Journey to the New World, 1997

Prologue and Preparations

20th February, 1997
14th March, 1997
8th July, 1997
20th July, 1997
4th August, 1997

Thursday, 20th February, 1997

Drop Cap e're off again. This time the arrangements are well in hand at this stage. We have chosen our tours, booked and even paid for two of them, (or we will have by Saturday). This time we are heading for the other side of the globe from where we usually go, to the New World! Cue theme by Dvorak.

Drop Cap e have been looking at brochures all last year but were unable to finalise the ones we wanted before the 1997 book came out in November. As it happened the one we had earmarked had changed slightly in that instead of including the flight from Seattle to Anchorage, we now have to get there under our own steam.

What we have planned is this:

Drop Cap e leave Sydney on Friday August 15th and fly Canadian Airlines to Calgary via Honolulu and Vancouver. Qantas will take us the first leg to Hawaii in a Jumbo and Honolulu to Vancouver will be Canadian Airlines DC 10. I like DC 10s. There always seems more room, or there did when we flew to Manila in 1989. We change planes again in Vancouver and take a Boeing 737 airbus to Calgary. The plane from Sydney leaves at 9.20 a.m. and since you always have to be there two hours in advance, we are having Thursday night, 14th, at the airport Park Royal hotel in style. They have a shuttle to the airport which will get us there much easier than trying to come from Blaxland.

Brochure photograph

Globus Canada/Alaska Brochure

Drop Cap rom Calgary we take the Globus Tours "Majestic Rockies and the Cariboo" tour, through the Canadian Rockies to Vancouver. It includes, Banff, a night at Chateau Lake Louise, Jasper, Athabasca Glacier and Victoria on Vancouver Island. 10 days of hopefully glorious scenery (please let it not rain)

Drop Cap e then spend a night in Vancouver and leave early next morning for Anchorage Alaska, via Seattle for some incomprehensible reason.

Drop Cap rom Anchorage we do the Globus "Alaska and the Yukon" tour which takes in Glacier cruises, national park wildlife safaris, Gaslight Follies , luxury trains, Diamond Tooth Gertie's saloon and finally, from Skagway, a four night cruise in a luxury cruise liner "Regal Princess" (love boat type) down through the Inside Passage back to Vancouver. It promises icebergs, whales, seals, meese, bears etc etc. We will take the binoculars. It all sounds very exciting and the pictures in the brochure are wonderful. It is very expensive so I hope it will be worth it.

Drop Cap have since been told by someone who has been on a Princess line Alaskan cruise, that very dressy dinners are the convention on these boats. Formal nights, (black tie etc) She said that the women wear ball gowns and tiaras! Well, we won't be, not only do we not have that sort of clothing, we would not want to be carrying it across half the world and around on a coach trip! Okay for Americans and Canadians who come solely for that cruise, but inappropriate for us. I hope it won't be too embarrassing.

Drop Cap hen we get back to Vancouver we have three days stopover to explore a bit of British Columbia and we intend to contact Jackie and Barry Lamb who we met on our French trip in 1995. We exchanged cards at Christmas last year and they say they would love to see us. We have a hotel booked but would like to take them out for dinner or something.

Drop Cap e leave Vancouver on 10th September by Canadian Airlines to Honolulu where we join another Globus tour "The Grand Tour of Hawaii". This gives us a lot of free time to shop and laze around and takes in four of the islands, Oahu, Maui, Hawaii and Kauai. We will have a free day in Kona on Hawaii island where Cathy lives. So hopefully we will be able to catch up with her and her family.

Drop Cap e leave for home at midnight on 23rd September and get into Mascot at 6.25 on Wednesday 24th. Correction: Because of crossing the international date line we get in at 6.25 on Thursday 25th.

Drop Cap t all sounds so wonderful and we are really looking forward to it. After all, it is over two years since we have been away.

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Friday, 14th March, 1997

Drop Cap ell, we have now paid for all three tours plus extra nights in Vancouver and Honolulu and our travel insurance. All we have to pay for now is airfares, hotel in Vancouver for three days and travellers' cheques etc. We have transferred our Bankcards into Visa cards which can be used internationally, as in America, according to my reading, it is sometimes necessary to have a credit card. Together with the Cirrus function on our Natwest cards, travellers' cheques and some cash which we will arrange before we leave, it should hopefully be enough. We have to pay the balance by the end of June.

Tuesday, 8th July, 1997

Drop Cap ll the financial details have now been arranged. All the tours, all the accommodations etc. We have decided to get $2000 in American dollars travellers cheques to go with the $1500 we already have, left over from our European trip. With $500 each of Canadian dollars and American dollars in cash and our Visa and Natwest cards we should have enough. We only have to pay for lunches and some dinners, souvenirs, film, postcards and postage and of course the obligatory "voluntary" gratuity to tour guides and drivers. I would be interested to know just what their salary is. I know waiters and waitresses etc don't get paid well by our standards in America and Europe so tips are a necessity to them, but I don't know about tour guides etc. After all, they get the tours - and stay at the same first class hotels as we do!

Sunday 20th July, 1997

Drop Cap ime is getting away! We are in our usual paranoid state - the documentation has not yet arrived. I went to see Annette at Jetset last week and she says the air tickets are here, the hotel vouchers are here etc, but the Globus documentation for the tours has not arrived yet. When you think how early they demand payment for these things it is a bit much. They have the use of our money but we have nothing to show for it. However, it worked out alright last time even though Annette had to deliver the last of our documents two nights before we left.

Drop Cap have bought all the clothes I am going to but still need a new pair of sneakers. I have consulted a podiatrist and Dr. Phillips and am getting treatment including acupuncture for heel spurs which are causing my feet pain. The podiatrist recommends AVIA brand shoes, only available from Athletes Foot and I will get some next week. Also I will order the Travellers' cheques. Time is going so quickly now and I have a very crowded calendar for this month. I must remember to buy a couple of phone cards from TELSTRA so I can phone home from anywhere without payment. I must remember to get a new battery for my camera. I have bought two disposable panorama cameras for the scenery but I need more film. We also need haircuts and in my case a perm. And to have our winter jackets and Mac's sports jacket (his most formal garment) drycleaned. I seem to be using this diary as a reminder list. With all that is going on in my head at the moment I really need it written down somewhere!

Monday, 4th August, 1997

Drop Cap ell, would you believe, it is all ready! We have all the documents, packed in bright red Globus bags, millions of tags, name badges etc. Annette gave us a Jetset wallet which is much more classy than the red and white plastic Globus one so Mac will use that. I have my own leather one. We have collected $2000 in American express US dollars travellers cheques and five hundred in dirty looking, unimpressive greenbacks. Also five hundred Canadian dollars, a little better. I can't quite believe it has all come together and am scared to leave the house for fear of breakins. So now the only thing left to do, apart from my hair, is to clean the house, pack the fridge for Geoff, make sure the laundry is up to date and pack and go!

Drop Cap e got a letter from Vancouver on Friday, from Jackie and Barry Lamb, whom we met on our trip to France in 1995. They not only included brochures of tourist attractions but offered to meet us at the boat when we arrive because the cruise boats dock very early in the morning and hotels only accept you after midday. Since they included their e-mail number we replied via Geoff's and accepted their offer. An answer came this morning. The Internet is absolutely amazing. I am looking forward to seeing them, it puts a different perspective on touring when you can get away from the group mentality even for a couple of days.

Drop Cap ell, unless anything radical happens between now and 15th August, I will end this prejourney diary here and start again on the trip to Calgary. Can't wait!!!

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