Last minute preparations
What a joke. Why do they call it ‘ last minute preparations’ when I need at least half a day to complete all these ‘last minute’ tasks. Ah well, that’s all in the past now as we are at last on our way. Sitting back in ‘First Class’ on JetStar ( Ok, I lie a little, there is ONLY the one class on the little Irishman’s airline) and at last relaxing , with the forthcoming voyage tomorrow on the Oosterdam to look forward to.
We are sitting in row 14, which is one of the rows where the passengers have to assist with launching the 'liferaft' in the event that we need to make a landing in the Bight! We have been 'briefed' by the lovely stewardess,( no, really!) and it's amazing how much we all pay attention to her every word….. nothing to do with her attractiveness either ( no, really, I mean it!), but a lot to do with the recent events on MH370 on everyone's mind. I've never heard nor read of any successful 'water landing' yet, but never mind, better pay FULL attention to the instructions. Ya never know!!!!
All day yesterday, and the day before, was spent on ‘Last Minute’ stuff…and yesterday evening was spent on packing the suitcase’s. I soon realized that to limit YM to the less than generous luggage allowance of 20 kgs each was not going to be achieved, so quickly got online and paid to add another 10 kgs ( at $4.20 a kilo!) YM did a great job of packing her suitcase, but called me in to help when her suitcase was totally full , and a big pile of clothes and shoes that she “absolutely have to take with me” were still lying on the floor. I’m no engineer, but even I could see that the simple law of physics wouldn’t allow those clothes to fit into her already bulging suitcase. The answer was to search for a larger suitcase in the storeroom, which I brought to her. “ Oh no, I don’t really want to unpack it all, and repack my clothes in the big case… isn’t there another way” “Yes darling, there is actually, don’t take so many F%$#ing clothes with you,”…. but I didn’t actually say this out loud! When YM had finished repacking into the larger case, she then admitted that she did have a ‘little’ more stuff to take to Canada, “ a few ‘little’ gifts for people in Vancouver” It’s obvious that YM considers the meaning of the word ‘little’ far differently than the excepted world wide meaning, in that there were two LARGEISH kids backpacks, along with a couple of Australia’s favourite souvenir, stuffed marsupials ! I’d better not divulge which marsupial in case the recipents read this ( doubtful, at 6 years old, but their parents might!). I haven’t finished yet… there was also 3 tubs of ‘gourmet’ chocolate coated dried fruit (Daughter’s favourites apparently, and not available in Canada!), two bags of lollies, 5 packets of Chamomile teabags ( What, not available in Canada either?) , two packets of ‘Snakes,’ (the edible type, and WELL worth packing… and no, they definitely are NOT available in Canada, nor anywhere else in the world to my knowledge… Australia’s best kept secret!!!) a pair of running shoes, photo albums ( yep, notwithstanding I have a tiny portable hard drive with me that has every photo I’ve ever taken in the past 50 years…tens of thousands of them! ) and three large toilet bags full of cosmetics and beauty products. “Mmmm” says YM, “I think we need another ‘pull-along’ for this stuff , what do you think?” ( as in, YM is already taking a ‘pull-along’ on the flight, as part of her hand baggage) ….. “ I think you are right” … again, thought, not said !)
So now we have 2 suitcases, 1 large one, (YM’s) and one medium size one, plus 1 large pull-along., and that’s just our checked baggage. Weighing in at well over 60 kilos, we now need to distribute 10 kilos of the heavy stuff into our carry-on bags. Jetstar are notorious for being sticklers in enforcing the baggage allowance, as they get a lot of extra income this way, and charge $20 for each kilo over! As we are each allowed ‘one carry-on, and one small handbag , not to exceed 10 kilos in total’ we proceed with the distribution. Hopefully they wont be weighing the carry-on, as we are both over the limit! Job ‘almost’ done, we’ll finish it off in the morning ( it is morning by now!) we eventually collapse into bed, at 2:30 am. Within minutes of shutting my eyes, the alarm went off…and it was 6:30 am already….
Wake YM with a nice cup of tea, and then it’s back to the ‘last minute’ stuff again…. Turn off the water heater, turn on the reticulation, turn off the power points, turn on the security system, check passports, check tickets, check,check check……have we forgotten anything… too bad if we have, as our son has nowturned up in his X5 to take us to the airport.
YM used the time with her favourite son ( only one, OK) to hone her skills in her dream job as an interrogator with ASIO. ( A good friend once asked me if she has ‘Parkinsons’ disease, as in Michael Parkinson…. as she asks lots of questions!) For the whole 30 minute drive to the airport, Son was put through the 3rd degree….but very ably, in the style of the crooked opposition MP Craig Thompson ( CT, what a coincidence, he even shares the same intials!) he managed to evade and prevaricate his answers.
He dropped us off and with a brief goodbye kiss and hug, quickly took off, ( with many questions still unanswered!) leaving us on the concourse surrounded by 7 pieces of our luggage. , not including the straw hats! For those not familiar with the 3rd world and archaic ( or plain weird) system at Perth Airport, you cannot drop passengers off right outside the terminal, oh no, but rather have to drop off on the other side of the road, and walk across , dodging the traffic on the way! It’s a good job that we don’t get a lot of rain in Perth otherwise you and your luggage would get very wet ! This is gonna be interesting I thought, trying to juggle with all of it and attempting to get it across the road into the terminal check-in area. “ Where’s my Brother when you need him’ said YM, when like a fairy godmother, who should turn up to help us but said brother ( and my favourite Brother-in-law,), GJ, who, along with his GF had come tout the airport o say goodbye ( we ARE coming back GJ!) and wish us ‘Kalo Taxidi’.
With 90 minutes left before the flight was due to depart, the queue for check-in was quite long… and very sloooow. So I spent the time rehearsing how best to ‘sweet-talk’ the lady at the check-in desk…. Or if it was to be the male checker-inner, how I’d ‘matey-talk’ him, and increase our chances of getting all our luggage onboard with having to pay Jetstar’s excessive excess fees!
Either my charm is still good for something, or else the check-in lady wasn’t too concerned about a few kilos over… she barely glanced at the weight, smiled sweetly, ( I’m joking now) issued us with boarding passes, and well, her we are now, in first class comfort ( joking again!) in row 14 of a JetStar Airbus A321….. Life is Sweet.
Sunday 13th April.
Up early this morning, to walk down to Circular Quay to see the Oosterdam…
Better get back to the hotel and pack up and get onboard… apparently checkin is 2 hours earlier than advised…11am …and we need to sort out our baggage again…. we went shopping in Sydney yesterday evening and have accumulated another 10 or more kilos of belongings, including a couple of cases of wine!!! That should be enough to last us till Noumea anyway, 3 days sailing away! ( Just joking of course!)