I’m back! I didn’t have a good chance to blog in Australia because I didn’t have an Internet connection for my netbook — and I really didn’t want to sit in front of their computer for long since I wasn’t “home alone”.
Now that I’m back home, I’ll post some of the photos I took.
This time I got to experience the Australian winter (or winter-spring transition): brrr, cold! At least for someone who had packed similarly to the summer visit… Whoops. Luckily I had one warm shirt and a short jacket — and my trusty woolly socks. It wasn’t bad outside in the sun but it was a bit chilly inside in the mornings. Towards the end of my stay it got warmer.
I left on Monday, August 31st on a 5.05 PM flight from Helsinki. First I travelled to Frankfurt to catch my connecting flight to Sydney (via Singapore). I sat in an aisle seat in the very last row of the Boeing 747, next to the exit and the cabin crew seat. It was actually very interesting watching them work. For example, I noticed that the sound many people think is the “seatbelt sign turned off” sign (i.e. you can unbuckle your belt) isn’t that, but an intercom ring: After the crew members had armed their doors they got a call on something. Only some time after that was the seatbelt sign really turned off.
In Singapore I, for some reason, had to change my seat. This time I had the middle seat (oh noooo). Luckily it was for the shorter leg of the journey (it was still over 7 hours so I wasn’t happy). I had two very tired guys around me — and I could swear the one on my left talked some weird gibberish in his sleep. That was funny.
We arrived in Frankfurt a little late of schedule (around 7pm instead of the scheduled 6.40pm because we left Helsinki late) which didn’t bother me one bit since I had “some” waiting to do until my next flight which was at 11.55pm. I had to wait to about 10pm before they announced the gate number — no fun because I can never find a nice place to sit (suggestions are welcome). I sat in the check-in hall even though I didn’t have to check in (whoo!) and read Daniel Suarez’s Daemon (good!). An observation: The Germans still think every passenger speaks German. Sigh.
Finally I got on-board and arrived in Sydney at 5.10am on Wednesday, September 2nd after about a 1.5-hour pit stop in Singapore. I had had to tick one box in the arriving passenger card (medicine, drugs and whatnot — sheesh) so I was asked about that (I had pills for headaches) but that was it. Poor Kat (along with the rest of the family) had offered to pick me up. I was out of the queues and check-ups at 6am and they arrived soon after that.
This time I had dressed smart and didn’t get caught in any of the security checks (except once on the way back cause I was wearing my glasses in Frankfurt…). Last time my shoes especially caused grief and in Frankfurt an angry looking lady snapped “Schuhe auf!!” (shoes off) at me and I was so dazed that at first I didn’t understand what she meant (I do know some German).
The flight back (*sob*) left on September 15th at 3.50pm. We almost got stuck in traffic on M5 on the way to the airport but luckily we had left early and I was just on time for the recommended check-in time (2 hours before take-off). This time I got checked-in all the way to Helsinki so I didn’t have to queue at the check-in desk in Frankfurt (instead, I got asked for my ID at boarding unlike last time…). Now I had window seats all the way, and unlike last time we didn’t have to close the windows when we flew over the mountains in India — but it was pitch black outside so I didn’t see a thing. This reminds me, on the way from Frankfurt to Sydney we flew over India in daytime and had to keep all the shutters closed cause it was “bedtime” for us. However, some annoying German girls (I knew they were German because they were trying to take a man’s window seat and I was queuing behind him and had to wait for and listen to them to settle the issue — the man wasn’t German but the girls started speaking in German) kept opening the shutter every time they went to the toilet (which was often) and let me tell you, even a little ray of light is really bright in a dark air plane. I was trying to sleep or at least rest my eyes.
So, on the way back I was in a window seat and all the way from Singapore to Frankfurt the middle seat was empty! What a luxury! In the aisle seat sat an Irish man who had spent a year in Australia and was now heading back home (only for a short stay, I understood). His accent was quite nice to listen to. It was almost incomprehensible. Almost.
On my way to Australia I watched the Watchmen and 3 episodes of IT Crowd that I hadn’t seen before! (They’ve only shown season 1 in Finland so far). On my way back I watched X-Men Origins: Wolverine, an IT Crowd episode I hadn’t had time to watch the first time, a couple of Mythbusters episodes, and some Mr. Bean (while listening to my MP3 player — Mr. Bean doesn’t need sound). The rest of the time I just listened to my MP3 player and rested. And ate. There was this risoni pasta salad that was absolutely wonderful!
I landed in Helsinki at 2.15pm on September 16th. This time the luggage was processed quickly; last time we had to wait for 1.5 hours (!!!) for the bags to start coming down the conveyor belt. I was actually home less than half an hour after landing! (The taxi ride was quick, too.)
Now, on to choosing photos…!
Note to self: Qantas’s Snack on Q pack is OK to be carried through quarantine (needs to be declared). Also, the pack from Frankfurt to Sydney seems to be better than the one from Sydney to Frankfurt… (In my opinion.) Also, it’s ok to take a separate handbag on-board. It’s so much better when I can put the backpack out of the way in the overhead lockers.