I am at Sydney airport now in United First Class lounge. It's not the end of my journey yet since I have at least 24+ hours of travel time ahead of me.
The funny part about this leg of the trip is that I arrive in Los Angeles before I depart. I leave Sydney on Tuesday at 2.45pm and arrive in LA on Tuesday at around 11.15am. In fact I with be departing from Los Angeles before I depart fron Sydney. Confused? It all works out since I cross back over the international date line and step back a day in time.
The First Class Lounge at Sydney isn't that great but has some food to snack on. Some nuts, cheeses, breads and rolls. They also have a limited selection of wine and cocktails.
I got to the airport real early, almost 3 hours before my flight to deal with the train, check-in, immigrations and security. I breezed through every part of the journey and was done in record time. This gave me more than enough time to wander through the shops and get rid of the last 20 Australian dollars I had. I spent it on honey and candy. Like I need more sugar!
Speaking of candy I have a new addiction from this trip. No, it's not Vegamite, it's "Fry's Turkish Delight". Fry's Turkish Delight is made by Cadbury and not something commonly found in the USA. It's a chocolate covered jelled candy that is rose flavoured. The first time I ever tried this I was in London and I spit it out with disgust. I guess now that I am older I have a taste for different things. Anyway, I bought a few packs to take home including one that is in little bite size pieces.
My bags on returning to the USA seems to weigh a lot more than when I arrived. The United agent at the check-in counter thanked me for spending all my money in Australia. I feel like I did my grocery shopping rather than normal tourist souvenirs, craft and clothing purchases. My bags are filled with wine, candy, honey, curries and olive oils. The only things I bought tha weren't food were tee shirts, a few cookbooks and a souvenir or two. The most expensive thing I bought was the Kylie Minogue catalog from the exhibit in Melbourne at $80 (US$72), Eric you owe me $72 (plus shipping)! It's a nice book and I am sure Eric will treasure it. I just hope the bottle of wine or olive oil doesn't break open and distroy it otherwise I bought myself a book!
In all my years of travel and shopping domestically and overseas, I have never had anything break in my luggage. I've dragged home countless bottles of wine, jars of jam, bottles of vinegar and even a set of 12 glasses without incident. The secret is "dirty socks". Ok it sounds gross but the food is sealed. I just put my jars and bottles into a sock and sometimes wrap them into a tee shirt then pack them tightly into my luggage. I swear... I washed those wine glasses before I used them!
My total purchases on this trip came to about US$400
As I wandered around the airport shops today I was wondering, what's up with duty free shops? They are suppose to have tax-free deals yet everything seems so much more expensive. I noticed that some of the wines were 50% more expensive than street prices. I suppose the shop keepers don't collect the tax but jack up the prices for their own profit.
We are a few minutes away from boarding. While on the flight I am going to write a few final thoughts, my reviews of Rydges Melbourne Hotel and the Sydney Harbour Marriott as well as the "memoirs" from the flight. Oh, that should keep me busy on this 15 hour flight. My next post should be at about 11.30am Pacific on Tuesday.
To everyone who followed along, thanks for coming! I had a great trip and really enjoyed Australia. I am glad I came and had the experience of a lifetime.
In about an hour I shall bid farewell to Australia with a slight sigh as I stare out the window of my departing 747 United Airlines jetliner.
Blogging from Australia with Blackberry and Cingular Wireless.