Cairns-bound for the Grand Prix ! Up-date !
This new word describes our experience in most overseas trips ! Nomination and selection were straight-forward. The preparation of the athletes, since they are both also bound for Samoa, has also been straight-forward. So where is the saga ? Their passports are both valid, but we needed visas for their Short Stay in Cairns. Maybe Australia is scared of more competitors trying to stay behind after their competition and become asylum-seekers ? Whatever the reason, we were going to be charged AUD 190 for the processing of each visa ! It took on the character of a saga once the discussions started about whether or not amateur sports people, attending a competition in Australia, should be charged this kind of fee when a business man (or woman) would be charged less than half that ($75) !!
Then yesterday, for the price of an ice-cream (!), I received the two passports, with their visas, free. Thanks very much !
Much to my surprise, when I checked with the agent yesterday, the two tickets WERE BEING PREPARED ! The PTA had arrived ! So they collect their tickets at check-in at 0430 am tomorrow !! (Well, maybe I will get them there by 0530 !) The flight is at 0715.
I managed to track down a man with enough cash yesterday and then found the bank open and NOT BUSY when I released myself from teaching a little early today ! So there now exists a Bank Draft to cover the cost of the essential 2 x $500 levy for the athletes to the Grand Prix. If I wake up, and they get up, maybe at least they will get to Cairns tomorrow. Aged 19 (Buraieta) and 21 (Beteru), they should be able to cope with the journey. They have been to North Queensland before. Good luck, guys !
THEY MADE IT !
Well, they both checked-in at Bonriki. They needed convincing when the reality of e-tickets (no paper) hit them ! What should make the journey slightly less traumatic is that other athletes (from Nauru and Solomons) will also join the flight en route.