For those who haven’t heard yet, . . I am safely back at home. Perth has put on a stunning day for me and Merlin was very happy to see me (which is a nice change – when I leave him for a week he tends to snub me for a day or so when I get back!).
My trip home went reasonably smoothly, with a good amount of sleep shortening the 12hr Amsterdam to KL flight significantly. I was helped out here by a 1L bottle of duty free Amarula from Amsterdam which the lady informed me was fine to take to KL, but couldn’t be taken through to Australia . . . and I assured her it wouldn’t be going past KL!
The flight out of KL was “interesting”. Just before the gate opened, the board started showing “delayed – ETD 3am” (vs 6:45pm scheduled). On querying this (9hr delay) there was a lot of umming and ahhing and talk of fog in Perth (?!?!?) before they informed us that no, the flight was on schedule again. We all went to the gate, and then sat there watching our departure time tick by. There was an announcement of “we will shortly be making a decision about whether the flight goes ahead or not”, followed not longer after by a boarding call. Once onboard the plane, we sat there for quite a while due to “operational issues, awaiting paperwork” (or something like that!!) then the obligatory idiot who put his luggage on then didn’t board the plane. This seems to happen surprisingly frequently, on my flights anyway.
While taxiing, the Captain started to explain the issues, vaguely, then finished with “I’ll give you more information when we’re in the air”. WTF?? What can’t you tell us before we’ve taken off?? This was a Malaysian Airlines flight too, so I was slightly more suspicious than normal! What he did end up telling us was something about “weather conditions of the coast of Derby do not meet legal requirements for commercial flights” so we had to fly a different, longer, route, adding about an hour to the flight time. Slightly concerning that it was the legality that stopped them flying through it, rather than concern about the risks, but OK, . . at least they did the right thing. And they clearly put a fair bit of effort into resolving the problem so they could still get us to our destination, mostly on time. They actually made up about 30 minutes during the flight which is not bad considering we apparently had 100km/hr headwinds for the last part of the flight! We also had a particularly impressive lightening storm off to the side as we took off. I still have no idea what the weather problem was near Derby though!
Today I’ve managed to pick up my dog, pick up my friends’ dog (they’ve just had a baby . . an event that I was coming back for and mostly made it in time!!), sort through a sizeable stack of mail, weed a tiny section of the jungle that is now my garden and buy enough food to make up for the last 5 weeks of eating out! I’ve just started downloading my GPS data and photos (very exciting) and am thinking of the hundreds of things that I want to put on my blog. Bear with me though, I am going to take my time to hopefully give you a more cohesive, interesting and readable account, rather than giving you a mish mash of incomplete or rambling stories.
One last thing . . I don’t think I’m adjusting back into the time zone well. I am currently having “lunch”, which ended up very closely resembling a European breakfast/brunch (Scottish tea, orange juice, brie, tomatoes, oat cakes, ham) at about 2pm (7am Scotland time)!! I am rowing at 7am tomorrow morning though, so if anything’s going to bring back to Perth time, that will!