Travelling – day 336

There were 4 heaters on the ceiling of the bathroom that give out a nice warmth before and after your shower. Discovering these unique features the night before was helpful when getting up at 04:15, when the surprisingly very inactive day yesterday had left us really tired and wanting to stay curled up in bed. But, we managed to hop on the shuttle bus for 05:30 and zip back to Melbourne airport for attempt #2 at leaving the country. The gentlemen that were before us yesterday at ticket desk, at the same hotel and on the same shuttle bus, went their own way and joined the queue for check in much later than we did. In fact, the queue became mental and the regular 07:00 flight for business people flying to Sydney for meetings was delayed as JetStar hijackers took all the spare seats and were checking in late. In defence, we were told to check in at 06:00, Katherine and I wanted to be earlier for safety sake. 
We were given breakfast on the short haul flight to Sydney and loved the space, comfort, sophistication, et cetera of the Qantas flight. We were eagerly hopeful that the next flight would be equally luxurious, so we wrote missing blogs and listened to music. A throng of eager people buzzed through the domestic lounge to gate 15, where the shuttle bus took us to the international terminal. Through security again, the staff weren’t as pleasant as the domestic crew, but maybe they have tougher jobs dealing with different languages and more baggage trying to be taken as hand luggage? They certainly had a rough time at the boarding gate where a gent was f*ing and blinding about something. The guys behind us on the plane (seat monkeys) were also loud and we heard that the gentleman outside was rather irate as he felt that, due to the flight cancellation yesterday, he deserved to be upgraded to business class and wasn’t boarding the plane unless it happened… I believe his bags were removed from the hold! Also, someone they knew lost their passport somewhere between checking in at Melbourne yesterday and this morning and couldn’t even make it to Sydney. The whole scene was a small Month Python sketch and we were lucky to have a pleasant passenger next to us for the flight. A delectable homemade drink of orange and hibiscus was served before a choice of lunch – Katherine ordered the pork chop, I had the beef curry. With a garlic bread bun and rhubarb desert we had struck out big time. So, when the drinks trolley came through and we were on film numero duo we were now sipping G&T’s. It’s a tough life as an international drifter. 

Skip ahead some easy trips to the bathroom as we didn’t block anyone, sparkling wines, more films and to series, a flat beard cheese concoction for an amuse bouche and we touched down in Bangkok, a day later than planned and a longer flight than anticipated. We knew the airport well and self guided went through immigration, collected bags and were on a train in to the city. 
In the space of dumping bags in the room and returning to our infamous street restaurant the heavens had opened and the rain was pouring down. But, nothing, not even the smell of sewage from the flowing sewers could ruin the papaya salad and green curry to finish a perfect day. Plus, a private room to snuggle up and drift asleep. Wednesday 7th September 2016

Stranded – day 335

An early start to catch our 7am shuttle bus from Shepparton to Melbourne Tullamarine airport. It meant we would get to the airport far too early for our flight to Bangkok but it saved us the hassle of getting the train and then connecting to the SkyBus once in town. Tracey was our hero, dropping us off at the pick up point and waiting until our bus turned up before heading off to work. Cue tears, hugs and silly photos as we waited – can’t quite believe our time in Australia is over. It has been epic!An easy bus drive, stopping in Seymour for a coffee and toilet stop before continuing onto the airport. Checked in using the machines (no human contact allowed when you are travelling with low cost airline, JetStar) only to then have an issue putting my bag through. Turns out the check in machines will tell you to proceed to the bag drop machine but they can’t quite tell you that that bag drop machine won’t check your bag until someone hidden behind a wall will allow it to! Fortunately, a passing elusive JetStar employee was walking past and managed to override said arsy and temperamental machine to check in my baggage. Security and border control was easy, although I still didn’t get a stamp in my passport (very disappointing Australia!!) and we waited in the lounge for our flight to be called. Got some water and a couple of magazines to pass the time before tucking into an early lunch at Hungry Jacks, knowing that we wouldn’t get food on the plane (budget airline, remember?!?). We were waiting at the gate when we got the announcement that the plane was going to be delayed by an hour. I understand that this is an inconvenience to lots of people but I always maintain that I’d rather be late than in a plane that shouldn’t be flying! Anyway, one hour turned into two and the gentleman beside us decided to use this as a chance to talk to us (we clearly still haven’t perfected that ‘leave us alone’ aura). Apparently having tried to fool the airline by not paying for checked bag and only bringing hand luggage, he was furious that they weighed his bags to find they were 7kg OVER the 7kg limit… He was then equally furious that they made him pay $120 to keep his bag. I didn’t think it was an appropriate time to tell him that I prepaid $12 for our 20kg backpack! When the announcement came that it was a three hour delay, he stormed off and we used he opportunity to find a plug to charge our phone and to swap seats. We got offered $10 food vouchers each due to the delay so Jayne went off in search of ‘second lunch’ whilst I guarded our charging devices. At four and a half hours delay, the announcement came through that the flight was cancelled. Shouting from other passengers occurred immediately as Jayne and I looked over in bewilderment. Our only concern was where were we going to sleep tonight?!? Marched back through passport control with security guards and collected our bags, we then headed up to the check in desk to await our fate… Fortunately, we were lucky and were about fifth in the queue. Managed to get a hotel room for tonight together since they had booked us into separate hotels, with $30 worth of food each and a new flight on a better airline (Qantas) for tomorrow although we would be going via Sydney and not direct. Not bothered in the slightest, we left the poor ladies to deal with the rest of the raging passengers and headed to our free shuttle bus to our free hotel. Checked in at the hotel and confused the reception lady who was adamant about giving us a twin room. Even when we told her we were married and wanted a double bed, she was determined to find us a twin room. Don’t think Australia really understands the lesbian thing… All sorted with a double bed, we were told that we would also receive a free glass of wine with dinner, so we booked ourselves a table and headed out for a quick walk. Nothing really to see or do, except for a selfie outside the world largest lolly (sweet) shop and bought some amuse-bouche cheesy chicken nuggets at Red Rooster(I’d wanted to try them for ages and never got around to it!). Back at the hotel for a really nice meal, we even considered it our belated wedding anniversary meal, with free wine and enough on our meal voucher for a cheeky dessert too! Back in our room to snuggle up early since we needed to be up at 4.30am to try leaving Australia again tomorrow. Tuesday 6th September 2016