The much-awaited time arrived. 13 Cabs scored for punctuality and in less than 40 minutes the cab slid smoothly along the length of ibis Budget and came to a halt at the corner of Edwin Flack Avenue and Dawn Fraser Avenue. Crossed hurdle No 1 I thought to myself as I stepped into the foyer of the hotel. My hands reached automatically for the bell on the counter and tapped it twice to attract the attention of the staff on duty. A man in his mid or late twenties appeared from inside the staffroom, took us through the usual formalities and I received the key for Room No 633. We dragged our luggage, stepped into the elevator and within the blink of an eye reached the sixth floor. Ten steps saw us to our door and once inside we felt claustrophobic being accustomed to spacious double-storeyed modern townhouses. The room looked bigger online; however, it took less than forty-five minutes to feel and move comfortably in the room with a television, laptop workstation, attached shower and toilet facilities. One cannot complain when such facilities are available at a non-refundable $338 for four days and four nights.
Initial excitement was replaced by pangs of hunger. Responding to the call, we stepped out of the hotel and explored the eateries available on Dawn Fraser Avenue. Out of the innumerable take-away outlets, we settled for subway and returned to our room as I would have to retrace the route for a 4pm start session that day. The ritual of sleep-ins, late breakfast, take-away lunches, evening professional development sessions, and buying dinner on the return journey continued for four days with an exception. Each day we explored a historic place. Due to time constraints we paid a quick visit to ANZ Stadium, Sydney Aquatic Centre, Bicentennial Park etc. The location of the hotel was such that within 5 to 10 minutes’ walk we were exposed to a variety of cuisines ranging from street food to Gourmet meals. A relaxing, fruitful work combined with pleasure trip!