So being Bengali and more importantly from Portsmouth, I refuse to pay the extortionate exchange rate at the airport and decide that 40 Australian Dollars from the cashpoint is going to have to get me to Parramatta from Sydney and I’ll deal with my cash-less issue there later.
As directed by a lovely lady (who thought I was a student) with a big smile, smudged lipstick and a mother like demeanour, I go find my place at the bus stop. Second bus is the number 400 to Burwood, my next destination, except I have notes and the big beardy driver doesn’t take notes. However, from underneath all that facial hair there is a smile and he says ‘you’ll just have to go take a seat!’ ‘That’s very kind of you’ I say (my English sounding really English!). My new best friend tells me all about his travels and Egyptian wife and 30 minutes later I’m in Burwood.
This place is full of Thai and Chinese food and lots of hair dressers…full of older men being groomed…fascinating, I wonder if the bus driver ever tends to his beard using such services!
I’m very tempted by the food smells but bearing in mind it’s only 9.30am I decide to stay focused on my mission to get to my hotel. I have a lunch time meeting with a minister from Ireland. Besides I’m still full from DimSum breakfast.
I head to the shopping centre thinking there must be a money exchange place here. A nice young man in a bed linen shop tells me there isn’t and I should go find the bank. He even googles the exact location…three shops down…(I don’t think he goes to the bank very often!)
So to the bank. another lovely lady with smudged red lipstick (there is a market for quality lip liner here!?¿). She tells me that the cashier bit is closed and I can’t take any cash out on Saturday however there is a money exchange place next to the bed linen shop!
I’m thinking I should forget the money thing today and just get the hotel. She points me to train station across the road. Great. Direct trains! Ahh nowhere to buy tickets. I start talking to a young woman (no lipstick). Who kindly calls the ticket guy. Who tells me they are short staffed and he’s on the platform seeing a train in but he’ll be down in a bit. (It’s like Southern are following me around the world).
He turns out to be very helpful. Instead of 5dollars on a single I get an Opal card for 20 for the week – I can now travel on everything! I’m very excited by this concept and the icing on this little adventure is I find my favourite Sesame Snaps in the Opal shop too!
So 20 and a bit dollars, a few nice Australians and a sugar boost later I am here. Personal mission for my stay will now be to get every last moment out of my Opal card! Love having time for small adventures!