The Pointy End of the Plane.

Today’s the day! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the tank is clean! Wait?! The tank is clean! As Mr K would say. We are heading to Central Europe for a three week trip, primarily to do some work, but we have plans that will hopefully make the most of our time off so we can see lots of cool stuff and because it’s our 25th wedding anniversary at the end of the month, we have some special stuff planned also. Mr K, believe it or not, has never been to this part of the world – sure he’s been to Greenland, Qatar and Russia, Estonia, Iceland and Saudia Arablia, but never the Netherlands, Switzerland or France. So we re off on a working adventure.

To start off on the super special fun stuff – we managed to get ourselves (OMG!) first class tickets on an Emirates A380 for the long haul. Mr K’s Platinum One fanciness may played a part in this, and he mightn’t get to keep it, so gotta work it while you got it! We had the smoothest check in and progression through customs I have ever experienced, there was literally no one in security so we really didn’t need the Express Passes that came with our fancy first class tickets. We spent a little time at the Emirates lounge in Brisbane which was okay, but not as enjoyable as the Qantas First Class lounge in Sydney and definitely not as relaxing, with it’s harsh lights and uptempo music. Nice bonus though is that first class and business can board directly from the lounge to the upper deck of the aircraft.

We were boarded without any problem and were personally escorted to our ‘suites’ – not seats! – and the four staff that were looking after the people in my aisle (a total of 8 people!) came personally to greet us. First thing I was offered was champagne, but Mr K the frequent first class denizen that he is had given me a tip – say ‘no’ to the Moėt and wait until we are in the air for the 2013 vintage Dom Pérignon. Which given we didn’t really eat in the lounge, was good advice. Second thing I was asked was, ‘Ms Borys, when would you like to have your shower?’ Oh, yeah – a shower right before going to sleep will suit me perfectly.

We ended up delayed in our take off by nearly two hours, which I did mind at all, as I was busy checking out all the bells and whistles in my little sweet, but I couldn’t stop myself from thinking how a two hour delay is normally nightmarish for me in the back of the plane. I’ve done more long haul flights than I could count and with my chronic back pain, that means loading up with drugs and mentally preparing for the most horrific 20-28 hours imaginable. Adding two hours delay after boarding turns a 14 hour flight to a 16 hours of stuck in uncomfortable seats in massive amounts of pain and much grinding of teeth… but here is first class suite, it was more ‘Oh yes, pyjamas and slippers would be lovely’, and ‘A cocktail before take off? Sounds fabulous.’ I could seriously get used to this.

The two hour delay I later found out, was very unusual – we had pulled away from the stand and were starting our taxi to the runway when the Captain came over the PA saying we had to return to the gate and he didn’t make the usual vague paperwork or engineering check excuse. I later asked the cabin manager if he was able to tell me why we were delayed, and he said he didn’t know the details, but they returned to the gate and some ‘authorities’ (yes, vague is a job requirement in the airline industry) who came aboard and removed a passenger in hand cuffs, then of course the situation was further delayed as they had to remove his luggage and we had lost our spot on the runway. So two hours.

I spend the time checking out the entertainment system, the minibar, the writing desk, adjusting the seat to be more comfortable – man I am just happy as a pig in shit with any type of footrest but this was next level, it adjusts in headrest height, reclines, leg rest raises, you can move it six ways from Sunday. We also have our own little sliding doors so we don’t have to interact with our fellow travellers, let alone sit next to them… ewww! Mind you, everyone in here is in a pretty good mood – so making eye contact with anyone is immediate smiles and raising of glasses.

I have a little minibar – which I can request be replenished or replaced with alternative drinks to my preference. It also has some chocolate coated nuts and snacks – and it smoothly lifts and raises at the touch of a button with the same grace and elegance of a late ‘90s high-end, stereo cassette player. lol.

There is also a little lighted make up mirror with some refreshing face mists and moisturisers that open up in the writing desk.

A basket of in flight snacks is also on the desk, that gets refreshed after take off as this moveable basket is collected just before we take off and returned as soon as we are in the air… they even offered to customise the snack basked with whatever I preferred.

There is a complimentary little leather bound notebook and pen – the little leather stand they are in however must have been walking in the past. It’s so overwhelmingly ‘take whatever you want’ that I can see why some people might have gone ‘oh cool, the holder for these comes out, I’ll just take that too.’

There is also a largish toiletry bag full of BVLGARI toiletries – toothbrush, eye mask and earplugs also included along with hand lotion, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, a bottle of parfum, and a cute little hand mirror, and a bunch of other stuff.

