Oh, yeah, it's the sea. St Kilda is over there on the left, Melbourne on the right. It's pretty. But I'm in a hurry, so time to buy a Diet Coke then get back to my room.
I don't fancy the bus, nor a tram bus combo. 3 bags. Ah screw it, I'll just get an uber. It's easy to hail, though the driver doesn't even think of opening the boot for my suitcase so I bundle myself into the back seats. He asks if I have a preferred route to the airport or should he just use GPS? Now is not the time for me to make something up, so GPS it is.
It's a pretty quick and silent ride under bleak grey skies. I get to the airport at ~1045, two and a quarter hours before the flight. Things are going well so far, but, uh-oh - those queues for the Garuda check-in are enormous.
The business class queues aren't quite so long, but far from empty and everyone in front of me seems to be carting all their worldly possessions on this trip. I'm in the queue for over half a bloody hour, trapped mostly behind a family grouping of 8 or so people, with thousands of bags, several of which are overweight. The elderly man who seems to be the patriarch at one point grabs the plastic laminated "these are the rules" sheet and waves them angrily while shouting at the woman behind the desk.
Phone calls are made and supervisors are called and "what are we supposed to do, throw stuff away?" is shouted when they're told at least one of their giant bags is 5kg over the limit. After so so so so much grief I eventually get to the front: my single 9kg bag is checked in all the way through to London, much to my surprise, and I'm issued two boarding passes.
It's about 1120 by the time I'm done. There are still tons of people with shitloads of bags in all the queues, and check-in closes at midday. Surely this flight is going to be delayed? It looks impossible to me. And another thing, it seems to me that business class is going to be full of bloody children. Grargh!
My mood isn't helped by the fact I've not had any calories yet. Much like Moscow 2014, I've done the parkrun-and-no-food-until-the-lounge routine which has had a significant effect on my blood sugar levels and therefore mood. Actually that's overdoing it a bit, I found the delays at the desk pretty funny but I am bloody ravenous. So, let's find the Qantas lounge and grab summat to eat.
Departures security is mostly empty, and I'm singled out for a random "have you been near explosives" swab. There's a hell of a walk through corridors of building works and duty free shops before the lounge, at the desk of which is a fierce woman. Inside I dump my bag and OH FOR FUCKS SAKE THERE'S NO FUCKING FOOD.
Sigh. They are between shifts: breakfast has been cleared away, lunch is yet to come out. Well at least I can get a drink right? No. I could, if the area by the booze wasn't being mopped and the staff refusing to let anyone near the fridges at that time. This is hilariously aggravating. Time to stretch my legs, take a couple of pics, and calm down.
A few minutes later and the lunch buffet is out, plus the fridges are now reachable. Good. I'll have a beer and a plate full of mostly tasteless savoury nonsense please.
The sweet stuff is better. I get a big slab of chocolate cake and now my mood is improved. No announcements have been made about the flight and I'm still convinced it'll leave late. Lots of other flights are being delayed so maybe weather will get in the way too. More importantly I realise I wasn't handed a receipt for my bag so I have no way to even prove I checked it in, which adds to my nervousness about it successfully reaching London when I do.
At 1220 they announce "first and final" call for my flight. The gate is nearby, though I make a pigs ear of finding it by going down the wrong escalator first. At the gate there are way too many kiddie strollers for my liking. Please let me be sitting next to an adult...
When I get onboard, the cabin is empty. Surely it's not going to stay that way? Last I checked it was meant to be full. A pre-flight champagne arrives and I'm enjoying my seat, a window on the right in the third row. It seems better than the one on the overnight the previous week, perhaps because that was a bulkhead? I dunno. Anyway I'm comfortable and it's nice. Eventually someone pitches up in the seat next to me, but they're a short-sighted adult rather than an obnoxious child so it's OK. Let's leave Australia. This is the skip of my hop, skip, jump back to England.
As with the first two Garuda flights, they come round and take orders for food very quickly indeed. The menu looks appetising, liquids and solids.
For main course, the barramundi. This is ridiculous: it's possibly the best food I've ever had on a plane, above that first class stuff from last week and elsewhere. I'm almost giggling with each mouthful because it's so delicious.