Abu Dhabi to Brisbane International
Arrived: 4am UK Time, 7am Local Time (ABU DHABI)
Boarded: 6:30am UK Time, 9:30am Local Time (ABU DHABI)
Departed: 7:30am UK Time, 10:30am Local Time (ABU DHABI)
Arrived: 23:10 Local Time (SINGAPORE)
Departed: 23:50 Local Time (SINGAPORE)
Landing in Abu Dhabi was like landing on another planet. The airport is in a desert in the middle of nowhere and when we came to landing, all the houses seemed almost like burrows in the sand. And it looked hot. Ridiculously hot. The heat waves danced off the ground and the buildings in the distance were completely distorted. The plane had been quite cool so I had had my fleece on to keep me warm however I took it off as soon as I could or I think I might have cooked. Compared to Serbia Airport which had been almost deserted with it being nighttime, this airport was full of hustle and bustle and once we’d been directed on to the bus to the lounge and found our way to the right gate, we were met with a wall of people all shoving their way through and trying to avoid one of the many people handing out food court vouchers. It was amazing.
We had a quick look around the food place and at the shops as Codie was looking to buy some new Ray Bans but it was all just a bit too hot and the bags were too heavy to lug around. It all looked so tasty though! We wandered through the airport trying to find where exactly we needed to be and finally found one of those moving platform things. Not a single airport we’ve been in so far had one so I enjoyed pretending to walk very fast past everyone. Hehehe. All along the walls there were signs up about conserving water which shows you how hot it was! Eventually we found somewhere to sit and flopped down to wait the 3 and a half hours until the next flight, in a relatively cool area. Whilst we were waiting, a woman on the table next to us was struggling to access the internet and asked for our help. Once that was sorted, she told us she was from Sydney and was travelling to London to meet up with an old friend she’d been to school with. A lot of people say that we’re travelling a weird way, Brisbane up to Cairns back down to Adelaide and all along the coast to Brisbane, but she said it was the best way as we’d be avoiding all the extreme weather. By doing the Great Ocean Road from Adelaide to Melbourne rather than the other way around, we’d apparently also avoid many tourist buses and that can only be a good thing!
Whilst we were waiting to catch the next long flight, I caught up with everyone on Facebook and let everyone know where we were. The time difference was already confusing though and I couldn’t work out what time it was there in the UK at all; I can see it’s going to be quite difficult sometimes. A little while before we were due to board, we decided to go for a wander and have another look in the Ray Ban shop but on the way double checked to see we were at the right gate. It’s a good job we did or we’d have missed our flight! The guy who sent us to that gate had clearly got it wrong and we had to rush to get to the right one in time. In a way, I’m glad we got to change as this side of the airport was even better and so much busier.* Investing in a bottle of water for the plane journey, paying on card again grrrr, we headed over to the gate and joined the huge queue which had formed. From this queue alone I knew that it was going to be a big plane as the Airbuses we had been on last time we have accommodated about half of the line only! I hoped that we would be sat together or at least sat next to a kind person who would let us as our tickets made out that we were sat separately and that wouldn’t have been fun at all. The security here was just as hectic as at Heathrow Airport except from the fact that there was a white robed man commanding everyone and making sneaky jokes before snapping at someone for taking too long. It was terrifying going through the scanners here as obviously the rules are so much stricter and the guards looked it too but of course we were fine and headed off to board.
The plane was blue. Perhaps a little bit odd but even more so when you noticed the tiny footballs on the wingtips. It turned out that it was an Etihad Manchester City plane which is presumably something to do with ownership or sponsors. Football really is everywhere! After everyone had looked at the plane with some confusion, we finally got on and headed off to find our seats which turned out to be at the back but together so not all bad. Being at the back of a plane is never the best, mainly because of the fact that the food arrives to your seats last so very little chance of options but also because you’re by the toilets and it’s loud as well. I didn’t mind, I was just happy we hadn’t had to persuade anybody to let us sit together and equally as thrilled to discover a pillow, a blanket and a little package with a toothbrush, eye mask and toothpaste inside. I love a good blanket and pillow combination.
Once everyone was onboard, we discovered that the plane would be landing in Singapore first before heading to Brisbane. Apparently, those staying on to Brisbane wouldn’t have to get off and since we’d be 6 hours into 12 hour flight, I wasn’t sure whether that’d be a good or bad thing. Of course a stretch of the legs would be amazing as wandering around a plane or doing foot exercise is never the best but then again, I might be all cosy in my blanket. Hmmmm. I think I’d got too expectant of meals as by the time the plane took off, I was ready and waiting for some food. We’d been given menus and I’d pre-chosen the chicken but nothing seemed to be happening about it for ages. Then it clicked. They had been doing the meals but this plane was so big we hadn’t noticed them at the front. Oh no. There’d be no chicken left now, everybody goes for chicken. And it was true, everyone had gone for chicken and I ended up with fish and Codie had tofu. The fish was actually very nice and I was quite glad of a change from the usual meat but Codie was quite angry to begin with which did make me laugh.
After a few short and painful naps, a watch of a shark documentary and a couple of checks to see where we were on the monitor, we landed in Singapore and grumpily piled off the plane. I really had been cosy in my blanket and the fact that we had to sit in a lounge for a while then go through the tedious security process all over again was not appealing. Nobody looked happy whilst waiting to get back on board, we’d all been woken up and shoved off in what was effectively the middle of the night and forced to sit on the floor. The free wifi didn’t work either which was annoying a lot of people and then the sole of Codie’s shoe came off though that was really, really funny. It’s a shame we didn’t get to see more of Singapore as everyone says it’s really nice whereas we were all leaving hating it. Of course, we’d only seen a dark airport so can’t judge the place but I’m sure it was actually really interesting and I’d like to go back sometime and see the city.
Cosied up in my blanket on the plane once again (not the same one though as they’d taken them all away to clean), I fell asleep against the window with Codie leaning on me. It wasn’t particularly comfortable but at this point we were so tired, it didn’t even matter. A couple of hours later and we watched a few programmes before it was time for yummy breakfast and it really was yummy. Turkey slices, scrambled egg with cheese and potato wedges followed by a fruit salad and orange juice and then a muffin. Mmmmmmm. We ate watching where we were on the map and looking out of the window at the landscape of the outback. It was so deserted with sandy ripples covering the surface one minute and then just rocks covering the next bit. I really enjoyed it and was quite disappointed when it was announced that we were beginning our descent as I could have happily looked out of the window all day.
A flight attendant came over and asked if she could speak to us and see our passports. It turned out Codie’s mum had arranged for Codie to have a cake as it was his birthday but to begin with it seemed like something was wrong! They brought out a huge chocolate mousse type cake complete with strawberries on the top and champagne on the side. Codie looked quite embarrassed which I enjoyed immensely but there was no time to laugh as we had to down the champagne quickly due to us landing. As we turned abruptly, passing over forests, open land and the ocean, I got more of a look of Australia and what we’ll hopefully get the chance to experience. There was a video playing about how strict immigration and customs was which marred the experience a little bit but the short clips of the gardens and wildlife made me more excited about finally getting there.
The plane landed with a bump and the sun blinded us as we looked outside. It didn’t look too dissimilar to Abu Dhabi except on a largely smaller scale and I knew that as soon as we stepped outside the heat would hit us like it had before. As everybody scrambled to collect their things and headed to the terminal, we waited behind for a bag for the cake ( a lot harder than you’d expect) before following in their tracks. We’d arrived in Brisbane.