Here is Mr.K looking super stressed about having to be in this little suite for the next 16 hours with it’s unlimited everything!

Eventually we were in the air, and the first of about six glasses of vintage Dom Pérignon was served. Delicious and decadent! I know how much this stuff costs!

I wasn’t super hungry but if the champagne was going to keep flowing one really must eat something. Emirates FC is famous for their caviar service, so I wasn’t going to miss that. It was also served with a ‘little something the chef prepared during the delay’, a crab and appetiser and a goat cheese tartlet which was exquisite.

And of course the caviar! There was beef tenderloins, prawn linguine, seared barramundi, and more fucking choices than you can poke a stick at … but I can’t say no to the caviar. It was really good caviar – I won’t lie, I have tried better, but they were super generous with the serving and it came with a lot of lovely fixings. Went perfectly with the Dom. 🙂

There was a huge pile of it – and when I cleaned my plate, the attendant saw I had used hardly any of the breads etc and came and asked me if I would like another serve!.

Dinner and a movie later, it was time to go have a shower and get ready for bed. At the front of the first class cabin is a little round vestibule that has two shower rooms either side and a small waterfall with flickering candlelights and a teapot set out for help yourself camomile tea. I can’t believe this shit, knowing how uncomfortable it is in economy, and to be fair, Emirates A380 economy is one of the better ones out there – this is just nuts.

And then I saw the bathrooms with the showers. 😮 Oh dear lord, not only could you swing a cat in here, you could also have a party with six people in here! If it was made by Schindler’s Lifts, it would have a max capacity of 40 people written on it!

But wait, there’s more – you honestly really could hold a party in here. And did I mentioned the floor is heated? Seriously! Mr K says he thinks it’s heated with the rising aggravation and discontent of the economy passengers downstairs. Cheeky bugger.

Even though they gave us all individual toiletry bags in our little suite, and there were more little toiletries in the makeup mirror in the desk – there was even more amenities of anything you could possibly need provided in the shower room.

I cam back from the shower to find that my bed had been made up – a nice firm mattress topper was on the seat, a full size pillow and a nice fluffy duvet were all nearly folded down – weirdly, I had a pretty decent night sleep. I forgot to take a photo of the suite with the bed made up, so snavelled one off the internet:

Then it was time for breakfast- and was offered more champagne before they offered tea or coffee! Decided that a repeat of the caviar service for breakfast was probably poor form so instead order a Gruyère cheese omelette, and even though I didn’t ask for it, it came with a basket of pastries that I didn’t touch and some fresh fruit and OJ, and later sourdough toast.

Originally we were supposed to be arriving at Dubai Terminal C, which is a good half hour walk to get to Terminal A where our flight to Amsterdam was scheduled to depart from… but thanks to the guy being marched off the plane in handcuffs delaying our flight, we seemed to have scored a bump in priority and we arrived in Terminal A where a lot of the connecting flights seemed to be leaving from. Even Mr K’s habitual 0655 flight to Jeddah from here was waiting for connecting travellers. We ended up arriving at Gate A35 and leaving from Gate A34… but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. We ha an Emirates staff member collecting us from the gate and escorting us through security, and shortcutting us all the way through to the Emirates First Class Lounge, where again we would be boarding to the top deck of the plane directly from the lounge.

Hello down there! I’m sure I’ll be back in the world of the normal people soon enough!

Due to our late arrival, we had barely time to use the bathrooms and have a cold drink at the longe before we were boarding agin for the leg to Amsterdam. This time I had a window suite for this flight, which was just as spacious but felt far more private as the curve of the plane meant that the doors felt like they were going much closer to the ceiling – probably less ideal for really tall people or for or any one who gets claustrophobic in a lift, but felt really cosy for a short person like me… like having your own secret club house as a kid, but on a plane. Of course, the suite had all the same amenities, and snacks and minibar and all good things as the first flight.

… and with no delay, it was back on the Dom for what was supposed to breakfast but felt more like lunch because we had been up for hours.

Today’s flight was conveniently telling me when I should pray and in what direction.

I went through to the shower early as the bathroom behind me was occupied, and discovered the water feature is also a ‘help yourself mini-bar’ for most of the flight, and they only put it all away when there’s high turbulence or when most people are filing in to use the showers. Seriously – there is various wines, vodka, gin, cognac… I bet they wouldn’t blink if you took the bottle back to your suite to save getting up for refills.

