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Documents Please – Travelling for work

I am not as fortunate as my sister with travels around Europe. I am fortunate enough to have to travel for work each month to Perth as a major client of mine is there and so I get on a plane and go for a 5 hour trip across the width of Australia to reach a smaller and quieter major city than Sydney.

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Perth – Laidback, and much quieter than the bustle of Sydney. One place I don’t mind walking the k or so to the office. (Wikepedia)

I don’t know about you as we have just met but I love to fly, I anticipate it like a child anticipating opening presents on his or her birthday, it gives me a buzz. I can’t help but prepare early and generally bring a little too much along so that I am ready for anything. Boredom and entertainment are covered by my Macbook, headphones and Kindle, the drone of the plane, washed out by my noise cancelling headphones, the squishy squish of the airplane resulting in slightly odd smells is looked after by some antiperspirant and a change of gear after landing. I have 2 pairs of shoes for 3 days so I can be casual and formal or a mix to make me nonchalant, more shirts than there are days are essential in case I decide I didn’t like the first combination, you think differently when you are at home as opposed to in the hotel. Maybe it’s the ambiance?

Food when arriving is taken care of by the company so long as it’s not extravagant, more considered, however taking shirts other than white is best as I learned in a recent trip that the thin sauce surrounding fillet mignon is splashy and when it hits purple check… you can’t see it anymore after about 5 mins. Valuable as it was only 1:30pm and I had yet another 4 hours left in the day and I would be explaining myself more than once back at the client’s office… I would look ridiculous in the afternoon meeting in a red sauce stained white shirt.

Evenings are whiled away reading in a hot bath or lying down with the television on and at moderate volume as conversation during this time would be odd and inclined to schizophrenia. Nobody sits on an uncomfortable looking lounge chair when there is a bed to be reclined on, the only thing I can think these chairs would be used for is laying out tomorrows outfit and even then it does a terrible job.

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I had a room like this the last time I was there. I joined the 2 beds and rolled from one to the other… OK not really but I did steal all the pillows. (Rydges.com)

Getting to bed now and I always find the commitment to the tuck of the bed linen under the foot of the bed was absolute and I can’t get it untucked all night to the point where my toes are in line with my heel like a ballerina’s, great training so I think I can dance one day. More often than not the air-conditioning is running over time and I dream of being an arctic explorer insulating myself against the icy blasts under 3 layers of blankets sure that I will survive to morning with nought but some hairs out of place.

Whenever I am in town I love to explore a little, maybe check out the local neighbourhood and get an idea for how the place feels. I admit I am not that adventurous so I don’t go that far and my excuse is that recently it has been very hot over there so I didn’t want to rack up a generous sweat.

Waiting in the airport to go home I am always thankful for my experiences anywhere I am in the world. the anticipation builds again and I check and double check and triple check my boarding pass to make sure I wasn’t being a dullard and waiting on the wrong gate. Jumping back on board I get to my seat early and without too much fuss ensuring I stow my cabin bag neatly and quickly without arousing too much attention. Slip into my allocated seat and checking twice that I am in fact in my correct seat and then sit back and wonder who will be sitting next to me while flicking through the on-demand movies and comedy shows until I have planned my total flight schedule, generally starting with a movie to settle most of the way through with some stand-up near the end to keep my spirits up.

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Waiting to board, exciting times, where to next? Home of course! (Wikepedia)

The taxi ride home is generally around 9-10pm at night and all I can think about is how good it is to be back in town as well as what is in store for me on the weekend. I like going places but I love being back home where everything is and I don’t have to worry about what I didn’t pack… which reminds me because I am on a plane again tomorrow.

