Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Quick Trip to Queensland: landing in Brisbane

By reading the destructions in the in-flight magazine Midga has worked out that wifi can be switched on independently of flight mode, and now has full access to the entertainment app. Without headphones the only thing to do is look at the map - as we fired up the app we were flying between Gunnedah and Tamworth, and the lights of the town were visible below. Only just - it's a bit foggy, and the wingtip light means we can't see a lot. On a plane this size it feels like we can reach out the window and touch the wingtip (and it even has a nice winglet which would provide a nice hand hold) but on a pressurised plane I don't think it would be a good idea.

Soon after we started our descent and tried to gather as much geographical knowledge about South East Queensland as possible. The landing itself was pretty smooth, but the amount of reverse thrust that was applied to bring us up was quite substantial. The E190 feels a lot more nimble than a 777 though, so it didn't feel out of place.

We disembarked (last - it's easiest to just stay put and let everyone else crowd the aisle as long as they want to), collected our baggage and headed for the Airtrain. Now last time Midga was in Brisbane he didn't know either me or Asha, but he did know about trains, and decided to ride from International to Domestic while Dad was de-hiring the hire car. This time we'd take a proper journey, all the way to the city.

We just missed a service, and the normal train frequency in Brisbane is half an hour. That's not so good. Still, nothing to do but wait. Well, and make snide Facebook posts about narrow gauge rails.

By the time we got onto the train it was dark, and the double glazing and scratchiti meant we couldn't see much out the window. For the record, it was IM8162, the I standing for Interurban - this service would run all the way to the Gold Coast. The seating was about the same as we'd find on any spark at home, but with Real Padding that would stay comfortable for the whole trip. It was very quiet inside, even when we were cruising at 100km/h.

Coming off the airport branch onto the main system we merged with two other lines, onto a single track section which went for quite some distance! No wonder the frequency isn't going past half-hourly, they must have awful timetables during peak time.

We got to Central station, disembarked and pulled out Google Maps. We needn't have bothered though, the signs to our hotel were right there along with the rest of the station signs! The hotel is literally part of the station complex. Let's bear that in mind when we talk about refurbing Flinders Street!

The humans were quite tired and I was running low on battery, so we didn't do much more that night. The hotel room had a desk, which was a logical place to put charging electronics, but since we use Bible Gateway instead of carrying a dead-tree Bible, evening devotions had to be done there instead of in bed! So if anyone asks you what it's like to see a grown man standing in a hotel room in his pyjamas reading Hebrew names off a smart phone (we're up to 1 Chronicles), you may refer them to Asha for her opinion.

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