February 3, 2005

Reaching Adeliade!

At Mumbai
It was a long wait for the bus, which transferred us to the
International terminal. As I had waited for my baggage check to Qantas
– I had already shortlisted in my mind how to convince them or what to
throw off if they are stubborn. Before that, a lady was also
experiencing the same excess baggage problem – and she opened up all
to check again to transfer some to cabin baggage. An young Australian
came up to me and took up my passport and asked 'are you going for
study' to which I said 'Yes'. Apart from these, never been asked any
questions – may be because of my student visa, I think! To my relief,
my baggage weighed just 37.5 kg here (It showed 37.5 in exact at
Sydney also - time to replace weighing machines at Bangalore
airport!), and the cabin baggage weighed 6 kg (I didn't weigh at
Bangalore).

Qantas Flight
It was not big, but really very huge - a Boeing 747! I didn't get a
window seat, this time – which I desperately wanted to see the sunset
/ sunrise if I could during my non-stop 11 hour journey to Sydney!
Every seat was fitted with a small video screen (Our village buses in
tamilnadu are having DVD with two screens. so, what a big deal?) to
view some movies / music / games. I saw the movie list... Sideways,
The Bicycle Riders or something..not really interested..(Later, I came
to know that both are nominated for more than 3 Oscars this year!!). I
was only listening to a radio channel which listed all the best music
symphonies.

We were given a lot of eatables / snacks / juices / wine / beer etc
etc In the menu provided, both the Indian food and Australian food
were listed out (In snacks too, Australian Peanuts and Haldigrams
snacks!) I was careful to avoid overeating… I didn't touch oily items.
I tasted non-veg dinner – Australian lamb – it was good. I tried to
behave like normal.. (I didn't change the watch time also!) I slept at
10.00 pm like any other day – I had a good sleep, only I was woken up
to see they were serving the breakfast at 5 pm! My fellow traveller, a
software guy from Chennai got up brushed and ate it. I decided to skip
the breakfast and already I had kept an apple, cookies and juice what
they served as an after-dinner-snacks! I finished my breakfast with
that and we landed at Sydney at 11:30. (The same way like Indian
Airlines, Qantas boarding was delayed by 15 minutes at Mumbai – The
Captain apologised for that inconvenience and said he will make up for
the lost time during the flight and assured we will be there by Sydney
at the scheduled 11:30 am. He did exactly!)

Sydney
Surprisingly, I felt good in Sydney because unlike Mumbai Airport –
the directions were so clear that I didn't ask anyone where to go. The
much hyped immigration check is nothing at all – In 2 minutes, my
baggage passed the x-ray scan and I came out to reach the domestic
terminal – where I spent a good 1 hour reading a book named "Fish
Tales" – the analogy between a fish market and business strategies –
good one to read (While shopping in Bangalore, I had purchased 3 books
to carry and read during travel!)

Adelaide and the Flinders boy
The weather was chilly with winds blowing and we heard that there were
storms in Melbourne area. Thankfully, the university (u have to say
Uni, right from now onwards..!) people were waiting for me.. with a
huge Big Uni Logo! The driver was a student of Adelaide Uni (An
Indian, I could guess.. but he sounded like a native Aussie!) and took
us a big roundabout deliberately to show the Uni buildings, shopping
mall, important landmarks, we reached a very good Student Residences
(Temp Accommodation). The pickup confirmation email said that the Uni
staff won't assist us in lifting the baggage - but actually, they gave
a big hand. The Hostel manager took us around the hostel to show
Recreation room (Table Tennis, TV / Video Player), Bath Room, Cooking
Place (Oven / Refrigerators etc) and How to reach the nearest bus
stop. It started to rain , he said, it's actually the summer time –
but it's behaving crazy.. He said ..probably two English boys came 2
days ago..might be they brought the bad weather with them!

A boy from Delhi who is going to Flinders came with me from
Sydney..though I didn't spoke to him there..found there was no one to
pick up at the airport.. Our staff gave their mobile to call up the
Uni, and he had a tough time to communicate his name Goel..(G for
Goat.. O for Orange E for English L for something.. like that he tried
a lot to convey.. ).. Finally, they asked him to pick a Taxi and come
directly to the Uni.. I said "Don't worry!'' to him.. and we headed
towards the City..

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