I arrived in Sydney nearly 24 hours ago. The smoke haze on the approach stretched on for miles. It started long before the plane’s descent.
Of course I arrived on a scorching hot day. I got some rest on the plane. I had my first (and what will probably be my only) experience as a business class traveller.
I flew out with Lufthansa under a Star Alliance co-airline flight. Glasgow to Frankfurt – Frankfurt to Hong Kong – Hong Kong to Sydney.
At Frankfurt there was announcement at the departure gate that some business class seats were available for ecomonmy/economy plus travellers to buy at a discounted rate. I thought… well, I can just enquire and see. If it’s stupid money, I won’t. So… I upgraded. Wow! The seats actually FULLY recline prostrate! It was amazing. The leg room. Wow. A MENU of food. I slept properly for about 4-5 hours. Even laid on my stomach at one point. I mean… when do you get to do THAT on a plane!?
Back to economy for the final leg, which was with Cathay Pacific. It was my first experience with Cathay Pacific and I have to say their economy class is VERY good.
We landed almost an hour ahead of schedule. Sydney was humid but cool when I arrived. I took my time. Alighted the plane last. Tidied myself up in the first toilet I saw. Took a seat and filled out the immigration form.
The e-passport thing blows my mind. All electronic. No 20 questions of why I’m the country, etc, etc. Scan and go.
My poor suitcase had hardly any friends left when I got to baggage reclaim.
Going through customs was fun. Some of us weary travellers were guinea pigs for trainee sniffer dogs, so it took a little time to get through there.
Out in arrivals I got myself a coffee and a bite to eat. I got a local SIM for my phone and then went to the train station and got myself to Central to get a connecting train to Liverpool – which still leaves from trusty old platform 19.
On the way through we passed Lidcombe Station. Lidcombe is where my mum grew up – not too far from the station itself. Two stops down is a tiny station – mostly it served workers for the big rail depot there. The station is called Clyde. And… all the time I lived in Sydney, the link never really occurred to me! I know! Silly. But how it hit me yesterday. My mum starting out in Lidcombe, just a short stop away from Clyde… and here I was, home to say goodbye to her. Never being able to say “Oh, mum, guess what? I live near Clyde too now.”
We say goodbye later today. To have been able to talk to her one last time… I wish.