It’s over 4 months since I arrived in Australia, and it’s taken me a while to get around to starting this blog. I did however start doing a bit of writing on the journey over here, so the following is what I wrote while I was waiting for a flight at Melbourne airport.
Thirty-five hours and three flights later, and I’m sat in an Irish pub at Melbourne International airport drinking a Guinness. A well deserved treat after a long journey. I’m sitting here watching aircraft, with an 8-hour wait until my connecting flight to Adelaide. I suppose this would be a good opportunity to write my first post, so I’ll start by telling you about my journey.
Yesterday didn’t start out great. When I tried to check in online, I found out that the first flight of my trip had been cancelled. Somehow I hadn’t been notified by the airline. Shit. But having called Royal Brunei Airlines they informed me that I had been put onto a replacement Emirates flight. Once that was sorted a few friends and family stopped by to say a final goodbye before my parents and I set off for Heathrow Airport.
A traffic free journey meant we had plenty of time to check in and grab a bite to eat before I left my parents. I took this opportunity to have one last pint of Doombar before I left the country. For the non-British readers who don’t know what Doombar is, it’s an English ale. Best enjoyed at room temperature. I may not be having another one for a while, so I needed to make the most of it!
Having stuffed my face with food and had my fix of Doombar, we said our goodbyes and off I went.
The next hour involved a lot of wandering around, sitting, and waiting, so fast forward past that and there I am stepping aboard the Airbus A380. This is something I had wanted to do for as long as I can remember, and I immediately knew it was going to live up to my expectations.
The first thing you see as an economy passenger when you board is the staircase that leads up to first class and business class on the top deck. The only word that came to mind to describe it was ‘grand’, and I couldn’t help but liken it to the grand staircase in the movie ‘Titanic’. I know I’m not the first to have done this as I heard other people convey that exact thought a few seconds later.
It seemed to me that the gate was incredibly busy, but once I boarded there was actually very few people and I ended up having an entire row to myself. I guess it just shows how big the A380 really is, and when you realize that the aircraft can seat as many as 615 passengers depending on the seating configuration, it doesn’t seem so surprising after all.
Once I was sat down I found that the seats were very comfortable, the window seemed much bigger than anything I’d seen before, and the TV screen was pretty impressive. It was without a doubt the most comfortable I had ever been on a commercial flight, and later on I would find out that even the toilets were not unpleasant! Kudos Emirates.
The rest of the flight was as you’d expect. Long. But I enjoyed it, and being able to look out of the window as we were descending into Dubai at night was an absolute privilege.
Going through Dubai airport was rushed. It’s an enormous place and I had to take a bus and go through two separate securities, which was difficult because I had to take my hiking boots off both times. Nightmare. Eventually I arrived at the correct gate and boarded the aircraft, which was actually a Royal Brunei Aircraft this time. The Boeing 787. Another one on my wish list.
Unfortunately the interior was nowhere near the standard of the Emirates aircraft, however for the second time I had an entire row to myself! I took this as a good opportunity to get some rest, laying down across the entire row and sleeping for most of the flight.
The arrival in Brunei was exciting for me. I saw wild jungle with my own eyes for the very first time as the island of Borneo came into view in the distance. The capital of Brunei, Bandar Seri Begawan, was an interesting looking city, with buildings and jungle existing side by side. I would have loved to be able to explore the city properly, however I only had a three-hour stop over so I was unable to leave the airport. I did however use the toilet and experienced a butt hose for the first time. At first I was skeptical, but I have heard from other people who have travelled around that it’s actually a very effective way of cleaning ones anus. So I gave it a go. Low and behold it did a rather good job and was much easier than I expected. 10/10. Would use again.
Bandar Seri Begawan airport is a quiet place. There were only 4 aircraft at the airport while I was there, and my next flight was actually the exact same aircraft as the previous flight. This time however it was a packed out flight. Because of this I didn’t get much sleep, and I spent most of the flight watching movies, or unsuccessfully attempting to go to sleep.
Finally, after another seven-hour flight, I had arrived in Australia!
Going through passport control was a breeze. I thought it would take a while and I would be asked lots of questions about my visa and what I’m going to be doing in Australia, but to my astonishment he simply asked me if this was my first visit, stamped my passport and waved me through. After that I collected my suitcase, checked it in again, and strolled on over to the pub. Now here I am, with my second Guinness, and still 7 hours to go until the next flight. Bugger.