Tuesday, June 15, 2010

17357 kms: Melbourne-Kuala Lumpur-Dubai-London Heathrow Terminal 3-Hayes&Harlington-Terminal 4.

EK 409 Melbourne to Dubai via Kuala Lumpur scheduled for an on time departure at 0240. Me, seat 39B. I am seated next to Milduran civil engineer, I will find out as we taxi out of KL about nine hours later, heading back to his long stay in the UK—high skill visa—after a last minute decision to come home for the weekend for his father’s sixtieth birthday. He was great as he was exhausted from the mad trip and so slept the whole way and didn’t even need to use the bathroom once. The people in front and behind me were another story though.
In front: A middle age couple who did not realise anyone else in the world existed and so refused to move or allow passage when making one of the three million delves into matching his and carry-ons, and, felt that full recline of their seats at all given times, including meals, was acceptable. I had at one stage to ask the male specimen to please lift his chair so I could eat without dislocating my elbows, and he said: ‘Yeah, I know, there’s not a lot of room is there?’ No there isn’t, especially when you are reclined upon and don’t feel you can recline in return—some awful sense of politeness.
In back: A—let’s not beat about the bush—pompous Englishman, living in Asia, commuting often, working in the financial industry. He was bless├ęd enough to be seated next to pretty young blonde thing, naive, headed to Contiki Europe, and so he was able to rattle off useful and banal advise for hours until he, blessedly for me, fell asleep.
The Plan: A twenty-four hour movie marathon that incorporated at least ten movies (see: T.B.A. link to be attached to list-addict.blogspot as soon as there is something to link to). I managed three between home and KL, half an audio book between KL and Dubai—half on which half I slept/drooled through—and four Dubai to London. I thought I would be able to make this up in the Yotel, but I found that what I looked at to watch cost money, and the weird keyboard/remote control was too difficult to control to try to work out if there was anything free going.
Aside: I keep hearing strange beepings everywhere with no immediately accessible rationale.
Back on track: Dubai airport has these great sunlounge type seats to wait in. I lay, the short-haired heathen, and listened to the excitement of an enormous South African muslim family’s religious excitement about visiting Jeddah.The wait was short and in now time I was back on the plane. This time I had an aisle seat in the middle bank and slowly, as people piled on, I crossed more and more bits to stave them away from my spare seat and the infinite leg room options it would allow. The crossing worked but there was a slight karma pay-off where we had to wait on the plane for over an hour while they removed cargo because 'the air was too hot for a heavy plane to take off' (see: T.B.A. link to list-addict). Umm, it's a heavy plane anyway.
Arrived in London a mere three-and-seven-eighths movies later. The immigration queue was insane. I had to speak harshly to the man behind me who was oblivious of any sense of personal space and so was standing so that his stomach was touching the small of my back. It was freaking me out! I don't like having people behind me—especially if you can feel their breath in your hair. There are times and places for that sort of thing—airport immigration queues are neither.
Through the queue I rushed down to the terminal transfer train, saw the words Terminal 4 and jumped on the just about to depart train, only to end up at a tube station several stressful moments later—stressful because I thought I would actually end up in Paddington. It was one minute before midnight and didn't look like any trains would be coming past to get back to the airport, so I ended up in a taxi. So much for staying at the airport so that I didn't have to faff around with transport!
Last thing to do for the day was to find and check into the Yotel. I was so looking forward to it. Some guy, English, who I should google and get a name for, but I am not currently in a googleworthy position, was upgraded to business or first class on BA and liked it so much he decided to make Yotels. He got the business or first class designer to design them. Ultimately they are like capsule hotels. I had a ‘standard’ room: it can accommodate two but you would step on each other a lot and you would have to like each other a damn lot. It’s a bunk bed built over two rooms, so you either have to go up a bit or down a bit to access you room, and then climb or duck to get into your bed. There is a corridor (generous word for the space it is) between the bed and the monsoon shower, toilet and basin. You can lower a table and chair in the corridor. It’s all bathed in a weird purple light—not unlike anti-needle-usage-purple on buses. But the towel was soft, the shower divine and the bed comfy. I used the free wi-fi, tried in vain to finish watching The Lovely Bones and finally slept. Paranoid that I would not hear my tinsy-winsy, ting-ting wrist watch alarm (justifiable paranoia), I googled an alarm clock with the hope the ticking would keep the computer active and the sound of the alarm would wake me. The ticking doesn’t keep the computer active. It is always my fate to sleep late!
Good night Yotel T4, good night you.


  1. Wow! Cool. Let the vicarious journey begin. I have eagerly awaited your first posting although for the most part it served only to remind me of why I hate flying. None the less an excited anticipation wells as the adventure begins.

    Please don't forget us folks, barefoot and pregnant, stuck in classrooms unable to embark ourselves. Be it procrastination or otherwise, I look forward to tracking (not stalking)you via satellite. It's like being there myself - no really it is.

    Happy travels and love always

  2. Thanks Dee ... I have not at all forgotten about you. Next year just leave the brood and come with me! I will try to keep as up to date as possible for you!! Love you xooxooxoox