I’m off! Well, almost. I’m sitting in Melbourne Airport, having made it through security with 45 minutes to spare – an improvement on my usual two or more hours. One of my resolutions for this year is to not spend so much time waiting, although I did once get an upgrade to business class because I got to Heathrow six hours early and the attendant felt sorry for me. Which sort of proves that early birds get the proverbial worms? Anyhow, airports are one place where extreme earliness never goes amiss and I always bring something to read – this trip I’m getting into PG Wodehouse’s Jeeves books. If I start inserting words like ‘jolly’ and ‘bally’ into my posts you’ll know I’ve read too many.
I said goodbye to Luke, who will be joining me in eight weeks, and he went off to see Infinity Wars at IMAX, the first of a long list of things he’s going to enjoy doing without me. He tells me he’s also going to take a photo of himself with an armload of frozen pizzas and so I shall make tsking noises at him over the Internet.
Here’s a rushed photo of us at the Sky Bus terminal in the city. So romantic!
And here’s me with Max and my new bag, the Aarn ‘Effortless Rythmn’, which looks unassumingly normal here, but when I attach the two balance bags to the front, makes me look like I have giant boobs.
In fact, on the Aarn website everyone comments on how only people age 40 and up can truly feel comfortable wearing something that looks so ridiculous. The trade off is that it’s supposed to be one of the best-designed and most comfortable backpacks in the world and everyone I know who owns one raves about it. The balance bags also clip together to make a day pack, although I can’t find the instructional video so I’ve sort of jimmied it together and am hoping I’m doing it right. Pro tip – if you buy a complicated piece of kit ask for multiple demonstrations in store and even video an expert doing it so when you’re on the other side of the world you don’t look like an idiot trying to assemble said item next to a packed baggage carousel.
I’ll get a photo of me with the front bags on once I have someone to take the picture for me.
Ok, so this post is in two parts as I am writing this section in my hostel bed in London.
I imagined that is a universally-held truth that any hostel bed, no matter how mean, no matter how filthy, no matter how noisy or cramped, seems like four-postered luxury if it follows two consecutive long haul flights.
I’m staying at the Exmouth Arms, a pub which has basic dorm rooms and is three blocks from Euston Station, where I catch my train to Ulverston tomorrow.
To back track slightly, let me tell you the flight was alright – a whole row to myself on the first bit form Melbourne to Bangkok, then a full plane from Bangkok to London. I watched three movies (I always want to know what movies people watch on planes but I couldn’t really tell you why I find it so interesting), Coco (not bad, super colourful), Molly’s Game (Luke recommended it, was very good) and The Devil Wears Prada (kind of annoying but Anne Hathaway is hard to look away from, what with those unnaturally huge, doe-like eyes).
I had window seats both times, which was super handy for sleeping on the second leg. I got a good six hours, which I was grateful for because I felt like someone had put sandpaper to my eyes after the dry air on the first leg, then the weird stinky-humid-stiflingness of Bangkok Airport made me feel sick. I think I almost fell asleep sitting up in an airport lounge chair. Anyhow, the two little Asian ladies who hemmed me in on the second leg obligingly got up to pee at exactly the same time I needed to go, so all in all, it wasn’t a horrendous experience. The Thai Airways food was good too – spicy, varied and generous serves.
Still, having to spend forty minutes at customs wasn’t great, although the fellow who scanned my passport gave me a smile and told me to ‘go have fun’, so that was nice!
As you can see, the weather is classic London Spring so I feel like I’m getting an authentic experience ;-).
I think I’ll finish here and make the next post about my first day mooching around London.