Michelle and Charlie's Around the World Trip 2004-2005 travel blog

kite boarders at Palm Beach

Captain John's new haircut

Back in Sydney we spent a day with John and Anne driving north of the city to the many, many beautiful beaches that line the coast. In the morning we ended our long, long hiatus from running with a short jog up and down Bondi Beach followed by a cooling swim. We also were able to meet up with an Irish couple that we had met months ago in Peru. They are living and working in Sydney for a few months before resuming their travels and we had fun comparing notes on our adventures in South America. While we were away, John got a haircut resembling Charlie's (although a little more was left) as part of a fundraising campaign for the Leukemia Society. By showing his before and after photos was able to raise $500 in a short amount of time. We liked the look, although even his own mother didn't recognize him at first.

Oh yeah, after booking the hotel with Emirates Airline in Melbourne, they told me to call a few days before the flight just to make sure everything was all set, although they assured me that it would be. So the morning before the flight I called the number. After being put on hold the unfriendly customer service person informed that no visa had been processed for Charlie. The reason? Because I had told them that Charlie was a resident of Dubai. Huh? In disbelief I had to argue with this woman that he was not in fact a resident of Dubai and that I had never told anyone that he was. I finally got her supervisor, who was unconvinced by my argument that this made no sense - why would we have asked for a transit visa if he lives in the country and what would I gain by saying such nonsense. She claimed that it was "he said, she said" and had to give the benefit of the doubt to her employee. This was really the last straw in a long line of incompetent and rude service we had been given by this airline so I really lost my temper. They refused to remedy their screw up by either paying for the $50 visa on arrival fee or by letting me cancel their stupid package. Finally she gave me the name and number of the supposed complaint department. Charlie called the number and was informed by the first friendly person there that she was not, in fact, the right person to be contacted, but transferred him to the correct person. After a much calmer discussion than mine, this guy promised he would do his best to make sure that the visa would be processed by the time the plane landed.

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