“The journey not the arrival matters” – T. S. Eliot
Hours of Travel: 15.5 hours flying
Distance covered: 11,971 (Total: 19,531km)
We land in Bangkok at around 11pm Thai time, but it’s 3am Sydney time so naturally I am alert and ready to go. Even though I said I didn’t want to sleep, I couldn’t help myself and managed to sleep around 3 hours, and watched that Sandra Bullock film The Blind Side, which was great.
We have a 1 ½ hour stopover in Bangkok. Bangkok Airport is a soul-less concrete monstrosity and I hate stopping here. As usual, I head to the Qantas lounge for a shower (I find that if I shower at each stop I feel more human, and know I may not have time in London since I only have 90 mins between flights). The airport is so dreadfully signposted that you can find yourself spinning in different directions just to find your destination. I pass through security again and eventually find the Qantas lounge where I also pick up my boarding pass for my BA flight to Athens. The airport is hot and humid in parts, and I find myself feeling almost worse after my shower than before. The line to reboard is long and eventually I am back, being offered olives and nuts again, safe and nurtured in the womb of seat 3K in First Class.
For “supper” I had pre-ordered the famous First Class steak sandwich, a thin tender steak in a bread roll with tomato relish and rocket. (If you are starting to think I’m eating too much for someone who is not moving around, you are absolutely correct. I justify this by reasoning that I am moving into my new time zone and should get there by whatever means are at my disposal, including eating at weird hours)
I managed to sleep about half of the way from Bangkok to London, the blue cabin lights overhead lulling me into a relaxed state, resplendent in my fresh Qantas PJ’s. One of the reasons I sleep so well is that the flight attendants make your seats into a bed. Oh yes, you read that correctly. THEY MAKE UP YOUR BED. When you slip off to the bathroom to brush your teeth, they press a button and the seat goes dead flat. They then put a sheepskin underlay into a fitted sheet, and onto the bed. Now comes the special blanket, covered in cotton (not even that scratchy blanket you get elsewhere). The two little pillows tops off the whole thing and, let’s face it, who couldn’t sleep in that?
I have included a photo here, but apologise for how dodgy it is: it was taken secretly with my iPhone of seat 4K behind me. I am pretty sure no-one noticed. Now, it’s probably a good time to confess something else: I have a secret suspicion that I snore loudly on planes.
I wake up every now and then, snoring my nostrils off. However, when I replay the snore to test how loud it is, and whether my fellow passengers would have heard it, it seems to me to be nowhere ear loud enough to be heard over the drone of the aircraft engines, and certy not if you are wearing headphones. There, I’ve said it. Maybe one day the cabin crew will politely wake me and ask me to turn over, but it hasn’t happened yet.
I eventually stir
from my thunderous slumber, and check the flight path: we are over Russia, somewhere between Minsk and Kiev. I get a sudden thrill of this adventure. Soon enough, the cabin lights turn pink and get brighter to gently lull us into wake, and breakfast is served.
London soon looms below, and the sun. For most of the trip, we have travelled in darkness. Working out how has done my head in: we left before sunset but then flew west where we tried to keep up with the sun. Eventually, I figure, we dropped behind and fell into darkness and just catch up with it now, as it rises over London. (If any of you have a better, more scientific, explanation, please feel free to leave a comment so I can put myself out of my misery).