Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Buxton Bound: last leg, Dubai-Manchester (23/7/13)

While waiting for the boarding call at Dubai we struck up conversation with two sisters also waiting for the flight. They must have spotted us for true patriotic English gentlemen because they asked us to help carry their bags. Eight of them. All good, all loaded and all beautiful. Beautifully heavy I mean.

They were seated several rows back from us so we didn't get a chance to chat to them in flight, which was probably a good thing because Chris was only semi-conscious for a good deal of it.

Not much happened during the flight, except that I was struck with an ice cube. I suspect a few of the cabin crew were in training, because there were 17 of them instead of 12 and some seemed to be working in pairs. One of those pairs was serving drinks and they both grabbed at the ice cubes at the same time, with the result that one flew out of the trolley and settled in the region of my back pocket. And that will get a bigger laugh than any of the other funny things I've related about the trip so far - that's the nature of the business.

Apart from being fed, I spent the time playing OpenTTD with Clippy. Brain activity had dropped below the point where critiquing the Melbourne Airport Rail Line study could have any benefit.

On arrival at Manchester Chris swam upstream to help the girls with their bags, which was good because they'd never have managed alone. So I grabbed our bags - my backpack on the back, Chris's on the front, Clippy on the side, that's how normal people travel isn't it? I had to do some more dancing movements to get through the aisle without hitting anything - it was kind of like a waltz where you take two steps and then swing around for the third. Or it might have been just changing from backwards to forwards to sideways at a moment's notice. I'll have to find a dance instructor and patent the moves - any suggestions for a name? I'm thinking something on the lines of par der arriere pour klismas.

So we got out to the airport terminal, into the air conditioning, and looked for a trolley. NONE to be found! So we ended up carrying some of the girls' bags right up to the spot where we split up because they were on UK passports and we're foreigners. On a side note, I found a long livid mark upon my nearly shaven right shoulder, a sort of dark reddish colour. Like a bruise but nobody's been thwacking me there. Peculiar!

So we made our way out, and got through immigration by answering some perfectly friendly questions about where the G&S Festival is held and whether it would feature three little maids from school. That's the way they grill suspects these days, by trying to sound like fellow GaSbags. Anyway they must have been satisfied.

Then we went to customs, and the "Anything to declare" desk was unattended. I used the red phone as instructed and asked if rehearsal lollies needed clearance and was just told to "come through". Nobody was there to ask me more so I presume Australian sugar is considered safe to eat over here. Thanks for the vote of confidence, mother country.

That took me so long that Chris went on ahead and met the girls at the exit. They had to run but he got email addresses and is going to try getting them along to a show or two!

So we found each other back and made our way to the bus terminal, and it was just ten minutes before the next Buxton bus, yay! Because more than fatigue or saddle soreness or even jetlag I'm acutely conscious of the fact that I've had my shoes on for 30-something hours.

So we got on the bus, paid our fare with all our leftover coins from two years ago (the driver was very nice about it) and sat back to enjoy the summer weather. I should have mentioned that the aerobridge off the plane was sweltering and the walk from the terminal to the bus stop was humid. But as I write on the bus heading through the various towns on the way to Buxton, the windows are all open, there's a cool evening breeze coming through, the seat is comfy, the sound of a bus at speed is exhilarating, and the scenery is beautiful. Ah, England.

Soon we'll be home and settled in, essentials dealt with and unpacking started. It's all happening!

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