Potty Page

July 4, 2007

Post from Aus...

Heh. Well I'm here in sunny Australia now. So, a quick(ish!) go through of what I've done since I sent the post from Dubia is in order I think!

Actually, maybe from Manchester... as I didn't say much about the trip...

The extra security in Manchester was fine - not really a problem... just meant going into the airport via arrivals.

Got through security OK... even with my blade in my pocket... bit of a whoops about that one!

The plane was delayed a little, but not to worry about them things - stuff like that happens... and I was quite sure that it wasn't going to be like the 24 hours from the last time I flew out of the UK...

Plane trip to Dubai was pretty uneventful... unfortunaly, having carefully picked seats that had nobody else sat next to us on the magic online checkin thing... they'd managed to sell the seat (or someone had decided to move from where they'd been automatically put to be next to us!). All they appeared to want to do was sleep - which wasn't so bad, but going for a widdle or a stretch meant disturbing them... and they didn't like the air from the airvents (which I liked) and asked us in broken English (I think she was Thai) to turn them off... she also had a habit of falling asleep on my brother. Hehe... at one point I think she grabbed his arm and then realised it wasn't her husband. Heh.

The onboard entertainment was entertaining. Could have watched films and reruns of such shows as Family Guy and the American version of "The Office" for the whole flight. Unfortunatly, as they only had about 3 episodes from each series this would have been pretty difficult without knowing the script inside out by the end of it... I'd have prefered a few more! You know... so by the time I'd have landed I could have seen the whole of Season 4 of Family Guy or what have you...

Having been a little worried that the "great circle" from Manchester to Dubai passes right over Iraq I was pleased to see the pilot skirt around it on the interactive "Where we are" map :-) Two hours later or what have you we were passing over the Gulf and about to land at Dubai... one of the things I'd wanted to see from the air was the reclaimed sand islands... well I wasn't dissapointed... even saw them building one with one of the big sand spraying ships - which was quite funky to watch.

On landing I followed our progress around the taxi ways on the front view camera of the plane... how long are the taxi ways at Dubai?! Much long... and getting longer it seems - they're extending the airport big time. We passed what seemed like a never ending line of Emirates planes... and then when I thought we were pulling into a stand at the end of the terminal building... we just carried on... and on... and on. Woo... it was going to be an airport bus jobby - which had the beneift I guess of being able to find out how warm it actually was in Dubai without being biased by the mass of aircon everywhere - the airport bus had 3 huge AC units on its roof, for example.

There were so many flights coming in that it meant that there was a never ending line of busses all moving along head to tail like a massive train to the terminal building. After getting off at the transfer section... we had to the go through airport security again... this was the downfall for the penknife... whoops! I'm only slightly annoyed that I no longer posses it - as I'd completely forgotten that I'd got it (hence why I still had it in my pocket)... until the security man got me to pull it out of my pocker after finding it with his wandering hands... doh.

Inside we found some WiFi to steal and I wrote you a blog post, I was trying to do it before the batteries ran out on may laptop so I woudln't have to worry about charging it and having to find the right connectors... I needn't have worried - the UAE appear to use the UK format of plugs!

Then we had to get on the plane in Dubai... which involved finding it... This required a pure stroke of luck - involving coming across the gate with our flight number on it whilst walking around aimlessly looking for someone to ask why our flight wasn't any where to be seen on the departures board (and yet was due to leave in only 30 mins time).

Continually checking to see if it had appeared on the board was made tricker as for about 75% of the time they were showing the details in Arabic they where using Arabic numbers (instead of 1, 2, 3 etc..)- so we couldn't even go by the flight number... just a load of squiggles!

So, we went into the gate holding area, like past the point of no return... and then I began to feel really really really rough - as I do when I've been up for a long time - I'd not slept since 9am BST and it was now 4am BST... yeah, I know I'm lame, it's not even 24 hours... blah blah blah... I made managed it fine after remembering a breathing technique I was told by a biology teacher from school when I felt rough on a school trip once...

Anwyays, I managed it onto the plane... and then needed a piss big time... so had to wait for the plane to get into the air and for the pilot to turn out the seat belt signs... this wasn't going to happened quickly as I've previously said... Dubai must have one of the longest taxi ways in the world...

We take off and a little later... "pong" I can take off my seatbelt. Kick ass. I'm the first to the bog... whoa.. I begin to feel rough again... and there's no bastard sick bags in the holder in the toliet place... I start the breathing patterns again... bang bang... bang bang... bang bang... I'm pulling up my trousers now ready to vacate and wham... the doors open... fucking hell... there's the people all over the place and there's me with my trousers around my ankles... the member of the aircrew hastly closes the doors again. Damn straight. I leave the bogs sheepishly... Hehe... there's a massive trail of women lining up the plane, ah well I hope they enjoyed the show!

Right, so this bad boy flight is schedualed to take the next 14 hours of my lifeaway from me... the captain them comes on the PA to say that he reckons it'll be quicker, 12 hours, 'cause of strong tail winds. Bonus.

