Friday, 26 October 2012

Series of Fortunate Events part 1

I did promise (to myself at least) to write about what happened while I was in the 'land down under' for two weeks in August but... alas! After that short but sweet stay, real life has taken over and I never got to do it. And probably because I'm procrastinating it slash making excuses of postponing and then telling myself 'yes, I'll write... yes, I'll write... soon'. Well, you get the picture. Soooo.... Here I am. Trying to turn back time (doing my best to remember every bit of detail to say the least) and go back two months ago where it all began.

Play flash back tune please.

Saturday, 4th August 2012
I went to work the previous day but I wasn't feeling well and ended up having a very high fever that night to which I couldn't even manage to get up and eat. Saturday morning, everyone was texting me, 'Kat have a safe trip' or 'Take care Kat! Enjoy your flight' but I couldn't manage to reply though it was really heart-warming to read. Hubby was telling me not to go and call the office that I'm not fit to leave the country on my own. I don't want to disappoint my boss and have the flight postponed just because I'm sick. I kept praying for healing in Jesus' name and have asked people to include me in their prayers as well because I feel really, really ill. I've never been this bad with fever and all. I had to double dose my paracetamol. I was clammy and felt dizzy. But anyways, I still went to the airport accompanied by my parents and loving husband. I have not traveled alone internationally (I have always traveled with someone else) nor when I'm unwell. So this has to be a first for me. I held on to God's promise, 'by His wounds I am healed'. I have 15kg luggage and 7kg hand luggage allowance and 50 (or was it 70?) Australian dollars pocket money plus the thousand something pesos for the travel tax and terminal fee. It did my heading just packing my stuff and making sure it is under 15 kilos. My husband was like, "Fifteen?! You need more than that! What with all your lotions and potions and all!"

So anyway, we got to NAIA about 7-ish and my dad dropped us off at the departure lounge while he waited at the parking area. Vic, Mom and myself went to the pricey cafeteria beside the entrance. She bought me wanton noodles which costs a whooping 100 pesos per bowl and a cup of coffee for Vic (50 pesos?). After eating, because it was raining hard that night and because my flight was 10:55 pm, they had to just let me check in my luggage to make sure I don't have any excess baggage (fingers and toes crossed) and had to go home soon. So that went well. Me, still ill waited in a queue of tons of people going to Darwin via Jetstar Airways. It's kinda like Cebu Pacific but this one sucks more. I'll tell you why in a few. So after checking in, the lady at the counter told me that I needed to pay my travel tax first before she gives me the boarding pass. I told myself, 'wow, that's new.' I did what I was told and came back to the checking area to receive my boarding pass. I had to request for an aisle seat both MNL-DWN and DWN-BNE as I frequent the toilet a lot during flights! I still had a few pesos with me so I sat myself in the departure area and had some porridge before we boarded the plane (at least an hour before we were allowed to go on the plane). We were delayed leaving Manila for like 15-20 minutes because there were some issues with dissipating the weight of the luggage or the aircraft or something.

On the flight, I wasn't really that comfortable considering I am feverish and the seats were not the most lounge-y types to sit on. But still I was hoping and looking forward to buying myself something to eat as I was told I can buy some snacks on board with the pocket money I have been given. So I waited for the food trolleys to be pushed past my seat and even looked at their menu on the magazine to see what's available. But I didn't get to buy anything because the cabin crew told the passengers they only accept debit or credit card as they went past one old man who probably was hungry. Bummer! I muttered to myself. I guess I'll just have to buy something when we get to Darwin airport. Closed my eyes and tried my best to get some sleep all through the night (flight) at least I know I did until an hour or so after while I was trying to keep myself warm with my jacket, two babies (or toddlers) were screaming on board - one on my right and the other further down the back end of the plane. I'm like, 'Wow! Night flight with babies. Really nice!' So I was half-asleep, half-awake all night until Sunday morning when we landed in Darwin. My throat was really sore because I never got to drink anything nor eat anything for 4 hours, fever has come back and I felt light-headed.

