Ian's waiting for me on the steps. Hurrah! So, time to get a drink. First up, a 4 Pines nitro stout in Beer Deluxe, a bar which calls last orders literally seconds after we order our drinks. Oh, OK then. Apparently Tuesday night in the middle of winter isn't a big late night drinking thing.
Next, a bar called Transport Public (or Public Transport?) round the corner, and a White Rabbit Dark Ale. They call last orders literally seconds after we order our drinks. Oh, OK then. We move on again, crossing the river and walking for a bit only to cross back over and drink at the Arbory, an outdoor bar between a train station platform and the riverfront. Mountain Goat steam ale, and they call last orders literally seconds after we order our drinks.
Hmm, turns out my photos are way blurrier than I thought. Perhaps my eyesight wasn't working as well as I'd hoped when taking these.
I think we're probably done here. I mean, to be fair, it is by now midnight and I've got 4 alarms set for various times between 6.15 and 6.45. Normally I wouldn't bother, but I have a feeling there's a tiny bit of exhaustion which could conceivably cause me to sleep a little more than 6 hours tonight.
Ian says paying to get home is pointless, because central Melbourne has trams which are free. All I need to do is walk a block away from the river, get a tram a few stops to Southern Cross station and then walk a block to my hotel. And so it proves, though I'm drunk and tired and feeling a bit lost so it's not the fastest journey.
Eventually I'm back at the hotel at, what, 0040 or something. I get online for a bit but, really, I'm so exhausted and really don't want to miss my ride in the morning.
I wake up before all my alarms, with no right to feel as good as I do. I'm tired, but that's it. There's no hangover or other ill effects from the birthday excesses. Hurrah! So now, time to get up, shower - if there's hot water! - check out and wonder how my cab is going to work.
I always like staring at planes. Honestly I'd started the day thinking, jesus, some respite from this might be nice. It's my fourth day in a row of flying and even for me it was feeling a bit much, but sat here in a lounge snarfing free scran and looking at planes? I'm thinking, damn it, why isn't Sydney further away? Maybe I should've come via Perth.
Anyway. More food, sugary this time. Some Coke Zero. Admiration of vintage/retro Qantas livery on a plane which never comes close enough for me to photograph. Some dicking around with cropping and filtering.
It's too early for booze, but only because the booze is from a staffed bar which has a sign saying "bar opens at midday" on it. Probably for the best. Come 9am, my 10am flight is showing that boarding will commence at 10.05am. Smells kinda like a delay, which is confirmed simultaneously via two apps and once announcement on the tannoy.
Another announcement talks about the "flying tank to Cairns". I'm constantly perturbed by how it's pronounced the same as "Cannes". Eventually the monitor says go to gate, and despite them making boarding announcements I decide to go to the gate. Lots of people are milling around, but within a minute boarding is announced and there is well honoured fast track again.
I'm in seat 7A on a Qantas A330. Now, what I know about the Qantas A330 in domestic service is that they all either have, or are getting, the latest generation of business class. I'm pretty gobsmacked: this is a seat which turns into a bed, everyone with direct aisle access, USB charging, plenty of storage, etc etc - like, proper international quality business class - for a 1hr 25m shuttle service. Well played, Qantas! This is shitloads better than the 737 I spent 5 hours in to Perth last year.
Is this Cronulla?
Despite a very short flight time, inflight service takes a while to start, maybe half an hour or so. I wonder if on these super-frequent Melbourne-Sydney hops there's maybe just a soft drink run but no, there's a personal greeting and choice of 3 main courses plus a rhubarb yoghurt and choice from a bread basket. Blimey.
We've never met before, but get on like a houe on fire. Though I do wish she would get out of my way just a little bit, as I'm trying to find the key.
Then she twigs - if she does get out of my way, and I do get the key, then maybe she'll be indoors in the middle of the day?
Yes! Yes! Yes!