Ok from where I left off so urgently….

So after the March and the quick Train trip back to the starting point, I joined the Unit for Lunch at the Menzies Hotel for the annual luncheon. It was a good lunch (although service was appallingly slow). With lunch completed I caught up with a friend for a few beers and ended up winning $10 on Two Up.

With the day winding to a close I passed out around 930pm after two nights of little sleep.

Sunday 26th April

Awoke early again and headed to breakfast. Unfortunately this time the Pancake machine was broken but I did manage to get a photo of this glorious machine. After checking out it was a day of spending time with the family before jumping on the train back to the airport about 3:15pm.

Arrived at the airport with no effort and after the short walk from the Station to T3, I used one of the quick check terminals to grab my boarding pass. As I was heading home in whY I had to join the rather large Bag Drop Queue and waited around 15 mins.

After dropping my bags and being told it was a ¾ full flight (this turned out to be false) I headed for security. Not wanting to repeat the incident regarding belt and watch I decided to dump everything I had into my carry on and let it go through that way. Walked through the metal detector… no beep… Thank god. Then it happened. A security guard says “Can I see the contents of your bag please; we suspect you have a knife in there.” If this was the US, I’d probably have like a million TSA guys all over me right now. I advised them I didn’t have any knives but I am more than willing to show them what it is. Opened my bags, pulled out my keys and gave it to them.
They had seen a metal key ring that is a Night Club membership and assumed it was a knife. Idiots! So during this process I also got swabbed for Explosives! More embarrassment!! After finally being able to leave the screening point I moved away and found some internet located conveniently near my gate!

Scheduled 1705>1835
Boeing 737-400 – Seat 22F
VH-TJR – “Cockatiel”

This time we boarded early actually as the boarding announcement was a surprise to me. This time no staggered boarding like in previous flights just a free for all… which doesn’t help. This plane also had the new Domestic Interior, apart from the Business class seats. These were the old ones but maybe that had something to do with this aircraft having convertible seats not proper J class. I had not been on a 400 in 3 or 4 years so forgot about the TV’s that hang low in the middle of the cabin and almost smacked into one.

Boarding was completed and it was a full flight, safety demonstration was played again but as there are no side monitors I couldn’t really see it as the overhead bins cut off half the screen. It was a full flight and I was seated next to two very different seat mates. Both quite annoying! Making fun of anything they could. Luckily the Earplanes I have to wear cut out a lot of their noise

Long Taxi through to 34R and then a very quick and spirited departure. As we climbed out we headed out over the ocean first, saw the Pacific Dawn as it departed Sydney Harbour and we crossed land at Stockton Beach near Newcastle. That was about all I could tell as the sun was setting on the Port side of the aircraft.

After a quick snack service of Chips, Salsa and drinks (I only got a Bundaberg Ginger Beer because I wasn’t hungry) It was a very slow decent into Brisbane. The Bogans kept me annoyed the whole way down and even managed to trap me in my seat for as long as possible… Bastards. We landed on 01 with a very big bounce and was wondering if the Captain and First Officer were experienced, as they sounded quite young. Being that I was right up the back of the Aircraft had to wait a very long time to get off the aircraft and make my way to baggage. Once I had managed to get off made a quick call to my friend Jeremy who I had conned into picking me up with the promise of a 6 pack. Quickly made my way down to Baggage and grab my bag, stepped out to the ring road and waited for Jeremy to make his way up from the Memorial stopping point. Quick side trip on the way home to the Bottleshop (picked up a 6 pack of Big Head the new No Carb beer, tasted pretty good) and was home shortly there after.

A painless weekend…. lots of sleep needed to catch up. Next holiday… USA!

Every year on anzac day i make my pilgramage to sydney to pay respects to my grandfather and those he served with. A few years ago i was invited to join the 2/2nd MG ascn and attend their annual anzac day lunch. This year with no annual leave available to me as all booked for my US trip in september it meant running the work flight gauntlet i so much hate and meant also an early start (im not a morning person). I managed to secure a J class upgrade on the trip south on a 73H which is one i havent been in the pointy end of.

Friday 24th April.

Managed to escape work at 1520 after a 7am start, was all ready feeling the pain of the early morning wake up as was now mega tired but it was only just beginning. Scammed an almost expired airtrain pass for free through work and made my way to the station for the 20 min rude to the airport.

Pulled up at the domestic airport realising why i stopped using the suit bag i was taking with me as it was really heavy walked down to the J class check in and used the quickcheck machine. Quick through the routine and it spat out my boarding pass.. On paper! Damn wanted one of the old card type. Move forward drop my bag and onto security. See a wet tray and think this is a convienient way to get my bp replaced so grab it and stick ,y bp right on top of the water…. Score! Dump the usual in the tray walk through,… Beep.. Dammit! Guard tells me to lose the belt and watch.. Damn get to embarass myself… Woo. Go through again no beep this time collect my mountain of stuff and redress myself and off to the lounge.

Get my first experience of the dragons when I get to the main entrance and ask where to get my bp reprinted. The dragon sees my lolely bronze card and says i shouldn’t be in here till the second dragon actually looks at my pass and points me in the right direction. Into the J lounge proper and i get my bp reprinted on real card stock! Then venture inside and see that the place is packed not many seats left so i find the first free seat and dump my stuff. While I enjoy the lounge and have a couple of beers, use the net and read my book a little. Glance up to see the board announcing my flight is delayed… O yay as I wait the lounge fills more and the hot food vultures arrive. Ponder to myself why i didn’t bring the laptop on this trip.

