Traveling is always fun, even when it is not funny! I try to keep on telling this to myself even in the worst moments when everything seems to fall apart. Leaving Sydney after I resided there for almost 5 months already made me a little sad. But when I landed in Hong Kong after a shit flight with Qantas and found a message request in my Facebook inbox I thought damn this day cant get any worse. But yeah I definitely could, when I received a message on the plan just before I was about to land in Israel, country number 78.
A lot of times I have been asked to write more about my adventures on my website but never knew people would be really interested in it until I saw all the reactions on social media after my horrible trip from Sydney to Tel Aviv. So what did actually happen?
Checking out at Four Seasons Sydney
I spent my last days in Sydney in style in the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel with the best view in Sydney for the Vivid festival. I was granted a Junior Suite and had the perfect unobstructed view over the Sydney Harbour. Like it was perfectly timed the amazing Vivid Light Festival started that same night. It couldn’t get any better as I was invited to indulge on oysters and a bottle of Dom Perignon in Grain Bar. You wont hear me complaining at all about that last night in the Four Seasons Hotel.
Unfortunately I did not have long to enjoy my breakfast in bed as I had to leave for the airport at 7.30 am. I tried to shoot some cool breakfast pictures before I left, but then really had to rush to make my flight to Hong Kong. As I walked around at the departure gates I found another 80 AUD in my pocket and wanted to exchange it into USD, but forgot the extraordinary fees Australia sometimes charges. Are you kidding me? 15 AUD fee? That is like 20% of the total! I took all my stuff from the counter (at least as far as I remember) and sat 30m further to connect to the horrible Australian WiFi. As predicted it was impossible to connect…
Sir why did you overstay your visa? Huh? Me? No, I don’t think I did. Yes sir you did! Uhm tell me what did I do wrong? You overstayed your visa with 16 days! Oh wow I am really sorry I had no clue! Yep that is where my 'awesome' day started going wrong! I was lucky and apparently I overstayed within the limits and they believed my story. What is it like living in Sydney and using an Australian Working Holiday Visa? Click on the links to read my blogs about the Australian Dream!
I love full planes. NOT! But somehow I always end up in an empty row so I had two seats just for me. Try to flirt at check in, it definitely helps. LOL! Anyway there were signs that this 10 hour flight could be a chill one, but flying Qantas is just not my favorite. First of all there are no electricity plugs in the chairs, I flew AirAsia from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur a couple months ago and my seat had an electricity plug, I was served by smiling young ladies and at Qantas a grumpy 60+ crew brings you your pathetic meal. I rather pay $5 extra for my meal at Air Asia and know that I get a big meal that at least satisfies me rather than the tiny little Noodle Box I got from Qantas. When the lady behind me started complaining that I had to put the back of my seat upright I was like seriously? Are you kidding me? The trays are not connected to chairs so it does not affect you. This is not freaking fine dining, smash that noodle box in 3 minutes and watch your movie! Please... :)
Bad news at Hong Kong Airport
I love Hong Kong airport it has free WiFi that actually works super fast, rather than most airports where you can’t even connect or you get a pathetic 30 minutes! Somehow I found a Facebook Message request from someone completely random and when I opened it I thought: F*ck My Life! I read: ‘Hi Tom, you forgot your wallet at the counter of Currency Exchange’. Yes I know I am stupid and I forget everything constantly, but seriously you could not get up from your chair and give it back to me? Or report it to Airport Security so they could announce it over the intercom? Incredible, I couldn’t believe what I just read but yeah I was wallet-less from now on. Having a bit of time to explore HKG? Click here what to see in Hong Kong on a stopover.
Israeli customs at Hong Kong Airport
So someone is paying you to come to Israel? Why would someone else pay for your holiday? You have been to Iran? Why? Noooooooooo! Not now please I just lost my wallet and I am a little pissed off! Yes Vibe Israel, a non-profit organisation that promotes Israeli Tourism invited me on one of their presstrips. Oh and by the way it is not a holiday! So you are working in Israel! FML, no I am not, I am a blogger and I write about my adventures. No, I do not have any political views or opinion because I only write about travel, I am not a journalist. About Iran? I loved it! Damn it these Israeli customs interviewed me for about 20 minutes before I could finally board my flight to Tel Aviv, but end good all good they let me go.
The worst thing that could happen flying El Al Hong Kong Tel Aviv
The first airliner in years where I could not completely stretch my long Dutch legs, a horrible 12 hour flight, which made the total trip from Sydney to Tel Aviv almost 30 hours. The food was alright, but the entertainment system was from 1999. There was a choice of 8 films! Damn it El Al are you still working with a DOS system? Flying El Al? That is a big NO too if you ask me. But this was not yet the end of my horrible trip from Sydney to Tel Aviv, the worst thing was yet to come…
Are you Tom Grond? Yes sir. Ok, we are really sorry but we are about to land in Tel Aviv and your luggage is not! Are you f$cking kidding me? So you are saying I delayed the flight because Israeli customs in Hong Kong loved my travelblogging story so much while you in meantime offloaded my suitcase?
Perfect! I landed in Tel Aviv with no wallet and no suitcase! Luckily the Vibe Israel team took great care of me the moment I landed. I felt like a lost refugee, but I made it to country number 78: Israel!