No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.”
– Lin Yutang
Time to Say Goodbye
After a magnificent 14 days in Australia, it was time to head back home. Believe it or not, during the two weeks there, I didn’t visit an Australian pub, the final farewell was a great opportunity to rectify this. We met up for a fantastic pub lunch in which I indulged in some lovely pork, well knowing that the next time would probably be several months away. After a hearty meal, it was time to say good bye. I am not great at saying good bye, hence what it may sometimes feel a little cold and possibly uncaring is just the way I deal with things. It was time to hit the road, and along with my traveling companion, we made our way to Brisbane where we had a hotel near the airport booked for the night.
Thanks to Google Maps (I’m afraid I ditched Waze) we found our hotel with great ease, it was basic but so was the price! Considering I enjoy an adventure and uncertainty, I don’t like leaving things to chance, so after dumping our luggage in the hotel, we took a quick trip to the airport as a trial run. It was a simple run of just over 3 miles taking under 10 minutes. I tried to find an Etihad office to see if we could sort out some window seats but to no avail. You can only check in online 24 hours before the flight. Cathy had kindly done so exactly 24 hours before the flight but she couldn’t get us any window seats.
We returned to the hotel and asked at reception where the restaurant was, only to be told there was none. However, the lady suggested a couple of different take-aways who would deliver to the hotel and once I had decided what to have she would ring the order through for us. We opted for an Italian. We showed the lady at reception what we wanted and cheekily asked if they would also bring me a couple of beers……..which they did! We had our take-aways delivered to our room within 45 minutes along with my beers, it was at this point I realised I didn’t have a bottle opener, however, the car keys did the trick and without causing any damage to bottle or keys, I had a nice cold beer. Knowing full well we had a long and tiring trip ahead, we had an early night.
Confused in Brisbane!
I didn’t sleep all that well and woke up relatively early. I was incredibly confused when both my phones notified me that they had updated the time. This left me wondering whether my phones or the clock in the room where displaying the correct time. Not wanting to risk it, we got up and headed to the airport (no kettle in the room so no coffee!). We arrived in the airport, returned our “sexy” red Nissan Micra (in the same condition but with considerably higher mileage then when we took it) and headed into the terminal. I have seen my fair share of airports in my time but must say that Brisbane International Airport isn’t one of the most passenger friendly airports. It was at this point that I realised how early we had arrived. Chatting with someone at a cafe it turned out that Optimus (mobile network) had suffered a glitch during the night, resulting in all phones on their network to change the time by one hour and people left right and centre had been left completely confused arriving at work an hour early. We now had 4 hours to kill. By the time we went through security etc, etc, time soon went and it was time to board our chariot for the long trip home.
The Long Trip Home
We were waiting at the gate which had been printed on our card but this changed so we made our way to the other gate. Boarding seemed to take longer than on the previous flights but there’s no point in pushing your way in as we will all get there at the same time! (I can never understand queue jumpers when boarding planes, seats are allocated and you are all in the same plane, why the rush?). We eventually boarded and took our seats. The lady at Etihad’s check in desk had done her very, very best to try and help us with window seats but to no avail. We were in the middle row, I had the corridor seat and Kati was next to me, next to her was an empty seat and then a very nice chap from Sudan who was heading home for a visit after living in Australia for 10 years. We took off a few minutes late but in the scheme of things, it didn’t really matter all that much. We landed in Singapore where we once again had to disembark while the plane was refueled and cleaned. it was a chance to catch up on things and use the free Wifi in Chengi Airport. Approximately an hour and a bit later it was time to board again. We had the same seats but different neighbours and Kati lost the free seat next to her to some stuck up woman. Before we even took off from Singapore, kati was fast asleep, I woke her up an hour before landing in Abu Dhabi! We disembarked in Abu Dhabi, this time we only had a little under 3 hours till our next flight. We made our way to our departure lounge hoping our flight would be on time. Fortunately, the lounge was pretty much next to the play area, so Kati entertained herself until it was time to board our final flight. Our final leg of the journey was also uneventful and only took 35 minutes. we landed in Doha at 02:55, (that’s 26 hours after leaving hour hotel room in Brisbane). We were greeted by an incredibly long queue for immigration. After a long and patient wait, we were through! Our suitcase was waiting for us at the carousel which is always a big bonus! We made our way out to be greeted by Jamaal who was waiting for us. We arrived home at 04:00 hrs, Cathy woke up and we had a catch up on things. Kati decided she was rested enough to go to school, which she did.
It was nice to be back home and to sleep in my own bed, however, I am looking forward to our next trip…………………