We had to wake up at 5:55am. Here the taxi, at 6:25am.
And there we are, at the last overseas airport.
After having made it through all security checks, it was time for breakfast. The kids had Subway for breakfast. Auke had chicken and bacon ranch, Dieuwe had Subway melt, and AnneRoos had roasted chicken. Don't know how they could eat that so early, I just had yoghurt, and Ida had a cherry Danish.
Slightly before 2pm we left the Van Dorps:
As we had to drive to Queensland, we could undo the daylight saving time we had to incur in New South Wales, so that meant an additional hour of sleep. Very nice. We had our last dinner in Kangaroo Point:
No desserts for the boys, but the girls had a $10 and $12 desert.
And that was it! Tomorrow up at 5:55am and then to the airport where the plane should leave at 8:30am.
Getting internet in Brisbane was somewhat problemetic to say the least. The hotel offered wireless, at a fee though. 15 AUD for a day. We took that for the first day, I would try to find a SIM card the next day. After some research I decided that Three mobile broadband would be best, so we drove to their shop. Unfortunately they didn't offer their services in Grafton, and I couldn't run the risk I would not have internet access in Grafton. They suggested Telstra.
That proved to be an ordeal I've not yet experienced. When I arrived at the Telstra shop an assistant took down my name and said it would take about 20 minutes. One hour later there was still one person in front of me...
As we had decided to go to Wet'n'Wild and it was getting late, I left. We arrived at Wet'n'Wild at about 13:15, but should indeed have gone earlier as the kids probably could have spend an entire day there. Interesting attractions, such as the Kamikaze where you sit on a floating mat, and do a free-fall... I did that one with AnneRoos, Ida didn't want to try this one.
Next day I went back to the Telstra shop, this time trying to be earlier. I was there at about 9:15am. The shop was already full! There were 3 other shops I passed, Three, Optus, and another one, and they were basically empty. What was Telstra doing that it attracted these customers? Like yesterday, the shop was full of elderly customers. That's perhaps their target market? They very painstakingly go over what these customers want or need, their 250MB or 260MB plan, and just take all the time that's necessary. Incredible painful to experience in my case, but perhaps it makes good business sense. I only wished I didn't need Telstra, but had no option.
Two customers in front of me the assistant informed me, should only take 10 to 15 minutes. Actually after 20 minutes I was finally served. I could make a quick selection, the basic prepaid mobile broadband was 30 AUD with a whopping 75MB (that's meant to be sarcasm). I got a month all-you-can-use mobile wireless in Israel for $55, and a 3 day all-you-can-use in Singapore for $18! But I believe the Three plan is also significantly better (2GB for $30 if I'm correct).
Next I needed to activate this SIM card. In Singapore you just plug it into your USB modem, and that's it. Here you need to call Telstra and get someone on the phone, who creates an account for you. They need your address and passport again. Again, because you already need to provide them when you buy the SIM card (you must do that in every country). But no country asks for it twice. They needed the correct ZIP code for the address (luckily I remembered the street name), but didn't know the ZIP code. Obviously they didn't have internet access at the other end, so they couldn't look that up themselves. The operator suggested I asked a shop assistant, which I did. I then had to remained on hold for a few minutes. After that the operator informed me it would take a few hours to activate my SIM card. What??
The last question was how I found the process. I didn't use any uncertain words to describe this ordeal.
But at least it's clear why Telstra was so busy: not only their target market, but also their procedures and systems are from a different age. At least I can now understand why the mention of Telstra causes certain reactions with people who have lived in Australia.
Anyway, finally done. I was back at the hotel at 10:40 or so and we had to leave, to drive to Grafton.
On Monday September 28 we left Singapore. Woke up at 6:15am. Bernard Young and his wife had offered to pick us up with the church van at 7:30am. It was only about 20 minutes or so to the airport, traffic wasn't very busy. Here the church van at the airport:
Nice piece of advertising!
Overall, we found Singapore to be quite a nice city, clean, crime free, and not too hard to get around. Getting through the airport wasn't too hard either. Next a 7.5 hour flight to Brisbane. With Singapore airlines. They had power, even in economy class! Unfortunately I had checked in my car adapter, not even sure I had an airplane plug with me. Something to remember. If one has power on an airplane, a trip can be far more productive, not just lost time.
We arrived in Brisbane at 7pm, already dark. And cool. Much cooler than the last 4 weeks. Very pleasant.