Final leg home

Waiting at Changi Airport which I now know far better than is healthy for anyone. There’s a huge terrace area with a bar in the middle called The Cactus Bar – there’s a huge cactus garden there as well. I popped out to test the temperature. It so ridiculously humid (at 3:45am) that my glasses instantly steamed up, not that there was any danger. It’s also raining. I popped right back into the delicious air conditioning very smartly.

The 20 minute delay on the flight stretched to an hour because of the snow at Heathrow 2 days ago! My bag was hauled aside by the x-ray girl and I had to unpack it for her. She wasn’t sure what Max was but was satisfied when I showed her how to play chess on him. Everyone else in the world seems to be waiting for this flight and, as a result, it is totally packed.

I sat with a young German couple on one side (teenagers with far too many hormones for such a long plane journey, should be separated when hopelessly in love) and a narcoleptic girl on the aisle who doesn’t seem to know how to smile.

This flight originally started in Sydney so someone else was in my seat this far. His/her name was Saleh and he/she does not eat salt.

Took off at 6am. Pretty uneventful, boring flight. Food was ok. Films pretty good. Particularly The Ring which was creepy, especially the effect at the very end. John Malkovich and Dennis Hopper were excellent in the oddly named Knockaround Guys, a Mafia hit-men film with very little humour. Actually none that I can remember. Seth Green was in it but not very different from his Buffy performances. Spy Kids 2 was a laugh with Antonio Banderas sending himself up very nicely. He stole the show really. Also Steve Buscemi in an odd role for him. I kept expecting him to pull out a gun and start killing all the kids. Abandon was interesting but I figured it out very early and it was way too dark (I mean dark as in no light) and a lot of the film was consequently lost because I couldn’t actually see what was going on. Still, interesting story and good performances from unknown actors (I stress they are unknown TO ME since I only ever see movies on airplanes).

For some reason (presume from customer pressure) Qantas used real glasses for wine. Everything else gets plastic.

Half an hour to go and it was apparently 7º in London. Got a smidge of sleep but I’m hoping the four hours I managed in the Transit Hotel will help me cope. At least it won’t be humid! Along with the usual socks and face mask, Qantas gave us all a lanyard. Has to be the only useful thing I’ve found in an airline goody bag. Just heard we are in a holding pattern – oh come on, surprise me! The only person truly annoyed by this appears to be a two year old who is screeching and abusing her mother, demanding immediate disembarkation. We managed to make up the hour we were behind so I figure Heathrow is just trying to even this out a bit.

Eventually the plane stopped at 11:45, 40 minutes late. At one point the plane stopped and heaps of people jumped up, as they do, and started pulling hand luggage out of the overhead lockers only to be told to sit down because we hadn’t ‘parked’ yet and were waiting to move forward. The plane was stuck in this huge aircraft parking lot where we had to climb down the stairs and walk across to the bus so it could drive the 4 miles to the terminal building.

Managed to get to the baggage reclaim in about 10 minutes, which HAS to be some sort of record. Unfortunately (or typically) the TV monitors that display the flights and belt numbers were all wrong. There was also a flipchart with a list of numbers written on in marker but this was also wrong. Eventually a load of us set out to investigate and eventually found the right belt. I might add that 2 of the belts were not working because of maintenance work. And of course, they HAD to do both at once.

The taxi driver was cheerfully waiting for me. A lovely trip home. Because Mirinda wasn’t with me, I didn’t find out anything about him.

The puppies barked at me at first. Then I spoke and they went insane. Didn’t leave me alone for ages!

It was so good to be home. So good to see Mirinda.

The jet lag wore off after about a week…

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