I have arrived in the Netherlands finally. At some points I never thought I would make it or that I wanted to make it. Mere hours before I was due to get on the plane I could be found sobbing in my house as I had lost all the contacts from my mobile phone, I know ridiculous,,but sometimes things get the better of me and I just had a feeling the gods were against me. Which after the flight I endured they might just be.
The issues started at Melbourne international airport in the check-in queue. A lady in a orange parker did not understand the concept of personal space or the idea that you shouldn’t touch other people and their belongings, especially in an airport, were people get kinda tetchy about that stuff. This woman nearly stabbed me in the eye with a key, tried to take my place in the line by shoving glad-wrapped boxes and bags in front of me and then shoved me in the back when she decided I wasn’t moving fast enough for her liking, to then run past me to the counter. I was then informed that I would need to pick my bags up in Guangzhou (China) for the domestic flight to Beijing and I was required to get a transfer visa in China. After some sighing and generally looking unimpressed the man serving me said “actually no, I can check you bags all the way through to Amsterdam.” Awesome I thought, not so awesome when I got to Guangzhou to realise he had changed my flight information and I was now to stay in the freakin airport for 15 hours. No thank you.
The actual flight from Melbourne to China wasn’t so bad I had a window seat in the emergency exit bit and I was sitting next to a nice enough guy who was heading for Ibiza. He was a little odd as he had never gone to the toilet on a plane. This is no mean feat since the flight to China alone is 8 hours long. A warning of things to come occured on our final desent into Guangzhou, the Chinese choice of music to play over a video showing off the city, it was the x-files theme song, unsettling to say the least.
So in China I proceeded to demand the attention of a service attendant and managed to get my flight changed. Success. Well so I thought but I will come back to that. It seemed that the entire of flight CZ322 was having issues with Chinese immigration and flight transfer services. This was due to incompetence a break down in communication (both parties faults, I don’t speak Mandarin they speak limited English) which lead to long delays, people missing flights, peoples bags randomly appearing on conveyer belts and the general feeling that herding a pack of cats might be easier. Finally I made it onto my flight to Beijing which was lovely. Nice clean seats, nice food and generally a better plane and service than their international flights.
Arriving in Beijing we were greeted by a man at the gate to take us to our transfer. At this point I was unsure where my bags where and if they would be meeting me at anytime soon. This seemed to be the consensus of all those around me as well. Amazingly my bag arrived,I had not felt joy like that for a while to see my bright blue case rolling around the conveyor belt. Phew all my wordy possessions for the next 4-6 months were safe… The relief was short lived, turns out I was not booked to be on flight CZ345 to Amsterdam any longer but after a few tense minutes all was resolved and I was making my way to Amsterdam. Finally the last leg, the longest leg and a sense of maybe I was meant to embark on this adventure after all.
The flight was full of weary Australian travelers, sharing tired glance and knowing smiles of the endurances and stress it took to be on this flight. I was seated in the middle of the plane, the nightmare spot but for the first time in my life I was next to an attractive man. Maybe the gods had decided to help me out a bit. Turned out he was a Kiwi and he had been on the flight from Melbourne and had lost his mates in Guangzhou, I had been with them at customs and they were meant to be on my flight to Beijing, they never turned up there. So he had no idea what was going on or where he was staying in Amsterdam and no way of contacting them. Luckily at the last minute they made the flight and everything was back on track. We passed the hours chatting and sleeping, he seemed nice. I was struck however by how people ‘pick up’ on a plane. You may be going to the same destination, you may not and if you started making out surely the people next to you would have something to say about it. Then joining the mile high club; Plane toilets are revolting, everyone sees you go in they are tiny so you would have to be extremely flexible or enjoy uncomfortable sex and did I mention they are revolting. There also should be a sign in the toilet telling men they must be seated whilst using the plane toilet. Or even as part of the inflight warning the exits are here , here and here and men please sit like this on the toilet seat. As no one likes traipsing urine back through the plane on the soles of their shoes. Causing the plane to smell like a giant urinal.
So to conclude I made it to Amsterdam, My bags made it as well and I got a train to the Hague, where my friend LL cool J was waiting smiling and also jet lagged. I am safe, I arrived and I am happy to be here but I am NEVER flying China Southern agin.