The Auckland sky was locked in resolute clouds as we waited patiently for our plane to take us to Sydney.
We flew with Emirates, a choice made by a coincidence of timing and conditions that fit our budget when our itinerary went through STA Travel's computers 9 months ago. Yet what a choice it turned out to be.
Whilst some of you will have experienced or perhaps even be accustomed to the kind of service that Emirates offer even its Donkey Class customers, we were not. After zipping through check-in early and boarding an on-time plane, we sat down in large comfortable seats and a warm scented face towel. Greeted with smiles we dined on a 3-4 course dinner and watched the latest films. When the lights dimmed, stars shone on the ceiling and we couldn't get believe what we were receiving for a 3 1/2 hour flight. As we descended into Sydney airport we watched the plane touch down onto the runway by a camera mounted on the nose of the plane.
Having arrived in previous destinations very late at night and/or very jet lagged it was novel to feel fairly refreshed. It didn't all go according to plan however as when we used the self-service passport machines, they did not consider Alex's face matched his passport (maybe the hair) so he had to join a long queue of other passport rejects. We were prepared for Australia's tough bio-security but it turned out to be the woman in front of us who was the biggest challenge. After being in a long line with lots of signs alerting her to be prepared, she was still on her mobile and having to search for her documents when she got to this section whilst the rest of us queued behind. The security officer's face was classic as he gave a knowing look to his colleague.
We arrived at our hostel under the driving skills and humour of shuttle bus driver Shane. He told us that he showed his son an AUS$5 note, which has the image of the Queen on it and asked who this was. His son replied 'Grandma'. Shane explained 'Grandma' happened to look a lot like the Queen but he didn't mention his son's age, hopefully it's not 17.Read more