She and her hubby Sumeet has been to Sydney on an onsite opportunity through a IT company and they had called Sydney home since last 5 years. I consider her as one of the biggest motivation factor for me having proceeded with my PR and has been a source of inspiration and a guide throughout the process. She had been very helpful to me in planning all aspects of my visit, from accommodation to places to visit, from making me aware of the 'must-dos' to letter me know of different offers I can avail. We had already setup to meet late in the evening at the Darling Harbour to watch the firework display. But all before this we has to pack up and get going.
Thanks to Anjali she had all the things wrapped up and packed the previous night itself. I had decided to use Uber to haul a cab and had thus differed this task to the last moment. I had booked the Sydney to Melbourne flights while still at India and had opted for the budget airline Jetstar, unaware of the fact that they depart from the Avalon airport which is much far away from the main city. While it had taken us less than half an hour to arrive from the Melbourne Airport, this one would take us a couple of hours drive. Whatever cost benefits I had availed from a cheap flight tickets were to be offset by the taxi charge to the airport. I decided to blunt the brunt of the taxi charge by chosing a Uber ride but it wasnt to be as surge pricing meter was indicating 4x. Though the scheduled departure time was 10am we had requested our host to extend it till noon as our flight was to depart only at 5 pm. So I waited for some more time hoping the surge to settle which instead spiked to 7x. Finally Our host advised me to opt for a local cab service and helped me with the App. I booked the cab which arrived with a few minutes. The very 'Indian' looking cab driver helped with loading all our luggage, we bid good-bye to Bryan and got ourselves settled in the backseats for the long drive to the airport.
The driver maneuvered the suburb lanes and soon we hit the highway to the airport. As we trudged along I realised this way the same route that would have taken us to the Great Ocean Road trip. Though my wish was making that pilgrimage was still pending, I consoled myself that I would make it happen sooner than latter. Very hesitantly I tried to strike a conversation with cabbie, the first question very obviously being to know of his origins. Though he looked very 'Indian', I was a bit reluctant to directly ask that a leading question. So instead I queried if he was from Asia? He didnt hear it the first time and thus I had to repeat myself. When he answered I realised he was our long lost brother at partition from Pakistan. He queried us back about our origins. I tried to strike a conversation with him but he seem to be a man of limited words mostly answering in mono-syllabic replies. Nevertleless he revealed that he has come to Australia for studies and decided to stay back considering the conditions back home. Rest of the journey was spent gazing out of the windows, appreciating the nature, the multiple lane highway and the systematic driving sense. When he took a shoulder turn off the highway I realised we have approadhed the airport, but there werent any aircraft visible still circling in the sky. A few more turns and we arrived a very desolate looking building with not a soul in site.