Qantas: A review

I need to start with two apologies. One is that I haven’t written in a long time and that is not excusable, maybe it’s because I haven’t been out and about for a while and part of that reason is GTA. The other is that this article is part rant so if you know me then this is nothing new…

I enjoyed reading about British Airways by Steph so I thought I would also contribute my 2 cents with a review of a Qantas flight I just had. But let’s rewind a little to ‘getting to’ the actual airport in the first place:

For the first time ever, I was late for my flight. This was both humiliating and career limiting as my boss had to check in for me and by the time I received my final call from my boss while on the airport shuttle, I had only 2 mins before they would close the gate and I would be stranded in Sydney and not in Perth where I needed to be. Things were not looking good, and it was raining, and the traffic was terrible, like wanting to pee but being nowhere near a restroom.

I actually am reserving the right at this moment to tell you that it wasn’t my fault as the Airport shuttle service decided that 4:30am would be the pickup time and that they would get my address wrong so 10 mins was wasted dicking around and then I had to sign a bunch of stuff about my return flight etc. before the driver would actually move off from my driveway. Usually 4:30am is sufficient to get to the airport in time for a 6:30am flight however this day combined with whatever the sky threw at me equaled to me running from one end of the terminal to my gate… on the other side of the terminal. I worked cardio properly that day and vowed that I needed to get my fitness sorted. Luckily I had an excellent pair of ECCO business shoes on so the run was actually pretty good and I wasn’t in pain from uncomfortable shoes at the slightest. In hindsight I think I looked 100% heroic with belt and laptop slip in arm and cabin bag in tow at full sprint wearing business gear, you should have been there you would have gasped at the manliness of it all. When I got there one of the female attendants on the flight was standing alone at the gate waiting for me and she even asked me if I was OK when I feigned gasping for breath like a dying man. She graciously helped me with my bag and we walked to the plane together and she stowed the bag when I got to my seat which happened to be in the emergency exit when I am sure I didn’t book it. So far so good, I was late and looking like a lunatic but was afforded every comfort like I was the first to get in. All the more sad when the news that morning was about Qantas sacking 1000 staff and in the red financially.

Now that I was on board and getting comfortable I got myself a Coke and relaxed, the food that morning was potato cake, scrambled eggs and a pear muffin with yoghurt and some water and tea, oh and apple juice with 4 tic tacs, it was a smorgasbord of food (ok that might be an exaggeration). The attendants serving were courteous and efficient and I got my food pretty much before everyone else and I had choice so being late wasn’t all bad, except for the death stares from everyone in business and first class (walk of shame anyone?).

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Potato cake was OK actually. Eggs were a bit bland and I only found the salt after I finished – my sleuthing skills are crap. Also spot the 4 tic-tacs.

Touchdown in Perth was seen to approximately 3.5 hours later through which I learned that the infotainment system was not very touch sensitive and the table you see before you in the image above ¬†all folded out of the armrest . As it was partitioned into 2 halves the structure of the little table (only in the emergency rows) is a little weak and I was worried the whole time I had my 15″ Macbook Pro retina sitting on it (the Macbook not me) that it would collapse and my laptop would be damaged and I would not love it anymore.

All in all a comfortable flight with not too many disruptions via the announcements. I watched “The Crash Reel” a rather touching story of Kevin Pearce’s fall from snowboarding superstardom to traumatic brain injury (TBI) sufferer. As before touch control on the screens were not fantastic but that might be because I have dry hands. True/funny story, on the way back from Perth I was tapping slightly harder on the screen (this time behind another passenger) and I think I annoyed the heck out of her because the touches weren’t registering, I was very careful to press extra hard after that (and not tap hard – I’m not a toolbag… I think).

Getting back into Sydney was on Qantas again and the service was great. I managed to break the tab to open my can of Appletiser and got a replacement in a snap. Going home from the airport the shuttle service was once again shoddy by not turning up at the right time, not calling and then being late by which time I was already on the way home at 10pm from a 8:30pm landed flight, suggest you steer clear of this unless you plan to be late in which case maybe tell them you are on the earlier flight than you actually are and maybe you might be on time*.

*OK I might have had a bad run (2 trips) and I get that, I am sure you have had no problem with the airport mini-bus before right?