On a high

Apr. 12th, 2009 06:24 pm
skyring: (Default)
Sunday 12 April 2009
QF560 Canberra to Sydney
B734 VH-TJY "Maryborough" Seat 17F
Scheduled: 0645
Boarding: 0625 (Gate 11, ground)
Pushback: 0645
Takeoff: 0654 to north
Descent; 0710
Landing: 0725 34R (from south after circle)
Gate: 0735 (Gate 2)

QF47 Sydney to Wellington
B734 ZK-JTS Seat 5F
Scheduled: 0915
Boarding: 0855 (Gate 36)
Pushback: 0917
Takeoff: 0936 34R to north
Descent: 1400 (NZ time)
Landing: 1417 (from north)
Gate: 1420 (Gate 28)

You couldn't put a wider smile on my face. There's New Zealand just appeared out of the blue Tasman. What a feeling - back in heaven!

Here's a week and a day of fun with my BookCrossing friends, and all those long nights of driving a cab are paying off. "Beats working," I tell my passengers, when I mention I've still got another nine or ten hours to go.

Snow on the mountains below. A fine tracing of silver on the very highest ridges below, and way off in the distance some real mountains, jutting up.

And then we flew lower and lower over the Marlborough Sounds, Cook Strait, Wellington and onto the tarmac, the single runway jutting out into the ocean at both ends. I was in heaven.

Heaven with a smile. Smiles all round after immigration. I hugged Discoverylover and alkaline-kiwi, and included Kevin and Erik for good measure.

The day began early. Dawn was breaking and the fog lifting as we pulled into Canberra airport. Checkin seemed to take forever, but there was time for a coffee in the lounge, before I gave my daughter/driver a farewell hug and filed aboard.

I read the Qantas magazine, taking an extra pleasure when I saw a couple of mentions of my travelwriting competition win. Breakfast was a muffin and a juice, but there was only five minutes to wipe the crumbs from my vest before the crew was clearing for landing.

Five minutes wait for the transit bus, hustle through passport control and the duty-frees, and then I was at the lounge, passing that incredible living wall and ordering breakfast.

As usual, superb. I had every intention of losing weight this trip, but good intentions were postponed as the aroma of bacon, scrambled eggs, fresh coffee and sourdough toast wafted up from the table. Barely time to do savoury justice to breakfast before it was time to trot down to the distant gate.

Excellent seat. Not quite Business Class, but forward of the wings and oodles of legroom. A quick look over some of Sydney's seaside suburbs as we lifted away, and then the ocean colour deepened and disappeared under thickening clouds.

No individual screens on this flight - a 737 of generous vintage - but the movie sown on the ceiling mounted screens helped me pass the time smiling and laughing at Jim Carey's antics in "Yes Man".

Lunch was served. I asked for champagne and got some sparkling Aussie white. Fair enough. A tiny Lindt bunny for Easter, which I saved to smuggle through Customs for Discoverylover.

And then I pulled out my laptop to make a journal entry, and there was New Zealand rising from the Tasman.

Off

Apr. 12th, 2009 05:03 am
skyring: (Default)
The adventure begins. Road trip, whales, hot springs, museums and wine. And books, lots of books.

I'm off to Canberra airport in half an hour. I'll have breakfast in the lounge - I'll only get a muffin and some OJ on the plane.

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