Lunch time! Couldn’t resist… fourth glass of Dom! I hadn’t intended to have more than two more glasses of champagne, but each time Laura came to offer to top me up, I honestly couldn’t find a good reason not to accept. Oh and wouldn’t you know it – more caviar for the people.

Watched a bit of Yellowstone, had a bit of a snooze, and looked up and we were five hours into our 7 hours to Amsterdam. Was thinking I should have something to eat as we were going to be in a potentially long transit through Schiphol Airport and then even longer to get to our hotel (I was right – that sentence took two seconds to write and about four hours to execute). So I asked for the mini-sliders, which aren’t on the actual Dining Menu, but rather just on the Movie Snacks menu… Laura promised me they were tiny, so I asked for a bit of cheese on the side.

This turned out to be a bit of a mistake as she then gave me what would make a very sturdy side plate of more cheese than I could consume.

Before too long, I was called for my preferred shower time so I could arrive refreshed and next minute, there are windmills outside the window. Hello Holland.

We actually had a fairly relaxed transit through the airport and smooth run through customs, before going for what felt like a quite a hike to find the Uber pick up point… we had been warned here that cab drivers will charge a fortune, and as it was a set price Uber trip was going to be 48 Euros, (about AUD$90) to get to our hotel. So Uber it was.

It was supposed to be overcast and raining, but it was a beautiful afternoon. Let’s hope we see a bit more of this during the week.

Made it to the hotel, and in spite of our very comfortable long haul transit, we still kinda collapsed in a heap. It’ll be an early night tonight as we have an early start tomorrow.

Transit – Lyon to Bucharest

Oh dear god, who planned this transit!

Got back to the hotel after the concert at 0130 having walked about two kms away from the stadium to try and get an Uber driver.  Not as easy as it should have been and there didn’t seem to be any regular spot or any recognisable system to try and get a taxi other than to be closest to where the taxis might enter the complex which of course kept creeping further and further away!  Not great network planning French Transport People.

Anyway – 0130 at the hotel, 0450 alarm set to make sure I’m all packed and downstairs by 0515, which of course meant I was wide awake by 0430 in anticipation of the alarm.  Sigh… it’s always the way.  Taxi turns up and ‘Out madam, non probleme.’ Off we whisk to the airport, only at some point his Waze tells him that there are blocked roads ahead and he tries twice to get around it before doing a complete 180 and heading back where we came from.  I’m overtired and rather cranky, but with it enough to know that I should check my seat belt when he starts barreling along a highway doing 140km to make up the lost time.  The fare which should have been 15-17mins, ends up being more like 25 and he wants €59 for getting lost. Twice!  I put in on the credit card, and he says ‘No tip?’ And I say, ‘Yeah right, you were lost and speeding and you want a tip?’  First bit of shitty customer service since we got to France.  Wanker.

After rushing to get to the airport for the 0530 requested check-in, I find myself in a queue of about 250 people being checked-in by TWO airline staff.  By the time I get to the top of the queue, I’m well and truly over being on my feet and my back is reminding me that we sat in Great Seats but seriously shitty chairs for several hours the night, so much so that the guy checking me in asks if I am okay… I tell him I am in great pain and he lets on that the flight is over-booked and he will try and move me to business class and I think my day is looking up because a little more space would be appreciated when I’m in in a lot of pain.  I then go rough security and customs and all that rigmarole, down to the boarding gate and it’s literally now 0710 and boarding has commenced.  Onto the plane we go, the lady at the gate gives me a new boarding pass for the business class seat and says, ‘No meal.’  I haven’t eaten but I don’t really care so I take my seat.  The business breakfast come out and look like carbs on carbs with a carbs motif anyway, so hard pass.  The economy section of the plane gets offered a selection of things to purchase (but I didn’t notice this until the connecting flight).

Arrive in Frankfurt – a little late. Urgh… stairs down onto the tarmac and a bus to get to the terminal.  My 50 minute layover now whittled down to 30 mins and suddenly it’s hurry up and get to the right gate again.  We arrived at Terminal 1, A Gates and I needed to be at B24, which turns out to be in an entirely different building, cleverly hidden by a 1.5-2km underground tunnel that isn’t really on the airport map. I make it to my flight and have a passing through for whether or not my luggage has made it, and settle in for the remaining 2.5hrs to Bucharest.  Make a vague attempt to sleep, get handed a bottle of water and for whatever reason – there is no food offerings on this flight.  It’s getting a little ridiculous at this point, the last thing I had to eat was at 2pm the previous day before the concert where we got too distracted to find dinner Saturday night and then it was too late to find anything.

