It's a long, long thirteen hours home from Dubai but adding at least an hour and a half at the airport made it very difficult for passengers and crew alike. Perhaps it was nervous excitement which got us through the reverse leg on the way to France or perhaps it was fear but on the way home, our chief companion was boredom. We both watched movies, listened to music, sent emails, ate our meals, tracked the progress of the flight ... Sue got so bored, she not only read the inflight magazines but she also knew where all the safety exits were and practised the brace position from detailed information on the safety card.
We did manage some sleep but not as much as the bloke in the window seat beside us. Much shorter than us, he seemed to be able to get his feet up behind his head in the "sleeping upward dog" position and curled up for the hours between feeding times.
About eight hours into the flight, the announcement was made that anyone who has watched movies about doomed aircraft flights dreads. "If anyone on board the aircraft has medical training, would they please notify a crew member." Luka Kovac and Jim Kildare rushed forward, but were rejected as escapees from the inflight entertainment and were usurped by a veterinarian nurse from Collaroy. Visions of a "Flying High" crisis loomed and I was glad I had followed Sue's advice and not chosen the chicken. It's always those who have chicken who get sick.
We were in need of Leslie Neilsen and it wasn't long before I wondered who would be delivering all the corny lines.
At then end of the flight, the sight of a steward with a bandaged paw and a wet nose exposed the mystery and also explained why service had declined in the last third of the flight. As a result, we were both peeing orange from dehydration in the stalls as Mascot.
Our traveling companion had been away from family for three weeks and our delays in Dubai looked certain to rob him of matching with his connecting flight home. When we enquired where home was, he asked "do you know of Tamworth at all?" It might be a small world but its full of big coincidences.
If it had been good crossing the Australian coast near Kangaroo Island and seeing the lights of Adelaide in the nose camera of the plane, walking out into Sydney sunshine as we went in search of a taxi was just bliss. Dorothy was right.
We retreated to family at Maroubra and a secreted key allowed us into the house seven hours before they came home and most of those we spent sleeping. After the best pie, peas and mashed potato I have tasted was rinsed down by my favourite wine, we crashed for more sleep and the start of the process of bringing our bodies back into the rhythm of home. Minds might take a tad longer.
Two nights in Sydney and then we fly the last leg home to Tamworth.