So, yeah... time for some sleep before I really damage myself I think... I manage to get my feet into an interesting position and nod off. Only to be awoken seconds later "Hot towel?"... Yeah alright why not? might help my roughness...

I kinda also know that I'll be wanting the lunch they'll be no doubt providing shortly... oh well... looks like I'm gonna be disturbed a fair bit... (of course I could have put up the don't disturb sign that came in my toothbrush, socks and sleep shade things pack but it's good to be hydrated and such like.

So... the next 12 hours passed. I wouldn't say quickly, but after a while one doesn't notice time passing... you see the thing say we're about four hours away and you think... bloody hell, we're nearly there... which a crazy notion, that's like saying we're nearly there as soon as you take of from Manchester on your way to the Canaries!

Wooo... dead close now... 30 mins... "Ping - We'll be beginning our descent into Sydney soon, unfortuanly, the tail wind has made us arrive too quickly... and the airport isn't open yet, so we're gonna have to cicle around for a bit..."

Hmmm - arse. The tail wind was quite cool though 210mph... so we had a ground speed of like 750mph or something like that. (note to self: this will be a pain in the arse on the way home... 'cause we'll have a ground speed of something just over 300 mph!

We arrived headed off to passport control... Right... picture the scene - the passport dude in our line has just had a couple (that's two people) up there with him...


We step forward.

"Just the one please"

"We're travelling together"

"Are you brothers?"


"OK then... but you don't look like brothers."

Quick scan and stamp of the passports and "Woo-hoo" - we're in!

We get our bags and head off to the X-ray machines... yup, they X-ray your crap on the way into the country here too - they check it for things you're not allowed to bring into the country such as food and stuff like that.

On our way across the baggage hall we get stopped by a customs dude.

"Can I see your landing cards and passports?"


"How long are you in Sydney for?" - prolly said having noticed that I've put that we're staying in Cairns whilst in Aus (seeing as we're there for most of the holiday - I mean business trip) (which is 2000 miles or something north of Sydney!)

"A few days."

He flips through the passport and finds no visa...

"So... you're on an electronic visa?"

"An ETA, yeah"

"Can I see it?"

"Erm... yeah... well you can see the number..." Bearing in mind it's electronic, I doesn't really exist, that's the whole point...

We start to try and find the paper in my bag with the number on it and he looses interest. Phew. He walks away.

We put all our bags into the X-ray beast (minus my bottle of vintage Dubia tapwater - which is fine according to the lady...). Woo... we're through!

We walk out into the warm Sydney air. It shouldn't be this warm, it's winter I think!

Wham straight away we get pounced on my a Chinese dude... "you wan buy shuttle ticket? 12 dollar?"

"Erm... we'll have a think first. We're planning on using the train..."

"That's 13 dollar, Me cheaper."

"Heh, ok... well we'll come back to you..."

"I do for 10 dollar"

"That's the spirit" I thought to myself as we walked off the find the station...

"Do you want a shuttle straight to your hostel door?" from the next guy....

"How much?"

"Ten dollars, mate"

"OK, cheers, we're gonna walk over here for something and we'll come back."

"You've got to get your tickets from me..."

"We'll come back

We head off down into the staion... "How much to Central Station please?"

"13 Dollar" - the ticket lady was Chinese too... and this means the inital Chinese guy was telling the truth (or it was a really elaborate East Asian conspiracy...). We head back off up to find ticket man number two... Chinese man isn't getting our business, he tried to rip up off by 2 'dollar' over the going rate to start off...

We get a ticket and find the bus to go on... after a while of crazy driving and the driver radioing to ask where the hell our hostel is (not a good sign, is it? when the backpacker shuttle bus guy hasn't even heard of the hostel you're staying in!) we arrive... It's early... all locked up and we can't get in. Tits... a Chinese guy is just leaving and comes up to us... possibly wondering why we're trying to get into the bar at such an early hour... I explain we're booked in to the hostel and he lets us in.

We go to the office... he can't find our booking in the old fashioned booking legers - all five of them... he also clearly had no idea how the booking system worked... luckily I did (due to it being obvious to anyone with half a brain) and knew where to scan for my name... I pointed to it... and he passed us a key... "Can we have two, I asked?"

"It cost you more deposit.".

"Another $25 deposit, that's fine" (it's a deposit after all...)

"Can I pay for the room by card - we'll pay the deposit in cash?"

He's not sure... he needs to find the manager. Luckily, he appears at the top of the stairs around now :-) Perfect timing. Apparantly we can, but we need to come back at 10am when the bar opens. Cool.

We head off to our room. First thing we notice is... it smells. Second thing we notice... the floor is a little damp (ok, I'm being polite, it's piss wet through)... third thing... there's a big hole in the ceiling... (where the water had come from... not good!)... by now I'd given up counting the points that were wrong with the room, there were many. Moreover, we were told to get the bedlinen and shit out of our big sized backpack lockers... well I'd got a locker key on my set of keys and it neglected to open a locker containing said linen, instead the locker contained slugs, it was like playing a game of "Take your Pick" and I'd just lost.

