So I forgot how long long haul is.
I was originally annoyed that the project team booked me to fly on the Sunday, rather than the Saturday, as this meant I would only have a few hours to unpack and disco nap before being needed in the office in Bangalore. However after a particularly heavy night out on Thursday with the girls from work, I think we were all glad to have an extra day to recover and remember all the things we had forgotten to pack. Or in my colleagues case, start packing!
Sunday morning found us at work waiting for a taxi to Heathrow Terminal 5. A surprisingly short and exceedingly uneventful journey later, we arrive at terminal 5 and wander in, a full hour before check in even opens. The girls grab a coffee and a pain au chocolate from Carluccios and I go for a fresh mint tea. Ever since a surf trip to Tagazout in Morocco it’s been an addiction. We post the obligatory check in on Facebook and drop the bags. The shopping is high end, not much for the Budget traveller but we settle down for a quick and tasty meal in Giraffe. The meals (and cocktails) are served quickly, but it takes forever to get the bill and our gate has been announced.
The trek to the gate begins and of course we’re the further away (C66 for any terminal 5 nerds). It’s an adventure in itself. A 15 walk across the airport, a two story escalator, two stops on a surprisingly fast subway system and another 10 minute walk. Of course we shouldn’t have worried, there was already a snaking queue of business class passengers waiting to be processed, never mind the economy class passengers!
I haven’t been on such a large plane for a while and we had somehow ended up at the front of the plane, when our seats were very much at the back! Cue an awkward and slow march to the back of the plane where the majority of the overhead cabin space had already been nabbed. I was lucky enough to grab a seat next to my two colleagues on the app earlier in the week (the project team didn’t seem to think I would need one??) and we settled in. 30 minutes later and we are still sat on the runway and I’m already on my fifth glacier fruit sweet.
Almost immediately as we take off we are hit with turbulence, much to my colleagues disgust. This is a continuing theme on the flight. As soon as you forgot about it, there it was again! I had brought my traditional entertainment (New scientist and the Economist- when else would you have the time to sit and read them properly, without guilt) so I wasn’t as phased by the entertainment system not working as some of my fellow passengers. However as the flight went on, it did become a bit frustrating. I made do with a few films I had downloaded but it was nice to keep checking out our progress on my colleagues screens.
About halfway into the 9 hour journey time seemed to slow down. They were unable to provide a dairy free meal (good job I packed a picnic!) and many people had settled down to sleep. My mind is turning to the upcoming dreaded introduction to Bangalore traffic and crazy driving that had left my manger sick to her stomach on the previous trip. Also to the point of the trip, but that’s better covered when I don’t have a squeaking 6 month old in my ear!
I’m going to try and grab some sleep to prepare me for the traffic and noise tomorrow.
The Budget Traveller