Saturday 10th November. Full day in Sydney

The plan was to walk up Gerorge Street and catch the open top bus which does a tour around Sydney (takes about an hour and a half) in order to get a feel for the place. This is a jump on jump off service that can be used like a taxi with the added bonus that the driver won’t bore you to death.

i loaded th back pack with all the essentials ready for a full day sight seeing but then we decided not to take it, instead Jaki would carry her bag and so we transferred most (but not all) of the contents from backpack to bag. Can you see where this is going.

Leaving the apartment block we went left and crossed the road onto Liverpool Street and kept walking till we reached Hyde Park at which point we realised we had gone the wrong way but using the leaflet for the open top bus trip we could see there was a stop just across the road from where we were stood.

It was at this point we realised the money was left in the back pack and we wouldn’t be able to pay. Reluctantly and with only a small amount of swearing we headed back to the room. 

Passing a bank we decided to get some cash from a cash point machine using the Debit card, however this was declined, apparently by our Bank. 

At this point it would be useful to note that after entering your pin it asks you what sort of account you have and gives three options; savings, cheque and credit. This made no sense to us and I think we may have entered the wrong information which might explain why we couldn’t get any loot.

So, with a deal more cursing we set off yet again back to the apartment.

Once we had sufficient money on board we walked up to Town Hall and boarded the bus. The driver was really helpful and offered me a discount as an elderly person and refered to Jaki as my ‘carer’. Would he have seen me in a different light if a hadn’t have been wearing my Pyjamas? He suggested we buy a 48 hour pass which would be cheaper and explained that we could catch the bus to Bondi which sounded like a plan for tomorrow. Sunday lunch on Bondi Beach?

The tour was interesting and we started to get a feel for Sydney, recognising various landmarks and just how compact it all is.

We saw all the usual sights and some not so familiar. We found it amusing that the taped commentary didn’t sync with the route so things like ” Ahead you will see the Australian Museum” was either two minute early or late depending on how long we had waited at last set of traffic lights which seem to rule the ebb and flow of the city. Also, be aware low hanging branches will swipe your hat off if your not careful.

We got off the bus at Sydney Harbour and saw a street market so set off to explore. There were the usual items that look great en mass but which never come out of the drawer once you get home, didgeridoo’s of all shapes and boomerangs guaranteed to bring down a full grown kangaroo if one came across it in Bedminster High Street, plus some really clever 3 D images made from Australian stamps.

i rather liked the Australian animals wearing Santa hats which you hang on your Christmas tree but Jaki was having none of it. She quite rightly said a Kangaroo isn’t just for Christmas.

We stopped and had a beer in a small courtyard behind what looked like a Terraced House before walking across the road to where a huge cruise ship was berthed  and we watched the excited passenger getting on. It looked like half Australia’s elderly population were getting on board. Perhaps they’re being exchanged for  Indonesian migrant workers?

Just around the corner was the Opera House which Jaki felt was much smaller than expected though she often experiences this disappointment.

We took our pictures, dutifully ” Oh’d and Ah’d” before walking up through the zoological Gardens to George Street where we found the Apple Store and bought another charging lead for the I pad as the fake one Had packed up.

It wasn’t much of a stroll then back to the apartment where we crashed on the bed and slept till about 1900 when it was a reasonable time to phone home.

Jaki contacted her sister and her Mum and I contacted Lloyd’s Bank.

This isn’t a very easy and I assume, will prove to be an expensive experience. In order to get through to a human you have to answer a series of security questions, put in secret codes, key in card details and wear a Mo for charity. Then you get to a person with a Glaswegian accent who advises they can’t help until they’ve asked you some ‘security questions’ to ensure you are who you say you are. How do they think you got this far if you were a fraud?

The cruncher came when they asked me what my current balance was. I don’t know,

You made a withdraw on 1st November, how much for? I don’t know.

Having been traveling for a week, crossed several time zones and swallowed 50 Mg’s of Valium, I don’t even know which day it is that alone how much I withdrew on 1st November.

Could I not check my account on line, they suggested helpfully.

So, I opened up the iPad, logged into the account and noted that I had withdrawn £100 in ASDA, Winterbourne.

Sorry Sir I can’t help you now as you’ve failed to answer the three security questions correctly, you will have to redial and go through it all again with another person.

Redial, go through it all again, another person. Are you mad?

But they have you by the balls as they have your money and you have to eat, so I went through the process once again With more success but they couldn’t help, I had to be put through to the Fraud department, and they gave me a reference number.

When I eventually got through they told me there was no problem with my card as far as they could tell and never once did they asked for my reference number.

If I can impart one bit of advice to future travelers, don’t bother with travellers cheques, no one takes them and there is a charge in the Bank to cash them. Bring cash and be careful or pre loaded cards.

Older, hungrier and a lot more stressed we called it quits and went out to get a beer.

 

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