So I turn up in Bucharest after an uneventful flight with an uncomfortably hard landing and lo and behold… no Luggage!  The little telltale Air Tag tells me it never left Frankfurt.  Fuckity, fuckity, fuck fuck!  I have a airport transfer booked and he’s getting antsy waiting for me in the arrivals hall and I’m trying to wait in the line of other people’s whose luggage was also lost and get an email saying – ‘We’ve located your luggage in Frankfurt’ like they’re fucking proud of their efforts or something.  So I click through a form on the website and lodge a request to have it sent to the hotel in Bucharest when it finally turns up, and go out to meet my cranky driver in a cranky mood myself.

Buckled in once again for another crazy drive with another crazy person at the helm but at the end of it there is Angus and hugs and a few hours of rest.  In the meantime, I get some emails from Lufthansa saying my bag had been booked on a later flight and would be arriving in Bucharest at 1800, and I’m thinking I don’t trust these bastards to get that suitcase to me by the morning.  So Angus spoke with our guide, Gorgi who said we should head to the airport to pick it up before we went for dinner.  Sounded like a good plan at the time.  The AirTag was telling me it was located in Bucharest Airport from 1815 as we head out there and you’d think this would be a ‘Here is my luggage tag in exchange for a suitcase’. kinda deal – but you’d be wrong!  There is no outside customer service desk for claiming lost luggage, just a courteous phone with a bunch of numbers for different airlines.  NONE of which were answering, not even when we tried customer service numbers for the airline in Germany or the offices located in Bucharest.  Which meant, we ended up loitering outside the border restricted area and literally jumping on every single employee who was swiping to go into the restricted area to send out some goddamn Lufthansa staff.  

There were four of us all waiting on luggage, two of us standing there with our iPhones showing them where out suitcases are on the AirTag apps.  EVENTUALLY – after roughly 45 minutes of haranguing staff – someone agreed to sign me in (with my passport) and let me locate my bag and get the fucking hell out of there.  Which took all of three minutes once I got someone’s attention.  You’d really think there would be some sort of, oh I don’t know, System (TM) in place for reconnecting people with their belongings when this happens, which I understand it does with alarming regularity. :/

It was quite 20:45 by the time we got out of the airport and were trying to find somewhere for dinner.  Georgi, bless his cotton socks was suggesting we get out of the bus in the middle of a busy section of town, walk about 1km to a food court in a shopping centre, when I shanghaied the entire group by encouraged them to go to a wee Italian trattoria which was about 100m from where the bus was parked.  We had a nice risotto and some truly dreadful house red wine before getting back to the hotel around 23:30 and collapsing in a heap!

And all this because I wanted to go to Rammstein.  Such a pain in the arse!  And I’d do it all again tomorrow if it meant going to see that concert!

Post Pandemic Transit Time

Well, I’ve finally made it out of the country and back on the road. Travelling feels both intrinsically different and yet inherently familiar at the same time – as oxymoronic as that sounds.

I’d been watching the travel nightmare stories on the news over the last few weeks and armed myself with very low expectations of a) arriving anywhere remotely near my scheduled arrival time and b) my suitcase managing to make it to the end with me. Those pictures of the ‘Heathrow Luggage Carpet’ were a bit hard to ignore and did not exactly instil confidence. In an attempt to ameliorate being left standing around a baggage carousel waiting for luggage that no one could locate, I have picked up some AirTags and popped one in my suitcase. At least I’ll know whether or not it is there and be able to decide to leave without it or not? *shrug*

First leg was a domestic hop BNE to SYD because business airfares to London ex BNE were $2-3k more than going from SYD when I was booking. The plan to fly business was in part because I’m nowhere near travel fit! Two years of being stuck at home, and recent surgery on my hands meant I am trying to take it easy as possible. I got a message saying to be at the airport 90mins before my domestic flight due to ‘peak demand at this time’ only to get there at 0930 for a 1100 flight to find a completely concourse, both at the check in, and security screening. Either I am the only idiot who was doing what they recommended or the recommendation is an overreaction. Meh… just popped into the Qantas lounge wait.

