what would be worse is being barfed on by a total stranger.

LOL about the profile pic!

Stephen Moore said...

PE is priced midway between Economy and Business. Checking the Qantas website, Melbourne -> LA return is between $2000 and $3500, depending on type of ticket. Econ is upto $1300; Bus is over $7000. Being Qantas, you do pay a premium for the name and extra service.

Jetstar has a business class (called StarClass). It's just a touch over $1000 to fly Sydney -> Honolulu each way.

Depending on one's luck, Economy can be fine, though. On a packed flight it can get squishy, but if luck is with you it will only be a half full flight so you can spread out. I've been lucky enough a couple of times to have a whole row to myself so I can spread out across three or four seats to sleep. Actually lie down in Economy! :^)

Dina said...


Maybe one day we'll do Jetstar Business class. That's pretty affordable. Maybe?

We're trying to figure out how we're going to fly next time. We might have a shorter time since Tim will have to return to week. We said if we have only 14-16 days, we might just splurge and do Qantas...the straight flight.

BUT I really loved flying through Hawaii. I loved being able to break the trip up that way. And it's MUCH more affordable for us to do it that way.

Yeah, we lucked out on our flight. Jack and I were a bit squished because we were in the two-seat part. But Tim had the whole row to himself. And he was able to take some of our stuff to make more room for us.

Anonymous said...

Every day I look forward to reading your adventures! Keep them coming. Its like a novel! Your fan on Overton Crest!

Dina said...


Thanks, Dad : )

Jayne said...

Next time I'll lend you my broomstick, Dina :P
Now you've got me hankering for sushi lol.

Gun-bae!!! said...

We had to pay for the map (for the GPS system)...I found it online for free but that would be illegal...and I didn't want to chance it not working when I went over there...okay so it's more of the latter.

Yeah, we did the chance thing in economy and it panned out for us...except on the flight back, people would lay down without asking on my row and sleep! But I had trouble sleeping on the way back anyway so it wasn't too bad.

I think we can swing premium...I was looking at for this trip but at the time we booked Qantas was just rolling it out.

Wait...everyone thought I was Greg?!! Oh, how humiliating! Change that picture right away!!

Mr Spooky said...

Chinatown! I used to live just near there!

Dina said...

Jayne: The broomstick would be GREAT!! And I still have a taste for KFC.

Tim: How much did we pay for it? Whatever it was, I think it was totally worth it. Well, except maybe that last day.

Too funny about Greg. If I married that guy, he'd probably already be six feet in the ground. And I'd be in prison.

Mr Spooky: Cool!

Andrew said...

I am enjoying this. Look forward to the next morning. I may be wrong, but I don't think there is any smoking in Victorian hotels. I have heard that they have smoking floors in Sydney, where a whole floor is smoking rooms.

Dina said...


I may be wrong, but I THINK the hotel was supposed to be nonsmoking. Or at least our floor.

But maybe it wasn't. And that would explain why they seemed a bit annoyed with us.

I just looked at the website. They say the Phillip street one is all non smoking. Maybe the one on Wentworth allows smoking?

But I'm pretty sure I would have checked the door sign to see if it had that little nonsmoking picture.

Mistress B said...

see I knew there was a reason why I didn't fly!! lol

Dina said...

Mistress B,

Yeah. Flying kind of sucks. But until they come up with teleportation or Jayne gives me her broomstick, I'm stuck with it!

mscherrylane said... confusing...I always thought Tim was the guy in your profile photo too- no wonder Jack looks like my niece! you and my other american blogger friend both have asian partners...that is very strange to me because for some reason in Australia this is a very rare combination(caucasian women with asian men) I wonder why? My sis in law is an american caucasian woman too...

Dina said...


All of you guys are cracking me up about who my husband is!

Asian men/Caucasian woman combos are pretty rare here too. I think it's becoming a little more common though...maybe?

Retarius said...

Yeah, I was wondering who "the Asian guy" was for a while..maybe a character from Lost who snuck into the the other guy on the profile photo was a former partner?

About those airline arrangements - that's what gets me about all those sorts of have to master an encyclopaedia of BS to use those special features. And the staff you deal with don't know the rules anyway. I don't think anybody ever fronts up to a counter and says "I want to use my (insert concession title)" and hears: "Of course. Here. have ten of 'em!"

Nope, it's always like Captain Kirk's "Rules of Fizbin"...only applies on a Tuesday and if there was a lunar eclipse last month...can't use that here because this a "J" class facility, not "K" aren't wearing a blue won't be eligible for that till next week..

That's why I just travel as rough as guts and determinedly refuse to have a bar of any of it.

Dina said...


lol about Lost.

The other guy in the photo is a family friend I've known since I was sixteen. He used to work with my dad. He had been working in NZ for a few years and flew into Sydney to see us.