Long first day

Last modified date

We have never much liked early morning flights. International flights want you there 3 hours before departure and Toowoomba is near enough to 2 hours from Brisbane airport. That makes for a very early start or an overnight stay.

Flights later in the day allow for a more leisurely start to the day. However, with our flight for this trip scheduled for 2:50 am we had almost too much day and finished looking for things to do before leaving home.

Shortly before 6:00 pm I ordered pizzas from Domino’s. It took a few minutes to shut down our computers and do a last quick check around the house. Then we went to collect our pizzas and headed for Gutkes’.

There we enjoyed a leisurely dinner and conversation. Claire was excitable because Callum was going away and she would miss him. Hannah had some last minute organising to check that Callum had everything he needed in the right places but that was soon sorted and we were ready to go.

We were on the road well before our 9 pm planned departure. Soon after 10 pm we had dropped our car at Andrew’s and were at the airport waiting for the checkin counter to open.

Checkin opened at 11 pm. We had noticed preparations and moved so we were close enough to the front of the queue not to have to wait. Security and passport control were not busy so we were through those and in the departure area quickly.

Sadly the Qantas Club had already closed for the night so we found seats near our gate and settled down to wait. We took some comfort in the knowledge that our boarding passes included a note about access to the lounge in Dubai.

Hours passed slowly as we waited to board. At various times we each went for walks around the terminal but mostly we used our iPhones or iPads to read, write, watch or listen. Callum pulled out his pad for a while for drawing and wrote a little in his travel diary. Majella and I got in some Duolingo and, after midnight, tackled the Saturday Wordle.

Boarding began just after 2:00 am and our flight took off close to the scheduled time of 2:50 am. Our flight path took us over Kangaroo Point so I expect Glen and Debbie heard us go. Majella and I were determined to sleep if we could so did not start watching anything. Callum checked the movie catalogue and thought he might watch all three movies in the Creed series in succession. As it happened, before long Callum had curled up in his window seat and was asleep.

Both Majella and I were still awake, though drowsing, when the crew delivered meals an hour or so into the flight. Despite having been hungry at the airport, Callum was not prepared to wake for food.

Majella seemed to sleep reasonably well, at least for a couple of hours. I know because I didn’t though I managed some intermittent snoozes. Callum slumbered on. Sometime through the night we were offered coffee and I was surprised when Majella accepted. I had one too, thinking it was unlikely to keep me more awake than I was.

Later I woke to find Majella and Callum both watching something on their screens. Oddly I felt somewhat refreshed so I must have slept better than I thought though my Fitbit recorded no sleep. I joined the movie watchers.

Callum was awake when the next meal arrived and pronounced the chicken with rice the best meal ever. It was OK but I’ve had better, even on planes.

Toward the end of the flight Callum dropped his phone into the space between his seat and the wall of the plane. As per the regular warnings, Majella had to call a staff member to retrieve it.

We arrived in Dubai on schedule, passed through what would have been an unnecessary security check if we had disembarked in an unsecured zone, and went i search of the Emirates lounge. That was a disappointment since they would allow only one other to enter on my Qantas Club membership. The fee for a third was ridiculous so we declined.

Callum had spotted McDonalds on our wanderings and we headed there where he ordered on the system and paid with his card. He enjoyed his meal and pronounced it very similar to what he serves at McDonalds in Toowoomba.

I had coffee (expensive but refreshing). Majella declined coffee but when we found a space to sit near our departure gate she spotted a small spa where she had a 10 minute massage reclining on a surface that reminded her of a waterbed. It was good enough that she tried unsuccessfully to persuade us to do it.

Our flight boarded and departed on time. Callum spent some time drawing and then settled into watching a movie. Majella and I watched movies though Majella seemed to find her choices soporific and I switched to reading a book on my iPad with an eye on the flight tracking screen as we crossed Iraq, Turkey, and the Black Sea into Europe and on toward Paris.

A couple of hours in there was a meal service that kept us occupied for a time. After that we continued watching or reading and snoozing. It was increasingly the latter as fatigue set in.

Our flight arrived on time but it took a good 30 minutes to get off the plane and about the same to clear passport control. Picking up baggage was a little quicker but it was a long walk to find a taxi. The taxi driver was not well pleased with the short local fare but took us to our nearby hotel. The meter showed 7 euros so I gave him 10 and left it at that.

I had checked into the hotel online so collecting our key was quick. That came with tickets for 3 free drinks at the bar. We dropped our bags in the room and headed for the restaurant. Callum said he wanted dinner but then decided he really was not that hungry. We ordered a board of cold meat and bread to have with our drinks. After a little time relaxing and snacking we headed to bed. It had been a long day.