Trip Start Sep 27, 2012
15Trip End Oct 12, 2012
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Well, that's one third of the trip over and it actually seemed to go by pretty quickly. The total time to catch international flights, however, is huge. Woke at 5.30am before my alarm - my sub conscious mind was anxious that I would sleep in - and had plenty of time to get ready and finish packing. Even had time for what might be the last Face Time call to Peter; it is so strange to be getting up when he is going to bed, but fantastic to be able to chat and show each other things (like the work that has been done to mount our new TV on the wall and get rid of all the cables!) Peter also showed me the powton tree in the pot already in flower and realized how much I am looking forward to seeing my spring garden.
I checked out last night so just had time to grab some breakfast and then set off, rolling down the hill with all my luggage. Although it was peak hour, two buses came at once, so the second one was not full and I managed to get my case into a corner for the half hour ride to the airport. It was actually a good little tour, as the route went where I have not been. I was at the front of the line when Qatar Airways opened check in, so after security I felt a wave of relief that all the tricky parts were over. So I took my time in the shops and had a little last minute spend, mainly filling the gaps in my presents! I spent my last change (or funny money, as we used to call it in Indonesia) on more chocolate as I figure that is always good and put the last few coins in the donation box. I felt liberated to go then!
Eventually took off at 12 noon and after about 6 hours I am here in Doha with 6 hours to kill before the big flight home. I had 3 seats to myself from Geneva, which was lovely. Even though you can't really lie down, just having space to spread out and not be so close to anyone was so nice. I watched the movie Social Media and saw the bits that I slept through last time! I read in a forum that you can pay to get into the Oryx Lounge at Doha airport and that it is worth it for a few hours - food, showers, wi-fi and some sanity away from the chaos and noise outside. So here I am trying to pass the time.
I actually saw a serious breach of security at Geneva airport and I think I will report it in writing. When we were boarding the bus to board the plane and I was about to hand in my boarding pass, I was pretty sure I saw a guy just walk through behind the crowd and get straight on the bus. Yes, he was of Middle Eastern appearance! I didn't feel quite sure enough to say anything right away but tried to get near him on the bus. Sure enough, his mate was explaining to him that he had to have part of his pass torn off, so he got off the bus and went back. So it was an oversight and I felt relieved. As I thought about the incident I started to feel very disturbed that it could have happened so easily and will probably write to Qatar Airways to report it. The attendant was simply not watching. Mmmm.
It is weird to be sitting in a distant country eating hommus, pita bread, beautiful dates and little nut and honey cakes! It could be any airport lounge except that most women are veiled and the men are very loud! The departure board shows flights leaving for Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Cochin, Dubai, Yangon, Kuwait, Dammam, Trivandrum, Abu Dhabi and Lahore. Then Melbourne came up up on the departure board - yeah!
The rest of the trip was uneventful and very long, but I have learnt to zone out as much as I can. 13 hours plus flying time on that last leg is unthinkable but all time ticks over in the end, even when you are jammed by the person in front who thrusts his chair back to the max as soon as we take off and stays that way for the whole flight. What was worse was the very polite lady behind me then asked me to put my chair up for the meal time! So I asked him and then he put it straight back a few minutes later and so the night(or was it day?) went on until we arrived and nothing mattered any more. With my e-passport I went through control very speedily, grabbing some Baileys and perfume on the way, knowing that at least my Visa card would work in Australia! And then I was through the sliding doors and Peter was right there. Home.
My more thoughtful reflections on this trip will be done elsewhere, but suffice to say I feel very privileged to have travelled as I have, and very grateful to have made it on my own without disaster! I expect the next travel will be together but who knows! Meanwhile I have some sleep to catch up on and somehow to turn around day and night.