An idiot’s guide to flying. G’Day, I’m currently sat in the Botanical Garden’s Cafe in Kings Park overlooking the city of Perth, the one in Australia not Scotland. Now before I share with you the events from the past couple of days, let me tell you about how I got here. The final last words to my parents went a little something like “I’m rather looking forward to these flights, I love flying, free movies, food, drinks and the chance to switch off, what’s not to love?”. Hmmm.
So my first flight from London to Delhi with Air India was pretty mediocre. The free red wine and mountains of curry made up for my broken entertainment system and the drunk Indian with a severe wind problem occupying the seat next to me. After zero sleep I crashed out on the tiled floor outside United Colours of Beneton for a few hours, before waking up not knowing where the hell I was. I popped my luggage into storage and headed into the city to make the most of my day, now afternoon in Delhi. After two weeks in England I was actually quite excited to be back in India but within approximately 20 minutes of stepping foot in Old Delhi I changed my mind.
I like to walk. Everywhere. It seems whenever I walk in Delhi, I come across a part of town where unnervingly I see absolutely no woman, and Tuk Tuk drivers drive me barmy asking if I want a lift. The stares from men were intense with many coming to walk alongside me in an attempt to spark some form of conversation. I’m a confident traveller but there’s something about the streets of Delhi that unsettles me. I quickly picked up a takeaway curry, got my shoes shined and headed straight back to the airport.
You know when you watch those airport programmes on TV or hear of people being refused to board the flight because they don’t have a visa, yeah? I always think “bloody idiots” how stupid can you be to travel to a country without a visa, duh! I never thought I would be THAT person.
“Mam we can’t let you on this flight as you don’t have a visa to Australia”.
“A visa? I don’t need a visa for Australia, I go every year to see my friend (and for hospital treatment it seems – ha!) S’ralia is practically home.”
“No Mam, you need an e-visa, even if you are visiting for just a week” the check-in lady replied.
“Can I have access to your wifi because I need to look this up myself, I’m pretty adamant no visa is required” I asked.
There was absolutely no way she was right. Not one to make a scene, I certainly wouldn’t have stood my ground unless I was 100% certain.
Oh crap. I DO need an e-visa for Australia and of course, the reason why I didn’t the last few times I have visited my friend Mel in Perth is because I was already on a Working Holiday Visa. OK. Don’t panic. I still had two hours before my flight to get a visa. Pah. Like that was going to happen. The realisation was that I was stuck in Delhi for another day or so until I secured a visa and then I had to pay for two new international flights to reach Australia. Don’t cry.
Now with wifi, I applied for the visa on my phone after a few rather loud public “oh for f**k sake” after the stupid website crashed a few too many times. And that was that, the matter was now out of my hands. *Ping* *Ping*. You have got to be kidding me. Am I the luckiest girl alive or am I the luckiest girl alive? My Australia e-visa was granted in seconds. I was free to leave Delhi and board my flight yeehaaa!
My heart was now beating a thousand times a minute and I shot through security. I had got used to the stench following me around, it was that takeaway curry I’ve been carrying in my bag, but now I was noticing some suspect yellow marks being left behind as I lifted my bag off the check-in desk and now the security conveyor belt. Oh balls. I had a leakage. So not only was my last curry in India mind blowingly spicy, it was the smelliest curry of all time with an infinitive amount of thick artery-clogging deep orange oil, which was now seeping through the bag. An absolutely perfect choice of food for a long haul flight. Bravo.
I just had to laugh. A messy leakage was not going to ruin my day and I spent the next 30 minutes spooning the contents into clear plastic sandwich bags which I nicked from the security gate at Heathrow Airport. These ALWAYS come in handy, hence why I always grab at least ten. My second flight from Delhi – Kuala Lumpur was pretty shoddy too. No free food or drink, no entertainment and a middle seat sandwiched between two Indian men. Not that I have anything against Indian men, just I do prefer an aisle seat so I can go for a tinkle as many times as I like. During the flight there was a wee incident involving the takeaway curry after a second leakage, much to the annoyance of the other 100 or so passengers. We had just come from India, they should be used to the smell of curry by now. *rolls eyes*.
I couldn’t care less after a second night without sleep. I was feeling grim. It was time to demolish what was left of the curry, nothing like a 4:30am wake up call. With only two hours until my final flight there was no way I was risking any additional leakages. Full to the brim I made my way to the gate with around 15 minutes to spare. Unexpectedly, I had to go through another security check-in where there was a massive queue. By the time I got through I had just two minutes until my flight closed and my gate just happened to be the last down what appeared to be an infinitive corridor. I had no other option than to run for my life.
The check-in man very casually asked me how my day was going in which I replied “I’ve just ran 2km after a huge curry at 5am” with a very stern look on my face. I don’t think he got it. It was one of the most near misses of my entire history of flying, apart from that time in The Philippines where I actually had to run onto the run way after the plane. But I made it, of course I did. Touchdown. After over 36 hours of travelling I have finally landed in Perth, greeted by my good friend Mel and her adorable little boy Joey. Find out what happened in Perth next time……