Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In Transit

If you don't want to read about my adventures on the plane and airports to Austria, stop reading at any point. If you've already stopped, you aren't reading this, and thus I can call you an ugly hippo without you knowing. Mwahahahaha.

I feel kind of heartless for not being more emotional during my farewells to my family. I said goodbye to Zeb on Thursday, and didn't cry or anything. Although I did feel a little sad. It was like that moment when you find out someone you really love and care about, actually just finds you annoying. Most of you probably don't know the feeling, but it sucks.
Then at the airport I was pretty unemotional. Said our farewells and wandered through to customs. Garn customs are difficult. I need to practice filling out those green papers. I had to ask Lewis to help me. Eventually we found our gate and our plane. I was sitting in the window seat next to Marueen and David. Sydney to Singapore was about 7 hours and every single one of them was boring. I watched The Social Network and decided that Andrew Garfield is pretty much the bomb diggity. Singapore was pretty dull. We were only there for about half an hour waiting for our plane to refuel or something. Then back on we got. This time I was in the isle seat of the middle column of seats. Once more next to Maureen and David.

I've been overseas before. I've been to Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, the Solomon Islands and Malaysia. The longest flight I've had was about 5 hours I think. Maybe 6. Then of course there was the 7 hour flight to Singapore. Then the cruel, uncaring pilot said the following, "We'll be landing in Heathrow at about 6am local time, and expect a flight time of about 13 hours."


13 hours?

Is he serious?

But apparently he was. It was painful. There was nothing to do but listen to music and watch movies, or sleep. I could have died of boredom. I did watch most of a movie called AfterShock. It is a Chinese movie about this family who were affected by the 1976 Tangshan earthquake. I don't want to spoil it in case you want to read it, but it's a really emotional yet redeeming movie. It finished just as we were flying into Heathrow. QANTAS must love me because they have this thing called SkyCam, where you can watch everything from this camera attached to the tail of the plane. Heathrow was so epic!

You know how you can just tell how things smell, even if you aren't there? For example watching a war movie, you can kind of smell it, even though you're not there. Same with looking at photos of massive English gardens or dark dank alleyways. Well - I kid you not - the Heathrow airport smells of Doctor Who. Yarp.
We said our fond farewells to some of the students who had to go to different terminals, and we went through the customs again. Customs had lights that changed colour. YAY! I put all my stuff up and in my head *squee*ed at everyone's English accents, and walked through. I had to go again though with my shoes off. And then when I was on the other side, this lady conducted one of those full-body searches. It was altogether a rather ticklish ordeal, and I can't imagine anyone actually WANTING that job (save maybe some perverse people who enjoy feeling other people all over). But it was pretty cool. That sounds awkward. I mean as in, I felt pretty neato to have someone think I - Clare - was sketchy enough to be bringing questionable objects through customs.
On the other side of customs we had to get our new boarding passes and then we got to chill in the terminal for a while. I caught up with some other students who are AMAZING and I think I actually just absolutely love everyone. Fo' defs. I bought myself tea, and that was stressful.

Normally, in Australia, you just go up to the counter, and ask for tea. I don't know why but I just freaked out when I did it in Heathrow, and it was an English speaking country! Sheesh. It was a shop called Eat. and it was quite cool. They just give you the tea in a big mug and leave you to pour your own milk and put a lid on it if you like. I also bought a museli cookie. Because I could.
The perfume section was extensive (as all airport perfume sections are). It had Gucci, Prada, Vera Wang, Ralph Lauren, Harajuku Lovers, Hugo Boss, a fishtank, Chanel, SJP, Elizabeth Arden etc etc.
Did I say fishtank? Yes. For some unknown reason, they had a fishtank. With fish in it. In the perfume section. Don't worry, I was confused into insanity too.

My Australian family also called (the babies). You know, saying they miss me and stuff and asking how the flight was. Before I even reached my host country. *sigh*. Nah it was fine. I can't help it if they're clingy. When it was finally light and we had to catch our plane, I nearly died of happiness. England really is as gloomy and grey as it is in all the movies <3 But we had to leave in order to actually reach Austria.

What do I not like about Australia? It is just one country on one big continent. What do I love about Austria? It is one small country on one smallish continent, surrounded by more small countries! Everything is so close together. We flew over France and Germany (and I think more countries) to reach Austria, and it was about a 2 hour trip? (I think). In Vienna we farwelled more people. Jamie and Larissa had big signs and happy peoples to HUZZAH their arrival :)
Continuing on we had just Victoria, Pierce, Rebekah and myself. The airport worker ladies were wearing just red. Red shoes, red stockings, read shirts, red blazers. I think they had white scarves though. It looked... well.. red. Rebekah's flight was apparently overbooked, which was stressful, but we suspect she made it pretty safe and soundly because she wasn't in the boarding loungey place after her flight had left. Victoria was able to just hop on her flight, so we said goodbye, and then it was just Pierce and me (and Maureen and David). We had a 5 hour wait before our plane was due to depart. We looked at the shops. I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the book) in German. I was tempted to buy it, but for some reason I didn't. We saw sachertorte, and the Sacher café. Didn't get any though. I want to get some in Vienna.

Pierce and I went through customs and on the other side we just waited for the next few hours for our flight. At last we got to the bus and the plane (It was a prop plane. Prop is propeller).

Just imagine this. We have waited for 5 hours in Vienna airport. We can't really do anything because there aren't many shops, and there is nothing to do. Before we left, Pierce sarcastically said, "We'll probably take off, fly for five or ten minutes, and start landing again." and we laughed. So we got on the plane. We were given bottles of water, which we finished pretty quickly. And turns out, it WAS only five or ten minutes before we started landing again. We waited 5 hours for a 15 minute flight. Ha. Ha. Ha.

No really, I found it hilarious. Then when we got into the airport and got our bags I nearly died of excitement. Couldn't wait to meet my host family and counsellor and club president. We got our bags and I mentally braced myself to see everyone. We walked out and nobody was there. Our plane had arrived 10 minutes early. *slight sad face* but I was still stoked as! Then at last our families arrived, and so did David and Horst and Léa. I was so happy to meet everyone! I love them all so much and I've only been here for 3 days.

So that was the plane adventures. HUZZAH! I really should try writing these in German. Oh wells. I have much more to say, but this will do for now.


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