Tuesday, February 03, 2004

The Journey

Well as all things it started by getting out of bed, at the ungodly hour of three AM. I hustled about trying to remember what I needed and had forgotten to pack, had a quick cup of coffee and a bit of toast and me mate Wayne was there to run me down the airport. The plane was due to leave at 6:15 but I needed to be there an hour earlier, and of course I was there a half hour before that.

I checked in and went in search of coffee, now being a seasoned traveller, I shied away from going into the cafeteria place, why pay four bucks for a cup of what could be likened to mud, remember I used to work delivering lost baggage (or was that found Baggage) so I tripped over to there only to find it was too early and they were not open yet, still not to be outdone I went to the coffee machine where although not good coffee is passable early in the morning. I put my dollar fifty in, pressed C6 which gives you what they laughingly call cappuccino, well it does have some froth on the top, I believe they get this effect with fairy liquid but at lest it cleans your insides, the machine whirred and coughed, no cup dropped down and no bloody coffee came gushing out, so of course I kicked it on the sign saying kick here, pressed the coin return button, only to receive a shiny fifty cent coin and no dollar, so here I am a dollar down and still craving coffee, so I wandered outside for a fag, and to plan my next plan of attack. When I had my smoke, I wandered back inside, found the luggage counter open and went in the back and cadged a cup of their finest 43 bean Nescafe that I made myself and topped up with that skinny milk that does bugger all but change the colour of the brew.

Time to brave the boarding area now, and I fronted up, taking all my change from my pockets, cigarette lighter and so on, then tried to walk through the metal detector only to have it go off like world war four has been declared, take them steel toecap boots off the girl said and that nifty pocket watch as well and while you are at it take your belt off. So there I was no boots, my trousers threatening to fall around my ankles and me not knowing the time of day. They actually x-rayed my boots, which I thought was novel and then left me to get dressed and continue up the stairs to wait for the plane. Nothing exciting there just a few shops selling tat at over inflated prices, could you imagine me paying ninety five dollars for a replica Australian cricket shirt? They did have some barmy army paraphernalia on special, but I might be a Pom but not brave enough to wear any of that stuff!

So down the stairs across the tarmac and up the steps, into the plane, one of them BAC thingies with the four engines, into my seat, strapped in and ready for take off, one of the hosties ( the blonde one, there is always a blonde and a dark haired girl) begins the safety instructions while the dark haired girl does the talking with a voice like white wine mixed with honey. They finish and the pilot comes on telling us about where we are going, how high and that sort of stuff, why is it that all pilots sound as though they have a speech defect, or are they all playing at being Biggles? We set of up the runway and amid all the clanking and groaning that these BAC whatsits are renowned for, we take off.

The girls wander up with some stuff that passes for breakfast, have you noticed that they write on it now so you know what you are getting, what we are supposed to have had was mushroom and cheese crepe, that is posh speak for a pancake, it was closer to an omelette and as bland as could be, the yoghurt was alright though and the water was wet and cold, the blondie one came up with coffee, and I would have had one but she ran out with the bloke next to me, so I settled for tea, and would you know the dark haired girl came up and ran out at the exact same place, I eventually got a cup of tea but it was weak and barely warm, so I did what all us seasoned travellers do and fell asleep, woke up when the pilot came on again saying something that was unintelligible, we were about fifteen minutes from Hedland at this stage, so I spent my time looking at the clouds and the flaps of the wings til we landed.

Down the ladder into the humid heat of Hedland town, half past eight in the morning and already hot and sticky, retrieved the old bag from the carousel, went outside where all smokers must go in Australia and leant up against the wall trying to find a bit of shade and to see if I could work out who was picking me up, found there wer three of us to be picked up, my vehicle was pointed out to me and told we were off to the shopping centre in old Hedland (where the drive in used to be) as we had to pick up some provisions for somebody, well we were too early so went to the real old Hedland (Wedge St.) and had some real breakfast, back to the shop and loaded up with stuff and we were away ( we were still too early for the bottle shop to be open).

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