Across the world in Cattle Class

Well, we made it to London. Eyes gritty, clothes crumpled, under-arms a bit smelly, and various aches and pains from being curled up in a confined space for twenty odd hours. You would think we would learn. Each time we do this we agree that a Business Class ticket would be a big improvement, but then we look at the price and tell ourselves to get over it. Australians and New Zealanders (and those who visit us) are really the only ones who need to put up with such long plane journeys (20 hours plus). It seems it is our lot, having not had the foresight to avoid settling a country as far as it is possible to go from Europe.

Of the actual journey there is little worthwhile to tell, if you discount boredom and discomfort. Like my father used to say – it’s a bit like hitting yourself on the head with a hammer. It feels good when you stop! While I think of it, a visit to the Premium Super Lounge in Kuala Lumpur airport Transit is well worth what they charge for a shower!

The immigration and border control process now. That is worth comment. In a way few others can dream of, a passport officer has total control of your destiny in that few moments you stand respectfully before her booth. She gazes at your photograph, looks up at your face – is it disappointment you see in her eyes? Asks your plans. We are here on holiday. What are you planning to do? I fight the temptation to reply ‘have a holiday’. That would surely be unwise. Instead I stumble over a few non commital phrases and respond to her casual inquisition, trying not to sound like a deep cover terrorist but alarming myself with the inconsistencies I spot in my own story. The interrogation ends. She smiles briefly and tosses the passports back to us. Enjoy yourself, she says. We change immediately from suspects with an unproven identity, to being real people again. Oh sweet metamorphosis! With surer steps we go to the baggage carousel, retrieve our stuff and head down the green lane at customs.

The journey is always best quickly forgotten. The adventure begins. Now to find our way to the Heathrow Novotel – a Murphy’s stout for me and a cider for Sue.


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