I’ve Arrived (Part II)

25 08 2008

Ok, I’ve eaten, I’ve drunk, I’ve seen Shan, I’ve met Brendan, I’ve showered and I’ve slept.  I’m now in a place where I can actually write.

So, as my dear old dad already gave away (…thanks dad) getting to the airplane wasn’t the straightforward event I’d have liked it to be. I’d spent my last morning in Melbourne trying to finish up cleaning at work (my desk is devoid of all papers, and the filing girls will hate me) and dowloading all the fabulous things I’d accrued on my C drive at work (a great photo collection mainly – especially my “Michael’s arty shots” and “Will’s MSpaint art” folders) prior to it being upgraded for Jon’s use.  I’m sure that now he’s in town it will get an upgade – the IT guys will respect someone who can speak their language, they don’t listen to my claims that “I ran out of rams and now my computer doesn’t work” – and now that we work in days of remote admin a low-cut top doesn’t get me any help any faster either.

The afternoon was spent helping Jon move into my little flat, swapping mobiles (oh yeah, Jon has my mobile during this swap so I won’t get calls / messages – but feel free to invite him along to fun things! I have Jon’s mobile while I’m here, so If you want the number let me know and I’ll email it through to you) and doing the last minute round up of stuff to pack, then heading over to mum and dad’s for a farewell afternoon tea with nan, pa, patsy, elena and cath.  I’d been meticulously checking my passport and work permit was in my trendy work-branded compendium every half-hour of the day, and even asked dad to scan them both, plus all my bank cards/license/medicare card in case I managed to lose any of them – I have a copy in my bag, on my memory stick and my parents have a copy – done. Safe. Dad returned all my cards and memory sticks to me and I settle in to wait out the rest of the night.

After my last Australia’s Funniest Home Videos we set off to arrive nice and early for the airport – a 8.45 arrival for a 10.50 departure. Nice. Relaxed. As I join the queue for check-in I take my compendium out and get my documents ready – but my passport isn’t there. It’s ok, I must’ve put it in my bag. It’s not there. “uhhh, mum – not trying to be funny or anything, but I can’t see my passport here…”.  Making sure I hadn’t used my ‘man-eyes’ she did a follow up search, and confirmed my fears – the passport was not there. She went and got dad who, Michael informs me, went angry red followed by guilty pale and just said “the scanner”.  It was the last thing to be scanned for my back-ups and remained where it was – on the scanner.  Unfortunately I had relaxed after my million passport checks and the knowledge that I even had my scanned ‘in case of emergency’ copies, that I didn’t check again post-scanning. After explaining to the help desk the situation, we found out the absolute latest time possible for check-in and dad did the round trip home and back again.

We made it with about 15 mins to spare.  Aside from regretting the added stress, it was a shame it happened – it would’ve been nice to sit and relax and enjoy the last few hours in Australia with dad there too, rather than sitting and worrying that he was so stressed about everything that he might have an accident. Still, stressfree, easy and striaghtforward have certainly not been keywords in this trip so far, so why should things be different at the end?!

After the hurried efforts of actually checking in, the take-off was delayed by an hour or so, so I had ample time to let my blood pressure and heart-rate return to normal. I got in and sat down and mentally prepared myself for a long solitary journey. A polite smile to the guy next to me was returned with a shutting of eyes and putting on of headphones. A pretty clear message considering that they weren’t even plugged in – ah well, at least theres an empty seat next to me –  a bit of space. Then the seat next to me was taken, and this time the polite smile was given by them! I was lucky enough to have a really nice guy from the British Navy sitting next to me, returning from a four week Australian holiday.  He and his girlfriend had been right around Australia and it was one of those times when a foreigner makes you realize how little of your own country you’ve seen.  He also gave lots of recommendations for what to do and see in the UK and Europe.  The flight was so much more pleasant with someone to talk to occasionally – it also saved time for making movie selections on the in-flight system as we were able to compare notes on what was worth watching and what wasn’t.  Upon landing at Hong Kong I was sad to say goodbye – I had a new seat allocation for the second leg, and could only hope that I’d have someone else to talk to “well, goodbye – it was great to talk to you, good luck with everything – I’m in a new seat for the next leg, so unless you’re in 58A or C I guess I’ll be seeing you”.  “I’m in 58A”