I was not sure what time it is because apparently Darwin has a different time zone from Brisbane. When we got off the plane and into the checking counter to present our passports, I had to grab my luggage again and have myself fill in a form regarding the items I am bringing in to Australia. Surprisingly enough they would just ask you what stuff you are carrying, that sort of thing.  I got through quickly enough I think as I don't have anything with me to hold me off like grains, seeds, ethnic items etc. The officer, upon seeing my passport, asked, "How are ya?" I replied, "Good, thanks." And afterwards said with a smile, "Mabuti" (which meant 'good' or 'fine'). That woke me up! The guy knows a little or a few Tagalog words! Coolness. So I headed back towards the luggage checking counter to get my trolley checked-in. To my horror, they were calling out the passengers to check-in their luggage because they will close in 25 mins! And that was the flight I'm going on! So I had a little panic attack inside me. But fortunately managed to duck in one of the lines as there was already a long line for checking in for different flights. Finally after the grueling 30 minutes of being caught up in long queues for foreigners coming in and checking-in drama, I got to the waiting area and tried to search for a seat. None were available, all were taken by the Aussies or their hand luggage are already sat on them. I scanned the shops to check the prices and get myself something to eat but the booming voice of the lady calling for all passengers to be at the gate to depart our flight going to Brisbane stopped me on my tracks. I thought, I'll just get something on board going to Brisbane. They would probably let me buy something considering it is a domestic flight. So again I just waited until I got on the flight, thinking I may be able to have a decent meal since yesterday's encounter.

I sat beside another Filipino guy who was in the middle seat. I remarked (although not intentionally), "I hope nobody sits on the window seat so we have more room." And he just smiled idly back at me. He never said nothing to me at all. Until a handsome Aussie came and we had to let him go pass to sit beside the pinoy. THEN he started chatting up the Aussie the very moment the good looking one sat down! I'm shocked as I hear him introduce himself to the guy and even shook his hand! So I felt like saying, "You cheeky git!" They went chatting all through the flight except when the Aussie had to get some shut eye and took out his eye mask thingy. And when they were bringing the food carts around, I had to ask if I can buy (again) with cash. The cabin crew apologized and replied 'No, I'm sorry'. So I told myself, 'I definitely need to eat as soon as I step out of that airport! Cause I'm hungry!' I can't believe Jetstar wouldn't allow to pay cash on the plane. I mean come on! It's supposed to be a low cost air carrier for crying out loud! And they even had the guts to turn around and 'rent' iPads??? I mean what's that about? People would rather sleep comfortably with a blanket or a pillow or have a nice decent meal than play with iPads. Sheesh! This is why they suck more than Cebu Pacific. At least this low cost airline from the Phils allows people to pay in cash! Because they want to earn a few bucks on their trips, that's why. I hope Jetstar would realize this soon. Otherwise people would rather go on flights with meals included in their tickets than with them. That includes me. As the plane was disembarking on Brisbane, I had to really over hear the fellow pinoy exchange numbers with the Aussie! I was just dying to get off and move away from that scene.

