Before I get all the way round, they announce boarding so I scoot back downstairs. The priority lane moves very fast - no passports, just show your boarding pass, and two people scanning everything. So, very soon, I'm in seat 2A of this long-haul-plane-for-90-minutes service. Plainly I gamed it to pick a flight I knew would have a flat bed, you all saw that coming.
I'm convinced it's more spacious and just generally better than last time I did this (last year), but upon checking my photos from then it seems I'm wrong. But feeling better is good anyway so I choose to ignore evidence.
Inflight entertainment is gate to gate so I start the film I want to watch but know is longer than the flight: I Am Not Your Negro. I mean, jesus, not that I'll ever truly understand the realities of racism from either point of view (the racist or the victims) but I was fucking shocked at the film clip of the woman saying "God forgives adultery and murder, but He won't forgive integration". What. The. Living. Fuck? It's a powerful film and made me really sad.
The cabin smells fantastic. Pre-departure drinks are still water or sparkling water. The captain says we have ATC delays, plus windy conditions will mean it's a slow flight today. We taxi for ages before finally taking off.
This was a mistake. The city service is every 10 minutes, the St Kilda one is half hourly and I miss one by 30 seconds. Grr. When it finally arrives it's slow, but mostly empty and the driver announces he's going to switch things round: what's usually the 4th stop will be his 1st stop. That's good, because that's the stop nearest to my hotel. I knew this by following our progress on a map, and also because we drove right past it a mile ago. Gah.
I'm desperate for the loo again. This bus stop is on the very edge of St KIlda, near a bunch of restaurants and bars and opposite an Adult Shop. My hotel is just down one long straight road and I've got 3 bags - two on my shoulders and one I could roll, but I hate the noise of rolly bags on pavement so I carry it. A mile in 15 minutes. Fitness!
By the time I reach reception I'm a sweaty flustered mess, which startles the guy manning the office. But he gets over it quickly enough, takes a deposit off my card and hands me the door key to room 101. Fantastic, the closest room. It seems smaller than advertised and has no windows, but whatever: there's a double bed, a loo, a shower, a minibar and a TV. Ooh, a minibar!