Apr. 9th, 2010

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CBRQFJ
Packing complete, last minute chores done, bags ready, and my day driver turns up early, bless his cheerful heart!

We arrive at the airport in style, silver limousine drawing to the kerb in the best position on the crowded drop-off area, my uniformed chauffeur hands the luggage out, my wife licks the last vestiges of chocolate away - a cabbie with a bag of tiny Easter eggs, imagine that! - and we're off!

Check-in is easy enough, but Canberra being Canberra, the premium line is longer than the regular queue. Security a breeze - for my wife. She's flying with just a handbag, while my tiny daypack is bursting at the seams with a tonne of light-weight, space-saving kit that I can't possibly part with. I could live for a week off this stuff, so what's in my checked bags, my dear wife wonders.

She looks immaculate and elegant; me, I'm the complete travel geek in cargo pants, plastic belt and a black polo. Sometimes I wonder why she picked me. Opposites attract, maybe.

The lady manning the J lounge twinkles when I outlined the itinerary: "Cherry blossoms in Kyoto, tulips in Amsterdam and a smile on Kerri's face."

This lounge is full, and we're lucky to snag a couple of seats together. We're the odd couple here: I'm not in a suit, and she's not male. There are a bare handful of women in the lounge, standing out like tulips in a sea of dark suits and power ties.

Long gin and tonic for Kerri and a glass of bubbles for me. A selection of snacks. Olives dripping vinegar, a tiny plate of what might be wasabi peas. There is a tub of pumpkin soup, trays of hot savouries, cold meats, cheeses, juices and crackers, but we ignore these. We're saving ourselves for something better.

An hour or so before our flight is called. We're on a jet. Not that I mind the turbo-props, but the high whining sounds hurt my wife's ears. My years in the mortar platoon fixed that for me long ago.

A quick glance over the tarmac as we leave. The view from the J lounge isn't great, but over in the distance the tents of the Great Moscow Circus are rising. Canberra International Airport: land of temporary structures and constant change. The terminal itself will be gone within the year, all operations crammed into Stage One of the new building.

One day, the dream will be complete, the roadworks and taxi torture test track will vanish, and we cabbies will scratch our heads in puzzlement, reminiscing about the old days here, when every day was a new adventure.
Moscow Circus

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