Hong Kong was really, really muggy – not pleasant at all walking in through the airport and through security – luckily it was only a half hour stop over.  I used the bathrooms (I have a plane bathroom phobia…) and headed to Starbucks for a genuine Hong Kong cafe ratte, but they weren’t open – so went up to the departure lounge which was air-conditioned and much more pleasant – had a look out the window at Hong Kong and was on my way again.

The second leg was a much longer leg – and this time i felt it, I made Melbourne to Hong Kong fairly easily –  a few movies, plane food, a chat, a sleep. But the second leg was longer by about 4 hours and by the end I was starting to suffer cabin fever. I battled the passport hall line, found my luggage and then had to do the customs hall – I had some tastes of Australia in my bag for Shan – Cherry ripes, gingerbread men, and Cath had told me I needed to claim them. There were three customs doors to choose from “Customs Enquiries/claims”, “No Customs Claims” and “Arrived from EU” – in anticipation of the long wait, I hung my head and went to the “Customs Enquiries/Claims” door. To an unmanned room with a sign that said “this desk is unattended”, so I went to the “No customs claims” room and thought I’ll just ask there. I went in and encountered more empty desks. Passing through the door at the end of the hall I was in London and hugging my sister and Brendan.

The three of us piled into his work van, stopped at their place in Hammersmith and then went down the street for a Sunday Roast and a pint of Cider at their local pub, did a scenic drive through London and saw some of the main landmarks in passing and arrived at Jon’s place in Arsenal.  The house is lovely and in a great location.  Unfortunately the new housemates were all away for the weekend (it’s a long weekend this week here), but there was a lovely welcome letter written by Simon (who is destined to be the only boy in the house for the next few months – poor thing!)  I can’t wait to meet them.

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7 responses

25 08 2008
Dad

Sorry for giving away your story about the passport.

Cheryl currently tells the best version of the story -I especially liked the bit where she describes you pulling your “condominium” out of your bag! (I think she meant “compendium”, or as I like to say “folder thingy”)

26 08 2008
cheryl davis - Mum

your dad is a real smart arse for somene who is soo anal he has to scan everything but soo aged he forgets to retrieve the passport from the scanner!!
anyway my Love ,I’m glad to hear you had good company on your flight, arrived safely, caught up with Shan and have had a chance to explore London. Are you going on the big red bus to see the main landmarks while you still consider yourself a tourist?
I am missing the girl power in this house already I made a lovely roast on Monday night and found myself ready to dial your number to say come and join us Awhhh. I suppose I could adopt Jon but he’s another bloke. Michael is taking him to the footy on Sunday.
Let us know (with photos) what your house and flat mates are like.
We will see you in about 3 weeks
All my lov, look after yourself
MumXXX

26 08 2008
Catherine

so i left my passport in the tray going through the metal detector and you left yours at home in the scanner, eh? hehe.

how stinky and muggy is hong kong? although, my perception of its stink wasn’t helped by the old Chinese man that farted on my head as I bent down to pick up my bags at the airport train station.

26 08 2008
Catherine

PS miss you already.

26 08 2008
Catherine

PPS when i just typed that PS note your blog told me “you are typing comments too quickly, slow down!”. you need to have a word with your blog and sort out it’s ‘tude.

26 08 2008
Catherine

PPS – when i just typed that PS note your blog told me “you are submitting comments too quickly, slow down!”. you need to have a word with your blog and sort out it’s ‘tude.

27 08 2008
Gabs

Hehehe fear of plane toilets. That’s a good thing for the other passengers or they might have found the only toilet available was “attended” for the rest of the flight. Hehehe.

Sounds like you’re having a blast, must go to read the next installments!

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