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Published: June 21st 2017
The start to any holiday is never mundane and today was no exception; we were running around liked headless chooks. After a less-than-impressive parma at Pakenham Hotel, we reached the airport where the flood of tears hit us all. Going away for two months with a group of people is one thing but nine months completely alone is bloody overwhelming. Walking through those gates was tough but I got over it when I became too preoccupied with hating myself for taking a duffle bag not rolling bag. Me + two heavy bags + tight spaces never ends well.
The plane had been delayed - as usual - but only by 40 minutes so not too bad. Luckily the only thing I had to complain about from there on in was that the plane was like a sauna, but the plane was half empty so it's not too bad. I was sitting next to (with the middle seat empty) a really lovely Serbian girl who I got along really well with. By the end of the flight we had bragged about our cats and taken selfies. I was terrified of take-off because I have liquid in my ears or something and the doctor, unbeknown to him that I was flying this week, made a comment that I was lucky I'm not going on a plane in the next six weeks. Lucky me. Not to worry, my ears literally didn't pop once, the smoothest take-off I have ever experienced, just when I needed it most.
I didn't really sleep at all and was regretting not waking up a millionaire because all I really wanted at that point was to sleep straight, I would've even taken the floor if it was an option. It wasn't all bad though, right out my window and appearing to only be a few hundred meters away was the best bloody thunderstorm I've ever seen. Admittedly it was few and far between with lighting strikes only occurring every few minutes but God was it worth it. It lit up the entire plane and the stalks or whatever they're called were massive with 100+ little thingys. In hindsight I probably should've been terrified but...
A few hours later we were greeted with an awesome sunrise so Mother Nature is putting on a show today! A tough rival is Qatar, feeding us every single hour; dinner, breakfast, separate desert, chicken sandwich (I swear it was tuna wrapped in filo pastry), a chocolate bowl and chips. Oh, I forgot to mention that when I was on the ramp to board the plane some lady started walking backwards, raising everyone's attention, before proudly pronouncing "hey you work at Warragul Woolworths!!" - LEAVE ME ALONE. If I had a dollar for every time someone on the train tells me where I work... But really, boarding an international flight?!
Despite the delay we only arrived four minutes late, only to be told the plane was "suffering technical issues". Not only would the seat belt sign not turn off but the doors/exits of the plane literally wouldn't open. I just needed fresh air - not to be stuck with only a short layover time. It took 38 minutes (as the hostess announced) but we were finally freed... And then the chaos ensured. Everyone had connections and not a lot of time, the lady behind me had four minutes to take off! I had a fair while, though by the time I walked the marathon (2,639 steps) with big bags and went through security my plane had announced the "final call" - ahhhhhhh! I was stressed as hell and my body was tired and giving up on me, but I made it, only to have my ticket scan red and a loud "something's wrong" siren sound. I didn't know what it was but God did my heart sink! Luckily, it was just to say that my seat had been changed... To a middle seat in the middle row. I was annoyed to say the least but the lady was very apologetic and switched me again to a window seat WITH THE WHOLE THREE SEATS TO MYSELF!!!! Well maybe I spoke too soon because someone else got moved next to me.
The entire second flight was hell, it was full of Chinese and Spanish people who are undoubtedly some of the loudest people on earth. The guy behind me made awful snorting noises the entire flight and the food served was almost identical to that of the first flight, only difference was that the first flight had waffles for breakfast, the second had pancakes. We also didn't get any extra food or water doing rounds and the water I asked for tasted as if it was infectious. The plane was fitted out with super hi-tech stuff, which was all dodgy. From blinds that didn't go up when you pressed the button to the toilet which frightened the hell out of me by flushing exactly 25 seconds after you lock the door - I was too frightened to even go to the toilet after the first time.
But, we finally go to Madrid... And then another hike ensured getting out the exit. I had agreed to meet Nat at McDonald's, despite having no idea where it was, I eventually found a sign with an arrow saying "1 min" but it was more like ten. I sat and waited for Nat (which felt like eternity) and eventually found my way around the free Wi-Fi so at least I could occupy myself. Nat came with Ali, from school, and God it felt like we had never been apart.
I had tried to limit my food intake on the second flight, knowing that I would get heaps of food at the restaurant... I asked for a piece of fruit, thinking that they are only ever small... And then I was presented with cheesecake (my least favourite desert) and a plate full of some melon we don't have back home. Gotta love Spain. Nat went out for ice-cream with Ale but I decided to stay home and have a shower, I got out and Nando was waiting for me with Candi who was so exhausted (school, ballet, swimming and flamenco classes all in one day)! Candi went home and we headed down for dinner. Lala presented me with a large bucket of ???? What looked like balls of salt but I happily ate one...and the whole restaurant stopped in horror, it's like the prawns all over. Apparently, you are meant to break the outside off (which is just hardened salt) to reveal a peanut... They tasted awesome, without the 2cm salt layer....
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