It was not an auspicious beginning. When you think of Australia, you think of sun and sand and pretty blonde girls. For the first four of my five days in Sydney it had been overcast and raining. So, when sun and heat finally broke through on Saturday, things got a bit out of control. Some friends were up from Melbourne and lunch at North Bondi Italian turned into something more like half a case of rose in the sun at North Bondi Italian. Of course, I hadn’t bothered to pack before flitting off on this side journey.
With images of unpacked bags weighing heavily on my mind, I broke out of my rose induced slumber at 5am and furiously began packing. I wasn’t 100% sure when my flight left, but as luck would have it, I finished re-organizing my suitcases at just about the time the bellman arrived to gather them. Off to the Whitsundays we go.
The domestic terminal Virgin Australia uses is rather small. Although I already had an email print out of my ticket, I wanted to print a “hard copy” boarding pass from the check-in kiosk. Several attempts were thwarted and I gave up. Once through security (note: unlike the U.S. or seemingly everywhere else, not once does anyone ever check your ID against your ticket on domestic flights in Australia), I checked my Priority Pass book and saw they had a lounge in SYD.
Sadly, once at the lounge, I was informed that the agreement with Priority Pass had been terminated in June and PP has neglected to update their literature…thanks PP! A bottle of water or so later, it was time to board.
Boarding was announced by row, but everyone got up at once and made for the gate. I had low expectations for a shorthaul domestic flight in Y, but DJ was really something. On this 737-700, each seat had seatback entertainment with DirecTV. So…here, on the other side of the world, flying in coach from Sydney to Hamilton Island, I watched Kentucky utterly humiliate Georgia in real time while cruising above 30,000 feet. Oh what an age we live in.
The flight was wholly uneventful, and they even served a meal. It was a “NY Style Pastrami Sandwich” along with some crackers and chocolate. While it hardly resembled any pastrami sandwich i’ve come across back home, it wasn’t the worst airline food i’ve ever been offered.
As we broke through the clouds during our descent, the scenery got pretty fantastic. Small, green islands and clear blue water, I felt like a Navy fighter pilot in WWII. We came in a little hot on our approach and the landing was not the most graceful, but it got the job done. Once the doors opened, I realized i’d forgotten what 90 degrees (F) felt like.