Thursday, November 22, 2007



This was a trip that came from out of the blue ( maybe blues will be more apt ) literally ! For the whole hellish story read my next post and for background info see my post on PA..... China ! And tell me if you ever had such an experience as we had encountered over those 3 topsy-turvy days.
All our meticulous plans for our very 1st visit to CHINA were completely dashed by the unbelievable and utter incompetency of our travel agency.
The sheer magnitude and total lack of professionalism on their part defies
Fast forward to the better part of our story. The time.....December 1993. The agency that had wrecked our China trip was still holding onto both our passports . I had given them an ultimatum to return the passports to me by noon the next day (Monday). Should they fail to do so, I told them, the whole sordid story will be out in the press.....and that would only be the beginning of my action! I spoke to the agent slightly past midnight by phone. She sounded worried and apologised profusely....knowing full well that, that could not ensure further disasters from happening still.
About an hour later, she called me again ," Mr Yip we are very sorry for all the trouble we have caused you both. We have been trying to put you both on a trip somewhere, today if possible, so that your approved leave will not be wasted. But so far we have no success available plane seats for two. We will be working on it. "
I was flabbergasted! They had totally wrecked our holiday plans and now, like the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, still clung onto the hope that they might, just a big might, be able to salvage something for us. They were asking a LOT from us......renewed TRUST!
My reply, " We have no choice. You have our passports. Do whatever you want until noon!"
She, " Have you both visited Australia before? Have you a valid visa for Australia right now?"
Me," Yes to both questions...but why? "
She, " We are trying to put you on Gold Coast tour. One of our tour groups had just left for Brisbane. But the seats are not confirmed yet. If we can get them would you be interested?"
Me, totally lost for input," I give your company till noon to work out something....anything that is about equivalent in time and cost to our original bookings." I gave them this last hope as the lady dealing/liaising with us was a very nice person who was not responsible for the comedy of errors. That was that and we took a look at our luggage, all neatly packed for a winter trip to China that did not materialise....before exhaustion and lack of sleep overtook us.
At 6.30 am our phone rang! I jumped up with a start. It was the lady again. She spoke very fast and excitedly.
She: " Mr Yip we just managed to confirm both of you for a return flight to Brisbane. The flight leaves at 8: 50 am. If you can both be ready, I can drive over to pick you up and head straight for Changi Airport in say half an hour, is it ok? "
I took a good look at all my clocks and my error there....they all confirmed it was 6:30 am! I wasn't dreaming! D2 was still in dreamland. Rubbing my tired eyes in total disbelief, I answered " OK! But can we make it THIS time? " without even checking with D2.
She:" To save time, can you get to the main road junction of your road? I'll leave soon!"
Me:" Sure thing!"
Everything I did was then in double quick time...awoke D2, told her briefly what transpired, what was coming, unzipped our luggage, poured out everything mostly winter clothes( it was summer in Australia ) kept the essentials like toiletries etc., and we were on the move in 15 minutes. Unbelievable yet true!
Fast forward again.....we were the last 2 passengers to board the plane, they had to make some announcements......but in the nick of time, we made it! Our luggage was carried on board, not in time, cargo door closed. Everyone seated looked at us when we entered the plane...wondering what on earth happened to these two... looking so out of sorts! If only they KNEW!!!

Photos: Top: We stayed at the lovely Chevron Hotel in Brisbane.
Center: We were given VIP treatment on arrival at Brisbane Airport.
A limousine with a full time chauffeur was at our disposal. He ferried us to all the attractions as the main tour group was in a coach that was on the move, God knows where!
Below: Warner Brothers Movie World

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