Airports and Airplanes
I suppose we can consider this the first proper post of my blog, considering it the first one being written in a different time zone. I have just settled in at my Great Aunt and Uncle (Here after referred to as Marmi and Uncle Nawaz place as that is all they go by in the family)’s place in Ham as they were gracious enough to not only lend me a room/bed for my 2 weeks in London but they also picked me up from the airport.
Although I suppose I am getting ahead of myself. My last post left me with 27 kilos worth of belongings spread across a suitcase and backpack and the nerves that come with leaving home, friends and family for 6 and a half months.
I’ll start with the fact that I had quite an entourage accompany me to the airport. Not only did my mum and dad come along (as I always knew they would) but I was also graced with the presence of Steve (Chops), Shan (Chops), Christ (AKA Scarecrow) and Siobhan (I have no nickname for you, Sorry **ner 😉 ). Luke was also there in spirit, even if he did phone it in 😛 Thanks so much guys for coming and it was great to see you one last time.
Although I have to say what I valued more than you willingness to drive out to wave me off, was the presents 😀 haha A Rubik’s cube, magnetic travel cricket game, Desk Calender (with all the important dates marked in already) and the yummiest hedgehog were all put to good use either before or during my 24 hour long journey.
My experience at Melbourne airport and on the plane to my stop over in Hong Kong went quite smoothly I think. Yes, I had an issue as I was never quite sure whether I was supposed to show my British or Australian passport. Yes, I had an issue where my lovely, rather paranoid parents stressed to me the dangers of travelling along which lead to me being somewhat stubborn (for a time…they always win in the end haha). Yes, I had an issue with the in-flight entertainment only being partially functional (Video on demand was down so I had very limited movie option, all of which I had seen or were lame). However, after waiting for this day for months, maybe even years I had contemplated a lot more tragic scenarios that could’ve occurred. I suppose as long as the plane, which was a Qantas flight after all, arrived in Hong Kong with me alive I would’ve considered that part of the trip as “going smoothly”.
On the positives, I didn’t cry at the airport (Finally I get to kept a mancard!…although the kinda sappy texts I sent from the departure lounge may overrule that. I’ll leave it up to the judges.). I had an empty seat next to me on the plane to Hong Kong so I had room to stretch out. The food was edible (even if not tasty). I managed to complete most of the FPS work that I had put off doing for months (Thus I will get paid). I didn’t get any of the travel sickness that plagued me as a child and did I mention that I flew on a Qantas flight that didn’t have technical difficulties? I consider that a big postive in the light of recent issues they have had.
Once we got to Hong Kong, I got off the plane, went through all the levels of security and by the time that was finally over reboarded the same plane…this time for 14 hours. Three things occurred to me when I boarded the plane and made my way back to 51K. I noticed the 14 hours was a lot longer the 8 hour flight I had just had and this thought worried me, particularly as I only had a few hours of FPS work to complete and the in-flight entertainment was still broken. I noticed that the cabin crew had changed over and I was delighted to encounter their British accents (I managed not to giggle when they would offer me tea, but it took a lot of work). Finally I noticed that the “empty” seat was no longer empty and my legs would be a little more cramped this time around.
To say the first few hours went slowly would be an understatement. I quickly finished off my FPS work and then read every inch of the ‘Empire’ magazine I had bought in Melbourne. After a bit of a nap I still had about 9 hours of flight left…what should I do? It was then I remembered I planned for this circumstance before I left. I looked to my iPod and started listening to Barack Obama’s Audio book of Dreams of My Father. The sooth tones of Obama entertained me for the rest of the flight, not only dazzled by the timbre of the man’s voice but also by the amazing things he had to say. Yes, as we all know Simon is a politics nerd.
As we began our decent into Heathrow, Obama finished up just as the woman next to me (who had polished off a “Boonie” equivalent of wine and bloody mary’s) spilt her drink all over her partner, angering him somewhat and again testing my restraint not to laugh out loud. It was also at this point that I looked at my screen and noticed that it read that we were at an altitude of 4000m. This is about the height of the sky jump I did, so as I looked out the window I was shocked to realise just how high it had been. There was no way I would’ve been able to jump out of that plane then and there, even if they gave me 1000 parachutes.
After we touched down and taxied to the gate, I was excited that I would be able to properly stretch my legs and also excited that I was finally there, finally in the UK. However, our excitement was delayed as we were left sitting on the plane for about 1- mins waiting at the gate for “a mechanical issue with the gate to be fixed” (as the pilot put it). However, that was just a clever ruse we found out we 3 BIG London police officers boarded the plane and arrested a passenger under a warrant for his arrest. All with every passenger and flight attendant watching away as the scene unfolded. The “perp” went quietly, although as we collected our bags he had obviously decided to wave his right not to say anything as he was shouting abuse, wrestling with a couple of officers and eventually restrained by handcuffs. I would’ve loved to known what he had done, but I certainly wasn’t going to risk asking the question. Did I mention they were BIG police officers? Haha
Immigration and Customs was easy. Probably a little too easy. I walked up, they scanned my British passport, with only a very quick glance to check I was the person pictured, and then I walked into the customs area for people “with nothing to declare”. As I turned the corner I saw the expected array of x-ray machines, tables, chairs, warning signs, etc. However, something was missing or actually more like someone. There was only one attendant sitting in the entire space, the machines were all off and with out any fanfare me and my fellow British citizens marched out of the exit, where I met Marmi and Uncle Nawaz.
That’s pretty much the whole story of my flight here. If you read even half of that I would be impressed, but as I have said primarily this a record of my journey for me. A record so I can continue to bore friends, family and possibly even future generations with my exploits for years to come.
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- This is the last song, (This is the last song). That I will dedicate to you. Made my peace and now i’m through..
- I fly like paper, get high like planes. If you catch me at the border I got visas in my name. If you come around here, I make ’em all day. I get one down in a second if you wait….
- Just a little insight won’t make this right. It’s too late to fight. It ends tonight, It ends tonight.
- Everything has changed (everything has changed), the faces stay the same (faces stay the same)…
- Come on baby, light my fire. Come on baby, light my fire. Try to set the night on fire…
- Louie louie, Oh baby I gotta go. Louie louie, Oh baby I gotta go.
- Milo Venus was a beautiful lass. She had the world in the palm of her hand. But she lost both her arms in a wrestling match…
- Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir (ce soir, what what what) Voulez vous coucher avec moi
- I’m leaving for Paris, no I don’t think that I’ll see you. I’m leaving for Paris, no I don’t think that I need to. So I’m leaving for Paris, won’t you try to take care of yourself?
- Lillee’s pounding down like a machine. Pascoe’s making divots in the green. Marshy’s taking wickets. Hookesy’s clearing pickets…
- Board games have a double meaning in this caravan in Wales. You sink ships when we should be kissing. Monopoly has thrown us in jail!
- Little girl, little girl. Why are you crying? Inside your restless soul, your heart is dying.