Friday, June 19, 2009

Oz Day 13: Last Chance at Port Botany--and the flight home

A Quantas 747 departs Sydney: we'll be on the next one home!

Thursday, April 23: We were already packed and ready to go when we pulled out of the Formulae One in Enfield for the last time. Thank God! (I'll post some photos of our various accommodations in an upcoming entry so you can see how tiny this room was.)

Our flight home was scheduled for 130pm, so we had a few hours to kill before submitting ourselves to the check-in process. We didn't want to get too far from the airport, so naturally we opted for the Botany Bay goods line right across the street from the airport entrance. We parked the car in an area visited mostly by aircraft foamers and walked the couple hundred yards down a walking/biking trail along a canal, and under the railway bridge to the east side to wait.

940am: Lots of planes to see, but as yet, no trains. Here's an Atlas Air Freight 747-400F/BCF, one of three operated for Quantas Freight, landing low over the railway bridge. . .

948am: Here comes the first of the parade, the always-reliable T280 P&O Transport Australia shuttle from Yenorra, with the 4477/KL81. . .

. . and a Quantas 757 landing over the top of the train just a minute too late for both to be in the shot, however. . .

. . through the magic of Photoshop, no one's the wiser. . .

1004am: A Pacific National rock train pulled out of the gravel yard at Cooks River, across the bridge, then backed over the bridge on Mascot loop. Though not overly huge locomotives by US standards, that burly 81 class IS an impressive locomotive. We really should be turning the rental in, but we certainly didn't want our last shots in Australia to be of such a common EMD product. So, we waited. . .

1016am: Worth waiting for! The EL from yesterday's T182 has been replaced by CFCLA's 44204 Alco teamed with Southern Shorthaul's GM22. . .

. . Lance (and I) get one final shot, and then it's off to the airport. Farewell, Australia! You've certainly been worth the trip to get to know!
The check-in gave me pause. Lance was gracious enough to allocate some of his suitcase space (and more importantly, weight) to some of the stuff I'd purchased on the trip--namely, the big bunch of detail parts, decals, and car kits from Casula. Since owner Joe had already deducted the GST from my purchase, these could be in checked baggage. GST is refunded to foreign travelers at the airport, but only on items carried on planes, which made my packing creative: we jammed as many of the books we'd purchased, along with the Eureka 620/720 railmotor I'd bought via mail order but sent to Ray Pilgram's address, into our carry on bags. Even so, I held my breath when I hoisted my checked bag onto to scale at the Qantas counter.
THIRTY FIVE KILOGRAMS? That's around 74 pounds!
I was three Kilos over the alloted weight for my big bag, and faced a $150 over-weight fee. The ticket agent, though, bless her heart, mentioned that my second piece of checked luggage, a tripod in a soft bag, barely weighed three kilos. "I'll just split the difference; hopefully nobody says anything," she said. "You're my last customer of the day, and I think we'll probably get away with it." I couldn't imagine this happening with the bastards of American Airlines!
We used up the rest of our Australian money in the duty-free shops. I bought a flag for E. and a couple of t-shirts for the boys; Mary got a necklace and earrings with gen-u-wine Cooby Pedy opals.
And then we were off. The flight home seemed much quicker--actually, 2 hours faster due to tailwinds--and after dinner and a movie and ice cream and another movie and two Xanax, I was fast asleep, and didn't wake up until we were ready to land in LA. I actually don't remember much of the trip home--it was so anti-climactic after our Aussie adventure that I can't recall any of the flight from LA to Dallas.
I couldn't wait to walk through our front door!


Jeremy said...

Qantas doesn't operate any 757s. The airplane in your shot is likely the wider-body 767.

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