Friday, 21 September 2012

Up, up and away - musings of a frequent flyer

Written on 20 September 2012 - posting tonight due to broadband failure....

I wake up three times during the night, thinking it can't be time to get up yet.  The first time it's 11:50pm - definitely not.  The second time it's 2:45 am - not quite.  The third time it's 4:30am and it is time.  It's been a while since I had to catch an early flight like this for work and I remember that I don't like it.

My cab driver will collect me at 5:15am.  It's too early to eat.  Despite my aim to go to be early, I turn the light out at 11pm.  That IS early for me.  I've packed and laid out the clothes I'll be wearing today the night before.  I sleepwalk to the shower which wakes me momentarily but thirty minutes later my eyes have that sandy, tired feeling.  I make my way through the airport in a haze. One minute the queues to get through security are enormous; when I look again there are no queues.  I walk through and continue to stake my claim to the title of "woman most swabbed for explosive residue at Australian airports".

While waiting for my latte, I notice a couple of pilots waiting for their coffee.  One of them has his ipad out and it starts playing what sounds like the soundtrack to a movie or TV show.  He desperately tries to turn i off but fumbles and makes it louder instead.

"He can't drive his ipad - hope he's better at the controls of a plane," I quip to my barrista.

Urgent announcements to b

oard my flight are made.  i am them standing in a line that string along the whole length of the aerobridge corridor.

It takes ages to get to row 25 while people try to stow their five piece of hand luggage - why aren't the restrictions enforced?  I take my seat and am happy to discover the aircraft is equipped with individual entertainment systems.  I immediately find episode eight of "Smash" and pick up where I left off on my recent flight to Perth.

We arrive on time but it's still a brisk walk to the other terminal at Sydney airport.  The security lines here are endless and chaotic.  It seems no one has ever travelled before and no one has any idea about the need to empty pockets and not try to travel carrying aerosol cans.  I stride to the front of the queue and make it all the way out without even an explosives check!

I'm at the gate lounge for two minutes before boarding starts.  I take my seat in the Dash 8 and fall asleep immediately, waking as the wheels hit the tarmac at my destination.

My bag made it - I was worried! - and then I find the taxi queue.  Four sneering besuited men take up space with a lofty sense of entitlement.  They make derogatory comments about everyone who walks by.  I eyeball them as I take my place in yet another queue, daring them to say something to me.  My direct approach silences them until two cars marked as belonging to the local business chamber come to collect them.

I learnt from the driver of my maxi taxi that for groups of five or more people travelling in the one maxi taxi, the rate is 1.5 times the usual cabfare.  It can' be applied to fewer than 5 passengers.  Good to know.  He warns me to be careful on the Gold Coast.

I arrived at my workplace for the day and rallied.  I really needed to wake up!  Of course I did and made it to the end of another intense, interest and very challenging day.  I am the only woman in the room - in the building actually - and the dynamics are difficult.

I was happy to walk the ten minutes up the hill to my hotel at the end of the day.  There are some magnificent eucalypts along the highway and they were beautifully lit by the late afternoon sunshine.
Coffs Harbour eucalypt
(c) divacultura 2012

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