Friday, December 26, 2008

Freedman Down Under: happy landings

This is the first of my postings from Oz, where I will be enjoying the next 6 weeks in glorious sunshine, hoping that enough of the UK remains uncrunched for my plane to land safely when I get back.

In the "Spirit of Webber", I will try and avoid the "and then I did..." style of travel writing, and I will also assume that Freedmansmum will edit this before reading it to Freedmansgrandpa, so the odd swearword and naughty escapade (yeah, as if) can be included.

So Day One started with Freedmansdad driving me to the airport, via a near-collision with a police van, which had pulled to the side of the road ahead of us, then with no signal or warning, suddenly pulled back out right in front of us. Cue screeching of brakes and a moment where I thought I might get to play out my fantasy of a police motorcade escorting me to the airport in a blaze of sirens, lights and paparazzi flashbulbs (with possible Nicole Kidman rooftop dancing/draping cutaway scene). Sadly the quick reactions of Freedmansdad, and sturdy frame of the Silver Slug, saw to that.

Heathrow Terminal 4, Christmas Day. 100% efnik staff on duty, other than a few hard-ups taking the double-time. Mooch through to BA lounge, devour some cereal and red berries, a couple of hot brekkie rolls, and then the pièce de résistance, warm pain au chocolat and cinnamon rolls with a large glass of champers. Board flight, enjoy delight of not only turning left but going up the stairs, settle into front row seat, drink more champers before take-off. So nice to genuinely begin your holiday before even leaving the airport.

12 hour flight to Singapore, slip on my nice Qantas grey flannels,
devour a G&T before lunch, an excellent chardonnay with my smoked salmon starter, a sauv blanc with the halibut, a pink muscat with the cheeseboard, a little sherry on the side of the warm ginger cake with hot butterscotch sauce, and a decent cognac with the bitter chocolates to finish. Then have a little fatnap, before working my way through Tropic Thunder (human version of Team America), Hancock (abbreviated and more realistic version of Smallville), Etz Limon (depressing, slightly Meretz Israeli-Palestinian lemon grove by security fence saga), Wall-E (nicely done Disney shtick), and two episodes of Family Guy. Flight concludes with a superb breakfast of scrambled eggs, potato pancakes, tomato relish, toast and honey, warm Danish, passion fruit juice and some decent tea. Oh, and a glass of sparkling, of course.

At Changi I waddle off to the Rainforest Lounge, have a neck and shoulder massage, a gin sling and a freshen up. Reboard for 8 hours down to Sydney, have an excellent cream of tomato soup with piping hot sunflower seed roll, excellent glass of shiraz, Malaysian-style fish and noodle curry, date and apricot custard frangipan with a Cointreau on the side, 2 episodes of the Simpsons,
Man On Wire (documentary about crazy French guy walking on a rope between the Twin Towers, obviously pre-9/11, not so challenging now), and a 6 hour schluff curled up in a paralytic ball in the nice big bed.

Roll off the plane in Sydney, fast-track myself, my bags, and the all-important Cadburys delivery from my mother-in-law through customs, then duck into Emerald Lounge, have a hot shower and extensive eucalyptus-related pampering goodies, quaff some domestic sparkling with a few slabs of cheese, a very nice pasta pesto salad thing, and a glass of ginger beer. Seat 1A over to Melbourne, feta cheese and sundried tomato salad on a bed of those rice-shaped pasta bits (do they just get those by sweeping the pasta factory floor?), start to appreciate just how fit Aussie birds are, meet Wifey at airport, admire the white Toyota rip-off, also admire how chilled he has become on driving (always within speed limit) until he tells me how officious they are here and he has already had his first speeding ticket.

Get to Elwood, admire nice house in great location, make myself at home in the outhouse (ie garage), take a stroll with Wifey up the beach and back through Acland/St Kilda, drop off at about 2am to the sound of many strange birds that make the same noises as howler monkeys, and the buzzing from the neighbour's garage-based freezer. Wake up at 10am, buzzing has stopped, realise it was my electric toothbrush, come in for a shower, bowl of cereal, gutted to find no champagne awaits me, nor is there a blonde dolly-bird in a kimono to serve me... ah yes, good morning Nicci (Wifey's housemate), still no champers though.

And that brings us up to date. 29 degrees out today, off for an orientation tour of Melbourne. This rocks.


Anonymous said...

I can't beleive how much you talk about food

Anonymous said...

or how I still cant spell 'believe'