I blog when I go abroad, and occasionally when I do stuff in the UK too. There's a nicer interface over here.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Monday 18th September did not exist

People who don't like Mondays (eg Bob Geldof) should fly on the Sunday run of BA15. LHR-SYD. London to Sydney. A 2-leg 1-number flight taking me over 10,000 miles away from London. It leaves London on Sunday and arrives in Sydney on Tuesday, so Monday doesn't exist. Bit mental that.

I was sat in 13G, which IIRC was the first time all year I'd not managed to grab a window seat. That was my fault, because originally I was booked to fly the following day, but ho hum. I had bagged 13G, a forward facing aisle seat, right hand side of the middle 4 seats at the front of the cabin, just before first class. The benefit of this seat over any of the others is that no fucker has to clamber over me, nor do I have to clamber over any fucker, to get in and out. Was a bit confused to begin with though as I didn't twig that my entertainment guide etc were in a pocket on the back of the seat next to me (ie, not visible from my seat).

Seatexpert.com (or seatguru.com, or both, I forget and can't be bothered looking) said that 13G is great for singles. It also says that seats 13E and 13F are shit for singles, but great for couples. What they don't say is that 13G is great for singles unless 13E and F are occupied by a couple who intend to engage in horseplay for hours on end. No Mile High Club stuff going on, mind, just a lot of tickling and noise making and talking too loud and occasional bumping of the divider between F and G that more than once made me think my beer was going to go flying. Sigh. They were being treated nicely by the attendants too, as I think they'd been downgraded from first class. Fuckers.

Anyway. The first leg of the flight is the big 'un, 12 hours or so direct to Singapore. Such flights are a lot more fun if the entertainment system works, rather than having sound so bad -- loud static noises every 2 seconds or so -- that they decide to turn the entire thing off for the whole plane after 2 hours of unlistenable nonsense. Bit shit that. I tried to get some kip and got some, but nothing special and nothing of particularly high quality either. At least the map channel worked; what kind of crazy ass place name is Szczecin?

In terms of scran and booze, the menu was the same as the flights to/from Dubai. Having recently learnt that (a) London Pride is available in cans, and (b) they serve it on BA flights, I asked for that explicitly and got one. Then I asked for another, and got one. Then when they saw that was empty, they asked if I wanted another and said they'd go get one from the first class trolley 'cos no-one up there seemed to drink it. Heh.

They didn't give me an amenity pack. :-(

Seat 13G's reading light shines directly over whoever is sat in 12J, so when I wanted to read I was in danger of keeping someone else awake, or worse still, waking them up. So there was no entertainment and I couldn't read much, which meant watching the map channel a LOT. There are lots of places that end in -bad. Islamabad, Faisalabad, loads and loads more. I should have written a few of them down to make this point a little better, huh?

Placenames confuse me, actually. The names are shown, in both English and the language of where you're going to (or coming from, if that's non-English), on the map. But what gives there? A name is a name, and at least in my mind that don't have any real meanings, at least not contemporary ones. OK, I guess some do: England is Land of the Angles, which I can understand is something you can translate (eg Angleterre). But what about, say, "Spain"? Why is that word different in different languages? It's a name: surely the Spanish should have sovereignty over what it's called, everywhere, even down to the script it's written in? And talking of script, how comes the Chinese and Koreans and Japanese can write place names? AIUI they don't have alphabets per se, their writing isn't meant to denote pronunciation but instead have symbols which are words, full of meaning. So how do they decide on the series of glyphs that together means "Austria"? My mind boggles. I need to look this stuff up.

*cough* Sorry about that. Back to the flight. Coming into Sydney we had an aborted landing, which was fun, never had one of those before. There was something on the runway, spotted a bit late, a dead bird or summat. ATC told the pilot to abort so from pretty low down we went into a steep climb, heh. Ended up landing on a different runway which meant we took longer than we should have done to get to the gate. That meant my 2.5 hours at the airport turned into about 90 minutes in the end, ho hum. Still managed to get myself into the Qantas/BA lounge for a lager though, then back to the aircraft. The good news was they'd managed to fix the entertainment system... sort of. Something was wrong with audio channel one, but they'd fixed two, and told us to use that. Unfortunately audio channel two was English on every channel except the film I wanted to watch, on which it was fucking Spanish. So I watched a different film, one called Confidence -- which was actually really good.

Fish medley followed by chicken breast for food this time, I couldn't finish it and didn't even attempt dessert. Still fitted in another London Pride though, innit. Grabbed a couple of hours kip, I estimate I had 5 hours tops throughout the entire journey. Breakfast and some immigration cards greeted the early morning as we headed towards the 0515 landing in Sydney. Turns out the Australians want to know the address where you're staying, which is fair enough (the yanks and various others, in fact maybe everyone, want to know that stuff too). Just a shame that I didn't have the faintest idea about where my bro's wife's sister's house is. Even better, my phone refused to roam on any Aussie network in the airport so I couldn't get hold of him to find out. I asked an immigration staffer what to do before reaching the counter and to my relief he said a phone number would be OK, so I wrote that and got through.

By Christ they're a bit serious about what they let into that thar country. As well as immigration and baggage you have to go through quarantine, FFHS. And talking of baggage, it took me ages to get mine because I'd forgotten what my bag looked like. I only bought it the day before and was actually looking for the one I used last week in Dubai. D'oh!

With all that going on I thought my brother would be right annoyed, what with him probably having got to the airport at 0500 or so. I needn't have worried, since he didn't even wake up until 0505 -- ten minutes before my flight was due to land -- so he'd not been there long really. He drove me to the digs: it was 0630 on Tuesday morning. I was knackered. So we went out... which will be detailed in a separate post.

1 comment:

Nige said...

China and Korea also need to know where you're staying. China also requires a visa that's in date. D'OH