Upon arrival, I got my checked-in luggage and then looked around for a toilet. While waiting to use the loo, (I've just had it with queues for two days) I tried texting our general manager (boss Greg) who is picking me up at 11 am. When I turned my mobile on, it wouldn't get a signal at all. Couldn't get better than that I suppose. I thought it just needed time but apparently it wouldn't turn the roaming on. Found a coffee shop just opposite the baggage carousel and ordered myself a nice hot cup of chocolate. The moment it went down my throat it felt really soothing (and filling to my stomach) considering I'm deaf from the anticipated flu on the way and my sinuses were all blocked up. The weather was nice. It was warm but there was a cool breeze that went past me when I started going through all the exits. Greg said he'll be at the exit doors waiting with my name on a sign to make sure we'll be able to find each other. After 20 minutes or something, I still can't find him. I was already tired of walking around with a heavy backpack and trolley so I tried texting him again and see if my roaming now works. Message failed, twice, thrice. I gave up. I had my back turned from the baggage carousel and was facing the automated doors. I wanted to sit down for a while and just wait if ever I'll see Greg pass by. I turned around and was already muttering to myself, "where is he?" in a weary tone. Until at last, I saw him! He was wearing a dark jumper (I think) or was it polo shirt and shorts and by golly he is very tall! He held up a sign (in a shy manner) with my name on it! It made me smile. I hurriedly walked towards him and (again) to my surprise he shook my hand and hugged me. He asked how I was. I said I'm good but I'm deaf! I think he understood that I have a flu. He apologized as he was directed to the wrong exit/arrival area and then asked if I wanted to ring my loved ones back home. I said I can do that when I get to the apartment or at least chat with them to say I've arrived fine. And he asked me if I wanted to get something to eat so we sat down and I bought myself a sandwich from the shop nearby. I really don't fancy anything on their menu (probably because I was really dead tired from the flight) but I tried to eat something while talking to him. I still haven't finished the hot chocolate drink I bought earlier. It kinda feels awkward really, because I have to be picked up by my boss. You all understand how it feels, don't you? He was shocked when I said they never let us buy food with cash on the plane. He was being apologetic as he never knew anything about it. All along we all thought I can buy food on board as meals weren't automatically included in the price of the plane ticket. I said that's fine. I ate half the chicken sandwich and I just told him I'll finish it when I get to the unit (apartment). While I was sat down with Greg and was telling him my experience coming there, I saw the cheeky pinoy pass us by the deli stand. He was all alone. I assume he doesn't know where he's going as he keeps looking around like a lost creature. Our gaze met but I looked on the opposite direction.

We made our way to the parking lot and Greg helped me by pulling my trolley. He is a real gentleman. :) The trip from the airport to the apartment was about an hour or so but I didn't notice it as Greg was really talkative and I tried my very best to carry a conversation while on deaf mode and sore throat. He asked about the people at work - Beth, Hanz and Cecille. We talked about lots of stuff I cannot even remember them all. I told him that Australia is just like the UK (when I first arrived at Darwin) except they have a different accent. I asked Greg if we can drop by a chemist shop as I needed something for my throat and my flu. So I got some meds and we also went to a garage where we bought something to eat from Nando's. I was like, 'Nando's! UK has Nando's!' Kinda like Max's Restaurant in the Phils that's got chicken as specialty. Greg ate his meal there, I ordered for a take away, I didn't know he wanted to eat there LOL. So I just waited and we talked about how Hanz calls everyone 'sir' and 'ma'am'. He chuckled at that. And he told me Hanz has not called him 'sir' yet. I said it's probably because Anthony asked him to stop calling him 'sir'.

When we finally got to the apartment, we got the keys to the unit and he said good evening to me, he reminded me to ring him if I need anything which was really, really nice of him. I thanked him loads of times. So after he left, I tried sorting my stuff out - clothes, shoes, meds, the tiny netbook I borrowed from Mom. Then again I realized I don't have a plug socket/adaptor. I rung Greg, he said there may be some on the shops around the apartment. So I went down and tried to look for one. I also bought myself some Betadine gargle as I noticed my throat was really that bad. Not got the appetite to eat though when I came back and tried loads of times to find a free wifi hotspot, no luck! Around 6-ish, I got a call from Jodie who was really nice and helpful. Her husband Russell tried to figure out how to enable my roaming service from Globe. Apparently I should be able to connect to Optus which is the provider for Globe in Australia. I didn't get to sort that out because I didn't have internet connection. Jodie volunteered as well to email Vic and Mom and also Beth to tell them I'm not on roaming nor do I have internet access. And Jodie said I can ring her if I need someone to speak to. She's an angel, she is. :) After we've said our good night's, I turned the telly on although I don't really know what's on and had the chicken from Nando's for dinner which I re-heated in the microwave. Had to eat to be able to take my medications. I tucked myself to bed but couldn't sleep at all even though I am sooo tired. This is what Filipinos call 'namamahay'. Something like you're not used to sleeping in another bed or staying in another house other than your own. And of course I don't have my dear darling husband with me to kiss me good night which is sad and actually made me a little teary-eyed. I set my alarm for 6:30 or something so I have time to eat before I go and have a shower. I didn't know how to use the alarm next to my bed yet so I didn't use it. Slept really late I think as I still watched Master Chef Australia All Stars then I forced myself to sleep.

End of Pre-departure and Arrival to Oz.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for dropping by!