|Prince is ready to go Down Under from JFK|
Upon arrival, we went through customs to officially get into a new country & continent. Lucky for us, the process went rather quickly. Once we finished, we proceeded to go to the Travel Concierge at Sydney Airport since we didn't have a preset game plan as far as sightseeing went. Without further adieu, I spoke to a young lady there named Fatima who was very helpful at guiding us along. First of all, she told us they had a shuttle bus that we would take us right to our hotel. I knew from doing my research that the Airport Link train they have goes to an area called Kings Cross that was a 7 minute walk to the hotel. That was $16.40 one way. Fatima told me we could take their shuttle bus instead one way for $19. It would have been $32 round trip but since we needed to leave early upon our return to the airport, we decided to take her up on her deal. In retrospect, it turned out to be a smart move. For a few bucks more, we got door to door service right to our hotel. It was better than dragging our luggage around more than necessary. Since there were other customers on the bus we got to take a ride around the CBD aka the Central Business District if you will. That's what they refer to as their downtown area there. After taking a joy ride we arrived at our hotel in Potts Point which is a classier suburb of inner Sydney. The lady who sat next to us on the plane told us that it's a very nice area. I think she gave us sound advice when it was all said & done.
In addition, we also purchased a one day trip to go to the Blue Mountains & Wildlife Park Tour & the Australian Explorer which is a sightseeing bus tour for another day. By doing so, we had something set in stone for a few of the open days we set aside to look around the City & the surrounding areas during the time we planned to be there.
As for the hotel, we stayed at the DeVere Hotel for six nights which also included breakfast each morning that we paid half price for since we were staying at that hotel. Their slogan is simply comfortable & affordable. It wasn't the top of the line nor was it the bottom of the barrel. It was somewhere in between. It suited us just fine since the location turned out to be ideal for our needs. Upon arrival early Saturday morning, we were able to get an early check in at 9:30AM instead of the normal 2PM check in time. In addition, since we got there around 8:45AM they even gave us a voucher for a free breakfast while we waited for our room to be ready. Right off the bat, I knew I made a sound decision when I booked the room online in the middle of February.
I also want to personally thank our pal, fellow roadtripper & experienced world traveler, Sean MacDonald who was vital in helping me plan out this once in a lifetime journey. He guided me along as I found a way to piece together this excursion to foreign land. When I first knew I was going there, I didn't have a clue. As it got closer, I did the best I could researching online & I also read a book called Australia For Dummies that a co-worker of mine had given me. He used it when he went there on his honeymoon last April. It proved to be a very helpful & informative tool in finalizing my trip plans.
Once we got checked in, we went to the room & we got to catch up on sleep since we were exhausted from the long plane ride we took to get there. We managed to get three hours sleep before we went out to meet up with some Ballpark Chasers that I arranged to meet on our way to the Sydney Cricket Ground where the MLB Opening Series games were taking place between the Los Angeles Dodgers & the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Across the street from the hotel, there was a Woolworth's store that sold tickets for the bus that would take us towards The Light Brigade in Paddington where we were going to meet these people at 3PM for pre game drinks. We wound up buying a ten ride pack for $18.40 which was a discounted price from the usual $2.20 they charge for each ride individually. It turned out that we needed to take two different buses in order to get where we needed to go. That plus some help from some perfect strangers aka mates as they call people there. Thankfully we were able to find a few who were very nice & helpful. Without them, we would have never found the place without wasting more time. We did arrive later than planned because we had to wait for the first bus for quite some time. In the end, it all worked itself out.
When we finally arrived at the Pub, I walked in & I looked around for familiar faces but I didn't notice any right away. All of a sudden, I heard someone yell out & I quote "Casiano" it was none other than Eddie Bultman who was present & accounted for along with a table filled with other Ballpark Chasers. Among those people who showed up were David Schaffer who's also from NYC. I've met him a few times. I arranged to have him join us there. In addition, Ken Liu who I had been in contact with online also showed up. He lives in Los Angeles & he likes the Dodgers. He was there with a guy named Gavin who he hired as his host for the time he was spending in Sydney. Furthermore, a young lady named Stacey Flores who I spoke to briefly online through the Ballpark Chasers Facebook page was there with her friend Evan who now lives in Phoenix with her but he said he's originally from Seattle. They were Diamondback fans. We also met up with a guy from Toronto named Martyn Bailey whose been to 66 different countries he said. I remember him mentioning on the ballpark chasers Facebook page that he was going too. It was great to meet him. Last but definitely not least was a gentleman named Paul Tyson who was there with his lovely wife Susan. Eddie & I knew him from Twitter. He lives in Melbourne, Australia. He & Susan came up to see the first game. As a result, he's the reason we wound up there in the first place. It turned out to be a memorable welcoming gathering for all of us. We all got to share stories of our amazing travels.
When we got finished we made our way over to the Sydney Cricket Ground which was within walking distance. Along the way, we lost some of the group & since communicating was difficult because I didn't get a data plan while I was there, I had to rely on WIFI & random meet ups. Ironically the King & I managed to run into some of these people along the way at the game.
Speaking of the game, please stay tuned for a special post that will go into detail about the first MLB game ever played Down Under.
Thank you for reading & following along.