Day 180: Home.December 13, 2016 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 36 °C
Here we go! Up at 5:20, downstairs to check out by 5:30 and wait for our Uber to the airport. Brief moment of panic as the driver went down the parallel street (Uber had dropped the map pin on the hotel building which is shown as between the two, and there's no easy access between them in reality, unlike on Google Maps), but the front desk managed to call him and he picked us up with no further problems.
Long ride as usual out to the airport but with very little traffic at this time of day. Checked in about 2.5 hours early, and checked in a bag for the first time on our entire trip! Through emigration, customs and then spent a little while at the GST refund counter getting that sorted out for Shandos's new laptop. I was annoyed at myself since I could've gotten a GST refund for my phone as well if I'd thought about it earlier!
Since we'd paid a bit extra for flexible flights where we could move the date at no cost, we also had free access to the AirAsia premium lounge! So we headed in, grabbed some breakfast and enjoyed the extra fast wifi which is way better than the rest of the airport. Before long it was boarding time, so we headed over and jumped on the plane.
We'd booked seats in the "quiet zone" up the front of the plane, where children under 12 aren't allowed, and loud talking etc is discouraged. Because these seats are a little more expensive than the regular seats, it meant that the section was half empty. So we all spread out, naturally. We'd started with the bulkhead row for extra legroom, but Shandos moved to a window seat where she had all three seats to herself.
I listened to a couple of podcasts, and watched the first four episodes of The Grand Tour (the new version of Top Gear), and before we knew it it was time to land! Touched down just on time at 8:15pm. Being in about the third row of the plane meant we were first off the plane, through immigration very quickly (though with the SmartGate scanners it's super quick anyway these days). Had to wait maybe 10 minutes for our bag to turn up, but as we'd booked premium fares it was marked as a Priority bag, so again it was among the first bags to appear.
Little bit of time going through customs since we had some wooden gifts and a couple of packaged foods, but no problems there. Short wait in the carpark before Vicki and Harvey arrived to pick us up, then the long hour's drive back down to Thirroul as we caught up with them. Finally arrived, and had a very happy reunion with Schnitzel - he definitely remembered us! Lots of licking and tail wagging involved.
Stayed up a bit longer chatting and doing a bit of unpacking but that can wait for another day. All in all we've had a great trip - not much in the way of disaster or misfortune beyond stubbed toes and a lost iPhone. Some places didn't live up to expectation, but others massively exceeded so no real complaints. Look forward to catching up with everyone and having a proper rest, before we start planning and head off again in a month or two. Until next time!Read more