John didn't have a key on his set.... grrrr... time to find the manager or the Chinese dude... we find the Chinese guy and point out we've not got a locker key and can't find the linen... he comes upstairs with his master key... first thing he does though is notice the smell and open the window... yeah, that's gonna help loads.

The linen is all in one locker (the one that's not below the hole in the roof, which it pours water when it rains...

It's still managed to get damp and stinks. We decide it's taking the piss... we sit around and decide to go and see the manager at 10 and ask him about changing the roooms - knowing of course that this is possible, as I've seen all the bookings - the place isn't exactly busy! Time passes slowly and I decide how best to get a new room without pissing of the dude, or acting cheekily or in a "Wahh, waaah.... I'm the customer I'm always right, sort it or I'm gonna stand here until you do being a pain in the ass." Kind of way. None of those ways rarly work without ruining the client-provider realationship. I decide to opt for an approach of... "The floor's wet, do you have a heater which we can use to dry out the carpet?" Wussy idea you think, but the idea of this is to show willing and that I'm not totally indignant (which clearly inside I am) about the state of the room... but also for him to go... I'll just get you another room, it's not worth the hassle or the electricity... then it makes his idea to give us a new room and we're all happy.

So, ten comes... we got to the bar... closed. Hmmm... we hang around... still closed... arse. Chinese dude appears and askes what we want... "to find the boss so that we can pay... ". We all head off on a boss hunt.

"How's the room?" he asks the Chinese man.

"Bell end!" I think to myself, you know the room quite literally stinks and is sodden... hell you opened to window to get rid of the smell!

"The floor's a little wet"

"Only by the window" comes the response. Because clearly, a sodden patch only by the window is totally acceptable.

"Nah, it's about half the room I'd say. You only notice it by the window because it's worse there, but if you stand anywhere it comes up from underneath"

"If people check out and a room is free I find you another room"

Ah we're getting somewhere, although I sense that Manuel (as I'm now going to refer to him as) doesn't really know what's going on... hell I almost checked myself in... I doubt he'll change the room... but we're still looking for the manager, I'll bring it up with him too...

We go and knock on the office door... the boss appears and we tell him we're ready to pay. "How's the room?". Manuel responds on our behalf "They say they floor's wet".... "Ah yeah, best put them in a new room then". Yup that's the spirit.

I decide the problem will be resolved and we have a promise of a new room, so I pay. This is quite straight forward until I get asked "Credit or cheque"... hmmm... "well it's a credit card I'm thinking to myself..." so credit it is. No idea if that was the right thing to say or not!

So now Manuel is off to find us a new room... he does this in an odd way... he first physically picks a room, opens the door, walks us in and says "Is this better?"

"Yup, fine we tell him" "Good," he responds. "Now I will see if this room is available for your whole stay"

Off he goes... we discuss how wouldn't it be better to find the available room first and then check we like that one... not to worry he comes back, it's fine.

You can sleep on there or on there and you on there or there... as he points to the beds in our 4 person dorm... well I'm quite capable of working out where to sleep. Then I suddenly think... hang on... "we are the only two people in here for the whole stay aren't we" Wondering why he's telling us which beds were allowed to sleep on. "Yeah, you only two" Good...

Some oddness now occurs with him opening two lockers - so we can get to two linen sets and the vanishing... he's not opened the lockers we have keys for! We're a little lost... oh well we open the lockers we have keys for and put the stuff on our beds... he comes to check up and is annoyed that we've opened our lockers insread of using the random ones (which happened to be in a mutually exclusive set to ours). If you must he says, and locks the other two lockers.

Finially we have a room. We lie fown for "an hour's" kip seeing as we've had balls sleep for the last 36 hours or something close... 5 hours later we wake up... and it's dark outside.

We decide to go on a mission to find the Harbour Bridge and the Opera house... after a trek into town we stumble across them - not really that hard to miss - although we do worry a little about being able to find our way back to the hostel! We wander around for a bit, have a Starbucks and a McD's and decide to call it a night as we were knackered!

After getting home we realise that I've set my watch wrong by an hour... kinda my fault for basing the time on the world clock on my mobile instead of doing the maths myself... (basically my mobile seemed to forget it was BST back in the UK so added on ten hours to the BST time... to get us GMT+11 intead of GMT+10... doh.... this also meant the having promised to see the manager at 10am to pay, we'd badgered him at 9am... whoops - also means we turned up at the hostel much earlier than we thought we had!

Anyways, we wake up at 4am the next day... and drift in and out of sleep until 7am when I decide sod it lets get up...

To be continued... this blog post has gone on for waaaaay too long!

Posted by Ed at July 4, 2007 1:38 AM | Trips |