Oz: Coming home

WTF. Here I am at the airport, I’ve dropped the hire car off and everything is closed. Even the Departure Lounge. What’s that all about? It seems that the airport only “comes to life” two hours before a departure. Man, it’s a different way of life. Thankfully there is a cafe open, I’m sat here drinking A$6 bottles of Redback Beer, an original wheat beer, 4.7%. I’m sat landside, waiting, just waiting for the Departure Lounge to open.  Man it’s weird, surely places should be open and wanting to take folks money?

Anyway, after lurking around in the cafe for a couple of hours, the check-in desks open.  The travel agent seems to have booked me through to Glasgow using an odd route: Perth to Dubai, Singapore to Glasgow.  Way to go.  I kind of needed this issue sorted in Oz as whilst in Dubai, I had already tried to change my Dubai to Perth flight with little success (my Arabic isn’t good enough to sweet talk an Economy to Business Class upgrade for an earlier flight!)

I had the fortune to sit beside a Aussie traveling to England to work as a vet in Nunetan. Emily was a horsey type, and second to sitting next to the pilot was a good traveling companion. Whilst waiting to pass through the Dubai security channel, Emily noticed that another passenger, some 10 people ahead of us in the queue, had a sticker stuck on her backside. What do you do? Suddenly we’re in a foreign country, the “English multiple queues” scenario has kicked in (which happens to suit the locale)…so we let her get on with her business. Such is life, we can’t please all of the people all of the time. Emily purchased some cigarettes in Dubai Duty Free – these will be the last fags she buys as she plans to use her temporary emigration as an excuse to give them up.  Good onya. Eleven hours in the air passed fairly quickly, some music, some podcasts and a movie – I watched The Sentinel from end to end. As I’ve already hinted at in an earlier posting, the ICE facilities from Perth to Dubai on the Airbus 343-500 were not as advanced as those on the Boeing 777-300ER.

The seven hours flight time from Dubai to Glasgow was a pleasant experience. After take-off the couple sitting on the window and middle seats to my right moved forward one row, leaving me with three seats to myself.  This meant that I spread out, laptop in the middle seat, lunch and coffee on the aisle, beer and wine on the window.  After watching Failure To Launch “on demand”, and failing to stay wake for Firewall (twice), I spent much of this flight skimming the on demand audio CDs.  These included Metallica’s 1991 seminal works [Metallica Metallica, The Black Album] and “no. 1’s from 1980 onwards”.   Each of the “no.1” albums had a few short facts about the year in question – a few that I could remember, Euro = 1999, Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger = 1985.

I must be stressed.  My concentration levels are virtually nil: I spent a while flicking through the “no.1’s” just listening to a few seconds of tunes that I already had in my collection at home.  No focus.  That’s why I’ve fired the laptop up, to try and get some focus by writing this posting.  I really should do something about this: the first sign of stress is lack of concentration.  Heck, I’m a frequent flyer, I should not be stressed.  So what’s getting to me?  Perhaps because I failed to concentrate on the “to do” items that I set myself for the trip out to Oz: stick my head in my Spanish learning material”.  Ditto on the way back – there was a screaming baby a few rows behind me (where are those noise canceling headphones?  not that they would soften the sounds of a baby crying).

Like the route from Glasgow to Dubai, we passed over Iranian airspace.  I can’t help but think that it’s only a matter of time before something happens in this space, both physically and politically.  Probably sad but true.  Iraqi airspace was given a wide berth, I can’t think why, 37,000 is a long way for SAMs (surface to air missiles) to reach, surely?  And surely the Coalition pretty much control the Iraqi airspace?