The Day Before: The Bumpy Road to North Sydney
Saturday, 29 October 2016.
Today I would be travelling to the Rydges North Sydney to check in for the next three nights.
I could have gotten there by 2:00pm, the earliest check-in time, but ultimately I decided that there was no hurry.
So finally, just after 3:00pm I loaded up and left home.
Just a few minutes after I left, my four-wheeled suitcase veered awkwardly for a moment as I pushed it down the street. At the time, I thought it was caused by something heavy in my bag, so I left it at that.
It was a hot afternoon, Town Hall railway station was about 15-20 minutes’ walk away, and my backpack was heavier than usual with my iPad, my personal laptop PC and my work laptop PC – but fortunately the walk was downhill halfway and flat after that.
Before I reached Town Hall, my suitcase veered awkwardly again a few more times, but I continued along.
At Town Hall, the next train to North Sydney arrived only a few minutes after I got there. After that, the trip across the Sydney Harbour Bridge was short and uneventful.
After I got off at North Sydney and began heading through the Greenwood Plaza Shopping Centre, I thought that perhaps I should have gotten a taxi from the station to the Rydges instead of the walk that I was about to do…but then I decided that, although it would be uncomfortable for a short while, it wouldn’t kill me.
I emerged from Greenwood Plaza on the west side of Miller Street, which rises in a long slope as it heads north towards the Rydges.
I began heading up Miller.
My suitcase veered awkwardly again, and because it was a cheap and light suitcase it had little of its own heft when pushed – especially uphill. In frustration, I began dragging the damn thing behind me on two wheels.
I continued further up Miller.
Finally, about 10 minutes after leaving Greenwood Plaza, I reached the intersection of Miller and McLaren Streets.
I waited until the Walk light turned green, and began to cross.
Because the ground was flat again, I tried pushing my suitcase on its four wheels again.
And yet again, it veered awkwardly.
Oh, for fuck’s sake!
I angrily glared down at it and resolved to next time pack my suitcase better…
…until I saw that one of the wheels was coming apart.
That was why my suitcase had been veering awkwardly all this time.
Oh, for fuck’s sake! again.
I dragged my shitty suitcase onto two wheels once more as I turned down McLaren to the Rydges.
About 20 minutes later, I was in my cosy and pleasant-looking room…
…but I was drenched in sweat and pissed off thanks to my fucking suitcase.
As I showered and then changed into clean clothes, I thought about what to do with my suitcase and the trip home in three days’ time.
Where and when the heck could I find a new suitcase before Tuesday morning? Was there a good luggage shop in North Sydney on Monday? And if not, what then?
After a while, though, I told myself to knock off that worrying.
Besides, there was something more immediate and important to think about.
Barely an hour after I’d arrived at the Rydges, I departed to head back down into the North Sydney CBD.
Apart from staying at the Rydges and being able to start better for the 7 Bridges Walk, there was another reason why I had been looking forward to coming to North Sydney.
It had been over a year since I’d last visited Had To Happen Mexican Restaurant (WARNING! Make sure your sound is not too loud), and I was keen to enjoy its cuisine again.
And I did 🙂
Speaking of food, another thing I was looking forward to in North Sydney was fuelling up with a ‘big breakfast’ (bacon, eggs, sausages, hash brown, toast) before the Walk.
At first, I had thought about the Rydges buffet breakfast…but that didn’t open until 7:30am, an hour before I was due to start the Walk at Milsons Point Village, and I would have to leave the Rydges by 8am at least to get there in time. That meant only about 30 minutes of somewhat hurrying my breakfast, rather than an hour to enjoy it at a slower pace…
…and then I saw that Rydges room service was available from 6:30am.
Great! I could have time for both a leisurely big breakfast and a dump afterwards if required, and leave the Rydges at 8am feeling pleasantly fuelled for the long day ahead.
After returning from Had To Happen, I submitted my breakfast order and spent the last few hours of Saturday night relaxing until an earlier-than-usual bedtime at midnight.
I went to bed happy and looking forward to Sunday.
The Morning Of: Walking On Empty
Alas, the six or so hours of solid sleep I had hoped for didn’t happen.
Partly because I found that when I woke up at around 3am, my room was somewhat stuffy thanks to disappointing air-conditioning.
I spent the next three hours of passing in and out of sleep until I got up at 6:15am.
I sat at my desk and went online as I waited for my breakfast to be delivered.
6:30am came around.
And then 6:45am.
And then 7:00am.
This sucked…but I decided to be patient.
Soon, 7:15 came around.
And when 7:30 came around with still no sign of my breakfast, that was it.
I took a dump and got ready for the Walk.
First, I got dressed and put on some sunscreen.
Next, I packed my backpack with my iPad, a large empty water bottle and some fun energy boosts.
The night before after I’d left Had To Happen, I’d gone to a nearby supermarket and gotten some supplies for the Rydges and the Walk. Initially for the Walk, I was just going to take a couple of bags of jelly beans as the fun energy boosts – but on impulse, I also bought six small chocolate bars for variety.
Now, though, two of those bars went into one of my travel-vest pockets as breakfast on the way to Milsons Point Village.
But before that, I had to stop at reception to ask about my preferred breakfast hadn’t arrived.
But before I could get to reception, I discovered that only one of the two working lifts was now working (the third was under repair).
A moment later a lift going down did arrive – but it was full.
I waited about five minutes for the next one.
At reception, there was one member of staff and one person before me checking out.
Another few minutes passed.
When it was my turn, I politely reported my missing breakfast.
The member of staff was very pleasant and professional. She called the kitchen, and she reported that (a) the kitchen didn’t open until 7:00am (despite room service being advertised as available from 6:30), and (b) they’d tried calling me several times to tell me (although my room’s ‘phone or my mobile hadn’t rung at all).
It wasn’t quite another case of Oh, for fuck’s sake! – but I was a little annoyed.
Most importantly, though, the cost of that missing breakfast was removed from my bill.
The member of staff apologised for what had happened.
I thanked her very much for her courtesy and help, and left.
It was now after 8am.
I had less than 30 minutes to walk to Milsons Point Village.
I was pretty sure I could still make it, especially as it was all downhill to there…
…but then again, after the unexpected delays I’d experienced this morning, would I?
I could have gotten a taxi from the front of the Rydges – but this being Sydney, even a taxi-ride could potentially take as long as walking there.
And what if something unexpected happened along the way –
I would walk, because that seemed like the most likely way I would get there in time…
…but what I had originally hoped would be a relaxed walk to Milsons Point Village now became a hurried walk.
Back up McLaren and then back down Miller I went, grumpily starting on one of my chocolate bars as my replacement breakfast.
So far, not a great start to the day.
And I hadn’t even gotten to the Walk yet.
TO BE CONTINUED