Friday, March 14, 2008

Australia

Well, after visiting one of the newest CT countries (Malaysia), I traveled to the ancestral home of Computer Troubleshooters - Australia. My plans (which went awry) was to have an 8-hour stopover in Sydney to have lunch with my original business partners and dear friends, Wilson & Suzanne McOrist. Wilson & Suzanne are the founders of CT, and up until a few weeks ago they ran the global company while I handled operational support, program development, and the USA operations. At the end of January, after a lot of planning, Wilson & Suzanne decided the time was right to step down so we arranged a transaction where they essentially sold their shares to MerryMeeting (our partners here in the US) and my job changed to "Global CEO".

So I was looking forward to catching up with my friends and finding out how their "retirement" is going. Unfortunately I was so focused on the meeting that I neglected some important things - like verifying where my luggage was going, or confirming my next flight. This would cause problems later on!

But I arrived at Sydney's international terminal, took the bus to the domestic terminal, and found the McOrist's sitting an airport cafe'. We took a taxi to Coogi Beach and enjoyed a nice chat in the sun followed by lunch at a beach cafe. All very nice. Later we took another taxi to visit Steve Paino, the Regional Director for New South Wales and the oldest CT in Australia. Here's a photo of the five of us (including Steve's wife Lorraine) in Steve's retail shop:

Steve has a nice, highly visible shop for handling computer service requests in Botany (his territory). Its' on the corner of two main streets, and the green & orange CT logo stands out well.

Afterwards I spent some time with Wilson & Suzanne at the airport before they left on a 3:30 flight back home (they live in Coffs Harbour, a vacation spot in between Sydney and Brisbane). I sat around waiting on what I thought was a 10pm flight to Christchurch, New Zealand. However, long story short, it turns out my flight ARRIVED in Christchurch at 10pm, it actually DEPARTED Sydney at 5pm, which is about an hour before I actually bothered to check on the flight. So I realized I'd be spending an unexpected night in Australia!


The problem with unexpected overnight stays is finding accomodation. And it doesn't help that I'm a pretty cheap guy - until this cropped up I was proud of the fact that my 21-day, 7-country trip was going to cost less than $7000 total (mostly for the airfare). So after some internet research (because the airport hotels were more than I wanted to pay, or were full) I found a lovely run-down motel in Blakehurst for only $80/night. Plus $25 for the taxi ride out there. Plus whatever medications I'll need later on for whatever diseases I'm sure I caught from the lovely lopsided motel bed. Seriously, this place was bad - the TV got 7 channels of static, several light fixtures were missing, and there were many mysterious stains around the room in all sorts of intriguing colors and shapes. I didn't sleep well. BUT I've been in worse places, and I did meet some interesting people. One gentleman who was checking in behind me offered to give me a ride to the airport the next morning, which I accepted. Turns out he was driving a 23-seat bus, so there was no shortage of space. He and his wife do tours for visiting university students in Australia and New Zealand, and he'd just dropped off a group (along with his wife) that day so they could travel on to NZ. Very nice guy - we had a nice chat on the way to the airport at 6am, and it saved me $25 in taxi fare!

(my motel room was equipped with state-of-the-art 1974 technology,
including this handy bank of switches next to the bed, for switching on and off
some of the working lights, the TV with no reception, or the leaky air conditioner).

The benefit to my overnight detour is that I wound up on the same flight as Australia's CT Director, Nick Roche. Nick's a great guy, and so we were able to talk some business on the flight and share a taxi once we arrived in Christchurch.


The exciting thing for me though is that Christchurch is my last stop before I head home. Three weeks on the road is starting to wear on me a bit, and I admit I'm looking forward more and more to my own bed and a better selection of clothes!

Next Stop: Christchurch!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oldest Computer Troubleshooter???
How old is Steve????????????

I thought that honour went to Howard L (he used to use computers that were powered by coal!!!!!!)

Nice work Chip.
Cheers
Rhod.

katherine micaela said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sania Mirza said...

Doing your own computer repairs is great when you understand what you are doing