9/12/2013 klo 7.17am (9.17pm previous evening English time? Maybe? So confused), BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA. Tbf, all airports look pretty similar. I honestly can't believe it.
|The sunny view at Brisbane airport|
20mins-ish till boarding my final flight. Just over three hours to NZ. This has gone so quick.
9/12/2013 attempt 2, klo 19.26 (not 10.26 as my computer is claiming, still in Dubai time... And I think it's 8.26 Finnish time, 6.26am English time). (Don't worry I will stop these time zone things.) The thing that seems most surreal right now about being in New Zealand (for I am now well and settled down here) is realising all my friends and family are asleep. And that to my message “in New Zealand!” my mumsie would not be replying for many hours since she is deep asleep in night at her end.
So, back to Dubai. After having an enjoyable look round the gorgeous Dubai-souvenir shops and an unenjoyable visit to Costa (reasons I went: 1. they advertised wifi 2. to get a bottle of water for the plane. Conclusions to both: 1. their "wifi" was the same wifi the Irish Café place advertised, the wifi that does not work. 2. I had to throw away my water after one sip since I hadn't realised there's yet another security check before the flight itself), I made my way to gate A24.
|I WANT THEM ALL|
So, flight #3, Dubai to Brisbane. Over 14h. Especially after the cramped seating and sleepless night of the first plane, I was not looking forward to it. Additionally, there was a problem. Not problem in comparison with most of the world's problems, but a problem for me. I did not have a window seat. I had an aisle seat. And I wanted a window seat. I asked at the gate if I could change it, and they obediently had a look, but said there were none free, unfortunately. Oh well.
So, I made my way to my seat, 85H. 85I was in the middle and 85J at the window, and there was a couple settling down there. I addressed the guy, on the window seat, and asked him “how strongly he feels about sitting by the window”. The guy exchanged grins with his gf and said, smiling and conclusively: “quite strongly”. Ok, no worries. I asked the guy at the window behind him, 86J. He was in the middle of some complication since he was trying to get his partner to find a seat next to him or something. 84J was taken by a little girl who obviously I did not disturb. So I confidently marched up to 83J, a middle-aged man. Not quite sure what I said, but I asked, in a hopefully polite enough way, if he fancied at all swapping his window seat for my aisle. He wasn't enthusiastic. But he didn't say no. When he realised how enthusiastic I was he agreed to swap. But I am under the impression he didn't want to. (And who can blame him :( )
In any other case I would've been like “oh don't worry, I'll keep the aisle, it's fine,” but I FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT THE WINDOW. I was very selfish. But even though I felt quite bad later on, I didn't regret it a single moment. The views were amazing. I am horrible yes. But I did give him the chance to say politely “oh, I'd rather keep my window seat thanks”. I wasn't gonna Britishly sacrifice something I felt strongly about just because I thought he maybe didn't rejoice about my proposition.
|Ready set go|
Well, anyways, PHENOMENAL views. Also, I made friends with the young couple next to me, N and T from England, visiting friends in NZ and Australia. Their first time too, so we were excited together and chatted through mealtimes etc. Really nice to have people to hang out with during solo travelling!
|I have no words|
|Literally one of the best moments of my life|
|Mountains near Dubai. Tried to google what they are but didn't find answers! Anyone know?|
In addition, watched altogether two films (half of Bling Ring, half of the Great Gatsby and the whole One Direction: This is us-film, brilliant!!), ate lots of amazing Emirates food, read Life of Pi and attempted sleep a few times.
|When most people attempted to sleep|
|Brownie muffin with cappuccino and chocolate mousse. OM NOM|
All in all, the flight was really quite enjoyable. There was much more leg room, and I was much more organised, putting both my Duty Free-plastic bag and computer bag in the overhead locker instead of with my packed back bag on the floor under the seat in front of me, like I did in the first one. And arriving in AUSTRALIA was an insane feeling.
Flight #3 Brisbane-Auckland was only three hours so basically I blinked and it was over. Sat at the back with magazines and books and Big Bang Theory. Had a minor scare when the air hostesses gave out intimidating “NZ Arrival Cards” saying that if you don't have a visa you will get deported. (I didn't have a visa.) (Luckily we found out later that you get a visa, which is just a stamp in your passport, at passport inspection.) Also they showed an aggressive video of MAKE SURE YOU DECLARE EVERYTHING otherwise face an instant 400-10,000 dollar fine. And things you had to declare were all sorts of food of all different categories and sports shoes. (And loads of other things, but those were the ones I ticked.)
|Brekkie number 2 in the Australia-NZ flight. Om nom|
|Flying off the map...|
First sights of New Zealand were incredible. Since it has been such a life-long dream, it was absolutely crazy being able to tell myself that that there, my friend, is New Zealand, the island country at the complete opposite end of THE GLOBE, the tiny nation so far away it is often not even included in maps of the world. (Lol CC is reading this lol) The country so many people love and obsess about.
|First glance of NZ. IT ACTUALLY EXISTS|
I AM NOW HERE. :)
CC picked me up and it was lovely, and drove to his parents place about an hour away, the views were magnificent. I was telling him, it's a bit like a vague mix-up of England/Wales and the South of France. Green like the UK, full of cute random cafés and workshops on the roadsides like especially Wales, with exotic-looking trees and SUN like in the Mediterranean areas. I find the trees especially funky. And I have never been one to be really interested in plants.
So far, amazing. Now to catch up on some of that sleep.
|View from CC's parents' house|
PS. All in all, I think I will treasure this blog entry forever. Those of you who know me know how much I love travelling. And this was just my craziest dreams, and more, realised. I've used the words 'crazy' and 'insane' and 'amazing' a lot but the description still feels incomplete. My first time out of Europe. This trip has been one of the best times of my whole life, and I'm not even exaggerating.
PPS. I don't think a title can get any better than that. I can't believe this has actually now happened.
PPS. Ok I'll stop now :P