Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Mum enjoyed being in Sydney, that much was clear. She flew down on Sunday to see an apartment and every time I spoke with her on the phone she sounded happy and engaged. Big switch from how she often sounded when at home, up here in Queensland. Must be the activity. The busyness. The bustle and hum.

Feeling like you're doing something useful can make a big difference in an old person's life, I found.

She took a good friend down with her as a travelling companion. After all, mum's 80 this year and quite frail. Her luggage on the trip included a wheeled walking frame. She always uses it - in fact she's got two. The one she took down to Sydney has three wheels. She selected that one because it is lighter-weight than the four-wheeled one. Easier to get in and out of cabs with.

They took a room in a big block of units in Darling Harbour. When mum slept in the afternoons her friend walked around to see the sights and get a feel for the place. She told me she hadn't been to Sydney for 40 years. She also went shopping at the nearby Coles supermarket and, as they had taken an apartment with a kitchen, they were able to cook breakfast for themselves in the mornings.

Mum remarked on how busy Sydney is compared to the small regional town we live in. "I couldn't believe all the people," she said. "It's fantastic!" She last saw Sydney in 1999.

I had insisted they take a room at Darling Harbour as it would be close to where mum needed to go in the mornings. Her appointments were in Pyrmont. It's also handy if you want to go into the city for any reason - you can just walk across Pyrmont Bridge to Market Street.

They didn't make it that far, tho. They were too busy looking around Chinatown and Darling Harbour with its immense crowds (compared to what she's used to) of people of all shapes and sizes. All in all it was a good trip and she says she's quite keen to go back. I'll be in Sydney in late July so maybe she'll come down with me then.

Jetstar caters to the infirm. You can easily get wheelchair service. They put you in the device at the check-in counter and there's a special gantry that lifts the chair - and you - to the level of the aeroplane's door. And, being mum, she made sure to check in early, so got seats in front rows.

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