Sunday, 3 May 2009

Counting the cost of Qantas

It is a two and a half hour drive from Sydney airport to Port Stephens. Just as well we leave eight hours to complete that route. Really, we could have done with twelve hours to park the car and pass out properly at the roadside rather than behind the wheel.

It's not that things went badly. They just went without any sleep at all, thanks to the Qantas flight of doom.

So at 7am on this Sunday morning, Dig is standing only by means of his skeletal structure propped up against the Thrifty Car Hire desk at Sydney airport. He has no consciousness at all, having had that removed somewhere over Darwin. This makes it comparatively straightforward for a Thrifty woman to extract several thousand pounds from him including his life savings and a promise of 25% of all future earnings in exchange for a week's hire of a dark blue car, make of which completely passes me by.

Picking up the car sets the day off nicely. It's an automatic, so we don't know how to drive it. Dig presses all the buttons and levers and tries to find something to do with his feet. He may as well hang them out the window to amuse the kids who are falling into a full scale war in the back driven by lack of sleep and madness. Tiger is chanting Mummy needs a poopy as we kangaroo the wrong way out the car park entrance with the attendant shouting slowly behind us, Sir, it would help if you took the handbrake off.

From that, all else follows. We have no idea how to get out of Sydney. We have no map, or at least we do, but the navigator, whoever she is, does not discover it in the glove compartment in front of her for 40 minutes. We have no food or drink and in sixteen seconds of finding Highway 1 the consequences of starvation, sleep deprivation and madness burst forth in nuclear war on the back seat.

So we make a slow and juddering journey to a week's beach holiday based in Port Stephens, travelling an average of two miles an hour thanks to being handicapped by a handbrake permanently on and no clutch, a driver who is unconscious for most of the journey, a navigator off her face with lack of sleep, and triplets punching each other about the head over who has moral rights to be a snow leopard.

At least we have the gratification of seeing this sign at one of many laybys we become familiar with, heading north.


sharon said...

What a crappy way to start your stay in OZ. Hope it improved....

Grit said...

yes! but could i ever live there? .... hmmm