10.09.2010 - 11.09.2010 25 °C
As I was part of the group that was getting the morning transfer from the hotel to the airport, Hilary had set up a wake-up for me but I didn't need it as I was awake 10 minutes before it was due (I actually heard the phone ring while I was in having my shower). In addition, I didn't have to worry about lugging my large suitcase down to the lobby as porterage was included as part of the transfer! So, after ensuring I had everything packed, I put my bag out, had breakfast and checked out of the hotel (for the last time) and then made my way to where the others were waiting so that we could board the bus to the airport.
Made it to Charles de Gauille airport with plenty of time to spare so said my goodbyes to those that were on the same transfer as me and then mulled around for a while. Found my way to where the check-in desk was for my flight and got a bit worried when I saw the scales read 25.7 kg for my large suitcase (weight limit for checked in luggage is meant to be 23 kg). However, the lady didn't charge my for excess luggage and it was only after I put my carry-on suitcase (which in my opinion weighed no more than what it had when I'd left Australia) on the scales, that it dawned on me the scales may have been out.
Got to the boarding gate and waited for the PA to say that boarding would commence. Had been waiting for about 2 hours when the announcement came to say that the flight was boarding from a different departure gate to the one that had been shown so made my way to the right departure gate. As soon as I got there, baording commenced but I got a bit of a shock when I boarded a bus instead of a plane...realised when it started to move across the tarmac that it was a shuttle bus ferrying me and my fellow passengers to our plane.
I had an aisle seat this time but as I didn't need to use the toilet throughout the whole trip (and neither did the man sitting beside me), I was able to fall asleep without needing to get up. Before falling asleep though, I watched the new Robin Hood movie (the one with Russell Crowe) and had some lunch. I woke up again with only half an hour of the flight left (which meant that the pilot was about to start the descent into Abu Dhabi airport).
The plane landed smoothly in Abu Dhabi and thankfully, didn't have a long wait until the boarding of my flight to Sydney commenced. However, we didn't leave straight away as there were some issues with the loading of the checked in luggage and the stewardesses thought that the man sitting in front of me may have had a heart condition so wanted to make sure that he'd be alright for the long flight ahead. After ensuring everything was okay, the plane taxied down the runway 15 minutes after our scheduled departure time...no sooner was the plane in the air, then I dozed off again! Because I was asleep, I missed out on the in-flight dinner and snack! I actually didn't end up waking up until about halfway through the flight (tracking the progress of the flight is now a part of the in-flight entertainment), which meant that I'd had a good 6-7 hours of unbroken sleep! I watched the movie "Kick-ass" and snoozed on and off while listening to music for the rest of the flight.
Arrived at Sydney around 6.45pm and had to deal with Customs as I'd brought chocolate (for mum) and a gift made of wood (for dad) back. The Customs lady cleared the chocolate but told me I had a choice as to what I could do with the gift for dad...I could throw it out or pay $60 for it to be treated. I thought about it for a bit and thought "Well, I don't want to throw it out but, at the same time, I don't have $60 on me!"...then it dawned on me that mum would be waiting for me with Mic and Pete (Mic's dad) so I told the Customs lady this and she said she could escort me round to where they were (leaving the wooden gift behind). Mic gave me the money so the lady escorted me back to where I could pay for the treatment before saying I was free to go. Ran back to where I'd left Mic, mum and Pete (hugs all round) and we set off for a late dinner at the Mojo lounge and then home.
Well, that's all there is folks...my Europe trip is officially over and I've now got to unpack, wash the clothes that need washing and sort out which souvenirs go to whom (still waiting on the parcel I sent from Sheffield!).