Next time, we're flying Emirates...
19.10.2012 - 20.10.2012
Urgh... Early early start. The night porter was decidedly cheery, as was the taxi driver. These Irish just don't know how to be grumpy!
Airport was, as always, a great spot for people watching. There was a small child dragging her suitcase along behind her very proudly, but then she dropped it and ran to something else that had caught her attention. Mum to the rescue - child then reclaimed her suitcase, only to drop it and run again about five seconds later. And then there was a lady wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a pink fascinator in her hair... Off to some casual races, perhaps?
Through the security check, where my backpack was studied very carefully. VERY carefully. It went through the X-ray, paused, back under the X-ray, long pause... I could see the screen and the only thing that attracted my attention was the outline of a certain Segway medal... Anyway, the bag finally came out onto the conveyor belt, and Irish Security Man approached me. Uh oh. "Is that just a wee whistle in your bag?" "yes, just a recorder." "alright, no bother." Phew! Who would've thought my recorder would get me into trouble at the airport?
Onto the plane, a little behind schedule, but nothing too drastic. Quite a few empty seats, obviously not too many people wanting to fly from Dublin to Abu Dhabi on a Friday morning. Time passes, no sign of take off. The hostesses keep saying "it won't be too much longer"... but after an hour and a half, we're told that due to some engineering thingywhatsit, we all need to move to the back of the plane for take off and landing. A slightly unusual request, but if it means we can get going, then I'm only too happy to oblige. So it's off to the back of the plane, but only temporarily - once we're up and cruising, back to our original seats. And then we can settle in to watch Madagascar 3 - yay! A few more movies later (including Brave, which makes me miss Scotland again) and we're touching down in Abu Dhabi - sitting at the back of the plane, of course.
Due to the delay, it's a pretty swift transfer to the next flight. Onto the plane, everyone's seated and this time the plane is full so we should be able to stay put and take off soon, right? Hmm not quite. An announcement from the captain - we can't take off for another hour and a half, due to congestion in the skies near Abu Dhabi. Fan-fecking-tastic. Ah well - they appeased us with biscuits shaped like hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades. Seemed to be enough to stop most people from rioting. Once we took off, it was a mere 13 hours of movies, sudokus and even a little bit of sleep. The food was unappealing, living up to the stereotype of "plane food". Sandwiches filled with onion not exactly what i would have chosen for several hundred people in a confined space, but anyway... Low point of the trip was being given a cup of apple juice, only to find that the cup had a crack in it, meaning that a giant puddle of juice formed on my tray and ended up on my leg. Mmm apple juice on my pants... Great. Air hostess wiped it up and transferred remaining juice to another (more functional) cup, but didn't bother to top it up. So I had 1/4 cup of juice to drink, and 1/4 cup of juice to soak into my pants. Thanks so much. And on any other day, that would not be an issue, but it was hard to be amused after four hours sleep, and 24 hours cramped on a plane. The air hostess wasn't even particularly nice about it! Definitely not Irish...
Finally we arrived back in Melbourne, huzzah! Collected our duty-free purchases, gotta love pre-paid purchases. I said to Simon how great it was to return to the country and be given "free" grog - a lady nearby remarked "can't half tell you're Australian!"
Got to customs and ticked the box that said we had food to declare. Customs lady noticed that we'd spent the most time in Scotland. Time in Scotland + food to declare can only mean one thing. "Got any haggis?" "um... yeah..." "Good. Just show the quarantine people, it'll be fine". And yes, ladies and gentlefolks, canned haggis is a perfectly legal product to bring into our fine country. Probably the closest I will ever come to smuggling anything, and also the closest I will ever come to being on Border Patrol. Happy days.
With that final brush with authority, it was through the gates and into the welcoming arms of Mama and Papa Buccheri. Ah it's good to be home...