Boarding call to head to the gate and there I found ALL the people and barely 2 in every dozen people were wearing a mask. It feels awful to be surrounded by maskless people coughing and sniffling when you know Covid cases are still around 5000-6000 each day in Qld and you know 20 people died from Covid yesterday and another 19 died today. People have just given up. There is a mask requirement in place, but no one is policing it at all. The flight to Sydney was uneventful. While everyone was reminded repeatedly to wear their masks on the plane when they’re not eating – I’m getting the feeling the policy is an effort to protect the staff more than the passengers at this point. Don’t care, whatever makes everyone keep their mask on while we are stuck in the plane!

Now because my hands are still lacking in strength, I had decided to jump into a taxi to get from the Domestic to the International terminal, rather than taking the free shuttle and having to heft my bag about and possibly end up standing and having to hang on. I planned to give the driver a generous tip for the convenience to me and the pain in the arse I knew it was for him to return and go to the back of the cab queue. I told the cabbie that I only needed to go to the International terminal and he loaded my bag and I got in the car and he started driving and then said “The meter isn’t working ma’am, it has technical problem, but you can still pay by credit card and I can still give you receipt, ok?” Now I’m immediately doing that internal sigh thing you do when you know someone is about to try and rip you off… and I said to him, “Legally you’re required to have a functioning meter – should this car even be on the road if the meter doesn’t work.” He started pfaffing with it saying “It sometimes work, sometimes not, ma’am.” He then logs into his system and surprise the surprise the meter is working. I watch as he clicks a few buttons and it says $9.90 and then turn to my phone, I look back up as we are nearing the end of our three minute drive and it says $35.40. I said to him, “Excuse me, why is the meter saying this trip is $35?” He replies: “It’s the airport tolls, ma’am.” We’ve driven <5km I argue with him saying we haven’t gone through any tolls and definitely didn’t drive under any toll gates, so please break down the fare for me. He claimed it was $5.50 flag fall, $4.40 airport fee and then the three minute drive and the tolls. I responded by saying: “What’s your cab number, please?”, as I leaned forward to photograph his meter and ID. He said “4116, ma’am.” Followed by a pause, then says “Why?” And I responded by saying I work for a transport consultancy and we work with taxi companies all the time, and that his company is one of our main clients. That I didn’t appreciate him trying to rip me off like this, that the fare should be barely $15-18, and that the last cabbie I reported for trying to rip me off got fired. Well, didn’t he back pedal… He spent the remainder of the drive into the International Terminal apologising and saying he won’t charge me the tolls and saying over and over, “Please don’t report me, ma’am. I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” I said I’m not paying more than $20 for this trip and that is being generous, I gave him both barrels about ripping off tourists and giving a bad impression to the city and our country, and landed on blasting him on, “You wonder why everyone prefers to use Uber now!” He just kept saying “Please don’t report me, ma’am. I’m very sorry ma’am.” … meh, by that point it was too late, he’d already been reported to his head office. Why does shit like that keep happening? I swear I don’t have single good cab story in the last six years (come to think of it since the market became saturated with ride share options).

Anyway, I leave the sad cabbie and head into the terminal to find the Sri Lankan Airline checkin counter – and it’s not open. :/ I arrived in SYD about 1300 and my flight had been scheduled to leave at 1630 but I had received a notification that it was now leaving at 1825 so the check-in counter wouldn’t be manned until 1530 which is a pain in the arse and there is zero seating on the public side of the terminal. It was then that the one staff member who was at the counter said, “Your flight isn’t leaving until 1955 now.” *ugh* I managed to go for a wander and find a seat near a family who were at least pretending wear their masks and figured I just had to wait it out… Eventually, 1530 rolls round and I’m (yay, business class) in a very short queue, I check in and head towards security, where that was an enormous hidden queue as 3 out of a possible 17 security points were open. Staff shortages were evident everywhere. Eventually get through security and get myself settled into the Qantas Business Lounge – but not before a ‘discussion’ with the front desk who was “sure we don’t have reciprocity with Sir Lankan Airlines”. Oh yes, yes you do! Another long wait ensues in the lounge but at least this time there is a comfy chair and free alcohol… what are you gonna do.

Eventually we are loading onto the plane and I gotta say, I don’t like the attitude of my fellow passengers with the business seats – they’re literally pushing people out of the way and barging through the crowd to make sure everyone knows they’re the ‘not like them’ waiting around for economy rows to load. One guy was tut tutting the whole time as people were trying to get their tired and confused children to comply and get out of his way and they just seemed boorish… I was trying to fade into the walls and not be all forward. I mean, I’ve flown business plenty of times before but obviously not often enough to be all pushy and entitled about it.