QF549 – BNE > SYD
Scheduled 1815>1950
Boeing 737-800
VH-VXS – “City of St Helens”

Finally get tired of the lounge and head to the gate about 10 mins before boarding,. Apparently. The gate is packed as the other flight just arrived. Looks like it will be a while. Boarding wasn’t really announced when they opened the doors everyone rushed the gate. Had a chuckle at the people in line behind me who were joking about who was closest to business. As I walked down was greeted by the lovely staff and showed to my seat. Although this was an older 73H with old colours it did have the new light grey interior. There was not as much room as i thought there would be but still plenty of space.

Settled in and the boarding stream never seemed to stop till Mr 1F decided to cram his oversize carry on into the overhead bins. It was funny yet annoying as he constantly held up the boarding process till he finally surrendered his bag to be gate checked. As more people streamed on board i got a few dirty looks by what i assume were WP members…. O well. With everyone seated it seemed there are three QF FA’s dead heading down to Sydney and i thought i would of been getting dirty looks. They did help out with the pre flight service taking peoples coats etc

We finally pushback at 1840, 25 mins late. We go through the usual safety drills but i notice the Safety Video is different to the last time i flew. A quick taxi to Runway 01 and as EK435 lands, we turn onto active and the captain doesn’t even look at slowing as he guns it. A good easy takeoff roll and a right turn headed for Sydney. Not to long after take off seat belt sign comes off and we are told of a few lumpy bits but nothing to bad.

Captain comes on tells us we should make good time but after his quick speech get a taste of what ch9 would be like as he accidently hits the pa to make an atc call. If only we had that here, id probably never turn it off. I somehow don’t think that QF uses the FEBO rules as i was served last on an odd flight. So i waited my turn and it was either chicken or a salad, i took the chicken but should of had the salad. One good thing i did enjoy was the can of James Squires Golden Ale served to me. Ive moved away from wine these days and drinking more beer. Knowing i can get golden ale on a flight is a god send.

Watched the news while eating and soon enough we are at TOD, heafing into YSSY. a long decent as we circuit towards 34R. As i finish my 2nd beer we are told to stow tray tables and raise our seats as we come in for finals. An easy touch down and then a long long taxi all the way to T3. We stop near the jetbase waiting for a 767 to clear our taxi path. as we head to the gate we pass EBH and OQC we pull into gate 2 and almost get knocked over as the airbridge is slid into place.
As we deplane i enjoy the benefits of being in the pointy end as I am quickly out of the plane and down the jetway, i make a quick pit stop and as i get to the baggage area our bags spit out and then quickly heading to the train! Hit the train about 4 mins before a train is due to arrive and within 15 mins I am at Wynard Station with a quick walk up to my hotel.

I managed to get 2 free nights out of work at the Amora Jamison Hotel and as I arrived here was no staff about, which is really unusual. But check in was a breeze and I set my wake up call for 3:45am and head up to the same room I had last year!

Saturday April 25th – Anzac Day

So after awaking to my phone ringing and the words “wake up call” kinda seemed to me that things were not quite right with the hotel. Seemed things had gone down in the last year… but maybe it was just the staff on shift that day. Got changed and met Mum and Dad (who were joining me in Sydney) for the Dawn service at Martin Place. Kinda regretted not bringing a decent jacket (didn’t have the room) as it was pretty damn cold but for once… no rain. Mum stayed a lot longer than i expected (10 mins) as Anzac day is never easy for her as it always reminds her of my Grandad. So with just me & Dad at the ceremony it went well. Same as last year pretty much but this time the Air Force had the band and the catafalque party where as last year it was the Navy.

I made my way back to my hotel and lounged around reading and watching TV for a while till around 7ish when I headed down for Breakfast. First time I have had breakfast at the Jamison as it was included in my freebie. Pretty standard hotel buffet although the automatic pancake machine was different. After that it was time to start getting ready. I was meeting mum & dad again at 9am for the march. I passed on the suit jacket as it was getting a touch warm and decided to go with the Polar Fleece Vest I had instead.

Walked round to the Menzies where Mum & Dad were staying and they gave me a hand with my Grandad’s medals. Its a bit difficult to do alone as they never end up straight, and they are a touch heavy. We walked up to O’Connell St and waited as this was the meeting point for the group. Slowly but surely people started arriving (kept an eye out for the association tie) and it all seemed to go well.

The March was held up for quite a while but while we waited just kept chatting to people as we went along. Once we finally got moving I tried to keep in line and in sync with everyone else but it seemed not everyone cared to much! The old guys had a Land Rover to go along in and they seemed to love it! We walked past Dick Smith and one of the other people was telling me he is in the same spot, every year, with the same sign. I didn’t manage to get a photo of him though, it turned out to Blurry!.

Anyway i best finish this off as my flight boards in 15 mins! back home I come!

o who am i kidding, of course i will!!! Friday night was the big Avis party. Always such a good night, although this year not as big as previous years but it was fun to get dressed up for no reason at all!! This year it was a Red Party and being that I am who I am and prefer to be a bit different, I went as a Red Neck. Thankfully Sarah decided to come along as a Redneck with me, we was Redneck Cousins!!

It was a good night, I am pretty sure i drank a little to much (ok a LOT to much) cause i was pretty sick but i sucked it up and went to work yesterday still. That was the hardest struggle was going to work the next day!!! o how much trouble i would be in if i didnt go to work… but i sucked it up!

here be the photos!!

Avis Party 2009