Australian Adventures Part 1
I flew out of Manchester to Bangkok, via Dubai on Wednesday evening, arriving on Thursday evening, local time. I had a business meeting on the Friday, and so, it was a rather weary Middle Man that pitched up for yet another flight this time from Bangkok to Sydney, Australia yesterday evening.
i gave up on the very slow-moving queue at the currency exchange desk and decided to head for the business lounge and the relative comfort of the BBC World News, Jack Daniels and Coke, toasted almonds, cheese and crackers, and free wifi.
I caught up on a few emails and the news headlines and slowly watched the lounge fill up with an assortment of business men – mostly Aussies and Kiwis (my flight goes on to Christchurch), most sporting beer bellies and bad taste in clothes (sandals with suit trousers?), and some sporting a trophy Thai bride who had probably looked a lot more easy on the eye when they first met than after a number of years being married.
I was a bit taken aback when visiting the facilities to find a large Arab guy washing his feet in the hand wash basin. While I admired his impressive yoga technique and flexibility, it was a little unexpected and somewhat unseemly.
My mood was not enhanced any by the news that the flight was one hour delayed. Another Jack and Coke :)
Eventually our flight was called and I used my business class status to push to the front of the queue to board. They were an eclectic mix in business class. I was sat in an aisle seat. An Arab man, clearly quite affluent and presumably en route from Dubai sat in the window seat next to me. In a rather unsettling fashion he immediately phoned his mother (she didn’t answer), left a message and proceeded to pray quietly in a manner not unlike a scene I remembered from United 93. My fight or flight instinct began to kick in. In front of him sat a proper Buddhist monk in orange robes and sandals. In business class? Well I guess that got most of the world’s main religions covered, at least.
To my dismay a couple of West End Sydney types sat across the aisle from me. Middle aged, morbidly obese, clueless, and sweating like pigs. Indeed, the guy looked most unwell and immediately caught the attention of the cabin crew. My mood was not helped to discover that he was sat in the seat of a beautiful young girl who was too polite to move him. The effort might have done him in for good.
My multi-media system wasn’t working. The extremely attentive cabin crew rebooted my system. Twice. It still did not work, so they relocated me to another aisle seat. That one also did not work, again despite two reboots. The cabin crew were distraught. I had hoped that an upgrade to first class might be in the offing, but instead they moved me into the centre seat of my row of three (the other seats were empty), where the movies worked fine.
My intention had been to grab dinner, a movie and the sleep off an innocent. It was not to be so. The overweight Westie really was in a bad shape, and he was now sat behind me. The cabin crew resorted to giving him oxygen and were constantly checking upon his status, which made for a rather disturbed sleep for yours truly, and more than one movie. Upon landing in Sydney we were asked to wait as a full medical team boarded to attend to the guy who was really rather poorly by now.
And so, I was a little jaded when I arrived at my hotel this morning, sorted my laundry and dry cleaning and showered. So tired that I did not immediately notice that my beard trimmer had changed setting in my bag and was on number 1 (closest cut) rather than the normal number 3. I hope it grows back before my colleagues arrive on Monday……