Sri Lankan business class is all of 28 seats or so and there was about 10 of us in the cabin. So I have to say the service was excellent. By the time we got boarded and champagne’d (and I use the term lightly, as they serve some hideous sparkling white wine from India which I did not want a second glass of!), I could feel the days ‘hurry up and wait’ fading away and I settled in for our 11 hour flight to Colombo, leaving only four hours after the originally scheduled departure. Meal service was swift and polite. Food options were excellent and the meal I chose was very tasty. The inflight entertainment was neither here nor there as I had my iPad loaded up with TV shows and movies. I watched about 4 episodes of This Is Us and then lay my seat down to go to sleep… and jesus titty fucking christ if that isn’t the best thing on a long haul flight ever, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle! The seat reclines fully flat and you can roll and sleep on your side comfortably if you want to.

Next thing you know, I’m being woken for the inflight service prior to landing. We were originally scheduled to arrive in Colombo at 2300 local but instead were arriving at 0130… not sure how that works, leave four hours late and arrive barely two and a half hours late, but I do know we were at 40,000 for most of the flight and the pilots seemed to have the hammer down. All good, we get to Colombo at the appointed ungodly hour and I silently thank Mr K for suggesting that I book an in-airport hotel for an 8 hour stay as my flight didn’t leave until 1300… until that is, it got pushed forward to 1215 and then pushed back to 1400. I don’t know – but this time I’ve given up on the schedule and am just hovering about hoping the staff don’t let me miss my flight. The Serenediva Airport Hotel was nice and tidy, their fancier rooms being all booked out, I found myself in a lime green abomination with a comfy bed and a clean hot shower. I managed to get to sleep around 0230 and didn’t wake up until 0800.

I still had a few hours until I had to leave the room, but desperation for a cup of tea without long life milk drove me out of the room at 0930 towards the Sri Lankan Airlines Serendib Business Lounge. Best cup of tea I’ve ever had – shouldn’t have been surprised… we are in Sri Lanka! Managed to amuse myself in the business lounge for hours, aided by the recliners in the Quiet Room and the chatty ladies in the ‘foot massage’ corner… yes, the Serendib Business Lounge in Colombo has a partitioned off room where you can get a free foot massage. Damn, but this international travel on a business ticket is something I could get used to! Eventually it’s time to load again and we are advised to head to the gate. Again, some of my ‘fellows’ at the front of the plane are acting like entitled parts – once even asked someone to move out of the gate seats set aside for business passengers so they could sit down and wait the ten minutes before we board completely oblivious to the fact that this poor soul may have been stuck in that seat for literally hours between their connections.

Second leg was as uneventful as the first. Lovely service; the Purser even came and introduced himself and asked if I needed anything at all to make my flight more comfortable. I asked for some fresh masks if they had any, and he came back immediately with three… never mind I’m the only person wearing one at this point. Weirdly after my day of doing very little in the lounge, I managed to doze off and on in my flat bed most of the way to London. I was already aware that I had never done a long haul and arrived so free of back pain before – I couldn’t believe how well I pulled up when we got into London. I had sore feet, (but that fibromyalgia shit doesn’t really go away and there had been queueing on concrete, but my back felt pretty good.

Arrive in London at 2230 – again I don’t know how we leave so late and get there nowhere near as late, but I wasn’t complaining. Walked straight through to passport control, no lines, did the passport/photo thing, walked through to the baggage hall anticipating disaster and noted there was a lot of unattended luggage laying about but made a dash to the bathroom while I waited to see what horror was going to ensue. Came out of the loos and stood near baggage carousel number two feeling a bit, ‘yeah what are the odds’, and opening up the Find My Stuff app to see where my suitcase might be (half expecting it to show up as being in Colombo still!). To my surprise, I opened the app, and it showed my suitcase with ‘with me’, I looked around for less than ten seconds and spotted my bag. Unbelievable. With a small laugh, I collected it and waltzed through customs. Without a doubt one of the BEST transits I’ve even done, even though it was a full 46 hours since I left my front door! My previous record of a hideously painful 40 hour trasnit from Quetta to Brisbane left for dust.

Came out the doors to be greeted by a cheerful Stephola who sped us off proficiently through the London traffic to her little village whereupon we had a couple of calming drams of Hellfire Sloe gin and then sleep. 🙂

It’s good to be out and getting ready to see new things again – but yeah, I am so not travel fit! It’s gonna take a awhile to get back in the swing of things.