Friday, February 18, 2005

Disaster, Phantom Days And A City Named After Some Bloke

I've now had my first big setback of the trip and it is proving to be a right pain in the ass, although I must admit that I'm completely to blame. I was waiting in line at Santiago airport to check in and reached for my wallet to get out my air miles reward card, when all of a sudden my wallet wasn't there. Being the dopey prat I am I had left it in the bus and when it got back to the bus station the wallet was no longer there. This, naturally, was rather distressing as, apart from my air miles card, my wallet contained both my credit and debit cards (and my lucky quarter that I've had with me ever since my trip to America in 2001), though luckily very little money. This led to a fair amount of worry on the flight to Sydney, which would otherwise have been quite relaxing, although I was lucky enough to have a friendly Colombian neighbour with whom I spent some time chatting away (it was probably my last conversation in Spanish for quite some time, so I hope I don't forget much). The flight was interesting in one other aspect. I left Santiago on the 14th of February, and arrived in Sydney on the 16th. So even though I wasn't there to experience it, I hope the 15th was a good day for you all.

The whole process of cancelling my cards and ordering new ones sent out here to Australia has been a rather trying experience with my calls being bounced around from one call-centre operator to another, with interminable waits as I'm kept on hold (the one silver lining being that I now know the tunes to Beethoven's 9th and Vivaldi's 4 Seasons off by heart!). Hopefully all that has been resolved and I should be getting some money wired to me this evening. It may also mean that I can finally have a decent meal as in the past four days I have spent only $2 on food (a box of porridge) and have been forced to raid the "left food" shelf at the hostel at regular intervals. So whilst walking about town I have been uncontrollably salivating at people dining at al fresco restaurants and wailing in despair as half-eaten meals are left to be discarded. Because of this I have been unable to enjoy Sydney to the full, being confined solely to activities that can be done for free, such as strolling around town. The area in which I'm staying is called Kings Cross and seems to share the same reputation and character as its London namesake; the centre is bland yet pleasant; and the opera house and nearby botanical gardens are suitably lovely. However the place is just packed with backpackers (mostly English) and I can't wait to get to the west coast which hopefully won't be as overtouristified.

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