learning what it means to flight a long distance
16.03.2010 - 17.03.2010 -50 °C
It is now 2 hours before flight departure. i.e. 10pm and people are beginning to arrive from different directions. From the sound of the conversations, mostly people from Australia.
I ended up chatting a bit with a elderly gentleman from Perth and two family type couples in their 40s from the Coast. I didn't learn a bunch as we just had general chit chat and it was a pleasant way to pass the time after such a solo time.
I was lucky for boarding because I was in row 65 which is near the back and that boarded first. Yeah!
So I had a window seat and was 10 rows from the toilet. Actually good positioning for me. I was praying that no one would be seated right next to me. Again luck was on my side because no one at all sat in the two seats next to me! In the center row across from me was a mom and dad and two kids looked about 5 and 7 yrs. Exact for a little moaning, they were troopers for such a long journey!
So we were all on and ready to go by midnight – then....an announcement...wouldn't you know....security had declined a traveller and Qantas had to find that traveller's suitcase and pull it out. This is a 747 plane with many passengers. They thought they knew where it would be and assured us the delay would be short...not so much. After many apologies explaining that we are not allowed to fly with baggage that does not belong to a passenger, we finally flew out at 1:36am.
(I am writing this 2 days after the event, so the impact has been softened by distance of time!)
We are given a timeline of events for the approximate 13 hours travelling time. We are provided a nice supper. I had a very good chicken in a sauce with mashed potatoes and cooked vegetables plus dessert, beverage, bread. It was a good meal.
Before the meal was even handed out I was struggling to stay awake, but I knew that if I didn't eat, my body would give me a hard time in certainty! So finally it was time to let sleep come over me. Well although I had the advantage of a three seat lie down, my legs need to be bent and the seats are shaped/molded for comfort, so don't get any impression that this is a comfy place; just better off than those that don't have the same option!
I awoke after 2 hrs to go to the toilet. The plane does rock so I felt almost drunk walking down to the toilet. I had not put my glasses on, so I didn't know which of the three doors was the toilet. Fortunately there was a man there doing leg stretches and he pointed out the door to me, then I didn't know how to open the door, you gotta realize I am feeling majorly stupid and a little sweaty with the pressure. Thank you to my guide to the toilet who demonstrated the middle push to open the door. The walk back to find my seat was facilitated by the fact that I was seated across from this young family and this was my landscaping factor! Too bad for another soul who came into my seating area while my feet were down at that end and he sat down and was quite mixed up as to why I was there, when finally he “got it” he apologized and moved on.
I think I slept reasonably under the circumstances for the next 4 hrs. I had to keep changing positions because of pressure points, but I was able to do this while still staying in the sleep zone, sort of.
I got up and went for a walk to the toilet area, just because it felt good to stretch out and up. I am in a twilight zone state now because my mind does not know what to think about, I am no longer desperate for sleep, and the plane is dark and people are quiet, some lying, some slumped over in a seated position. It is really a movie moment here somehow. At some point I again drifted in and out for the next 2 hours with bouts of thirst. Finally I felt the movement of the flight attendants, morning must have permission to begin. Indeed breakfast was arriving, choice of hot or cold. I had a good meal with yoghurt, raisin bran with milk, cheese and crackers with bowl of fruit, coffee and orange juice. I tried to extend eating time as long as possible. Then breakfast was over, time to watch TV. I watched a few good documentaries, but it is really hard for me to even care about watching any shows, yet it is a way of filling in time.
Then it is time to fill in the customs declaration form that is required for entry into Australia, again it is good to have something to do! Oh, and the attendants asked that all the window coverings were raised to allow the sunshine in. Still just clouds to see. So I turned on the TV again. This time I chose a show of Danny Bhoy, comedian. He was so funny, I was laughing aloud and didn't apologize, it felt good.
I watched the cloud formations and finally started to see evidence of land, by way of two islands. I saw many many white moving specs in the waters and couldn't really tell what they were. A couple of times I could swear that I saw dolphin style over and under type swimming. Then I saw the most beautiful turquoise water that I have never seen before! Turquoise areas interspersed with darker green waters. It is magical to see nature in this real colour and not just a painting or photograph which nowadays can be so enhanced. Then we fly along the coastline, and it is a beautiful sight.
We are asked to delay our landing in Brisbane. Also, many passengers were to have connecting flights from this flight, and since we left an hour and a half late, those connections were lost. So the announcements were made that arrangements were being looked after by Qantas. I can handle one more delay because the ending is in sight!
Disembarking, collecting baggage, going through customs all went well. I moved on the rental car company where I had pre-booked my car, easy to find. What a good start to my journey here in Australia.