I am now back in Australia.
I am glad to be back, but I just wish it was under better circumstances and that Femke was with me.
After a great weekend at Scheveningen, sadly it was time to go.
On Sunday the 1st of Feb, we all drove out to Amsterdam airport. After checking in the bags we had a final lunch at the airport. Fem and I spent some time together at the lookup at the airport when it started to snow lightly. It was like Holland was saying farewell.
We met up with her parents again and we all had a tearful goodbye. I then went through customs and eventually I was on the plane to Bangkok. We left about 2:30pm Amsterdam time.
This first leg of the journey was 10 hours and I was in a comfortable seat. I could not really see the main TV screen which ended up showing chick flicks back to back (including the movie “The Women” where Meg Ryan has interestingly almost completed her metamorphous into the Joker from Batman), so I spent most of the time reading.
We arrived in Bangkok and then had to wait about 1 hour before the transfer to Taipei. Then it was another 3.5 hours to Taipei. I was in the same comfortable seat and the seat next to me was vacant. Yes! So I enjoyed that part of the flight as well.
We arrived in Taipei and I confirmed that I had an exit row seat on the isle for the final leg, and then had to kill time for 9 hours. I walked around the Terminal 2 and had some Subway. It was nice to see that Subway’s order to put as little food on the subs as humanly possible was a global one. I was going to object to the 2 tiny strips of lettuce that was put on my foot long sub, but decided not to out of pure apathy.
There were some free internet terminals so I was able to check my emails on there. My internal body clock was now at 5am in the morning and I started to get very very tired. I didn’t want to go to sleep on the couches in the main concourse as that meant someone could steal my bags or put something in them. So I decided to go up to the Evergreen Hotel and paid about $AU80 for a room for 5 hours. I went into a deep sleep which was very good.
Thankfully I woke up in time and freshened up and went down to wait for the plane.
I boarded the plane and went to sit in my seat and realised immediately that I could not fit properly width wise.
“WTF?” I thought. I had come over on this same plane when I had first come to the Netherlands and I was fine? I asked the air stewardess if I could change seats and she said the plane was full.
“Oh… so what can I do?” I responded.
“Just stay in your seat for take off and we’ll sort it out in the air”
So for the next 30 mins I was very uncomfortably crushed into this damn seat. Once the plane levelled out, I took of the seat belt and just stood there reading a magazine. After a little while a stewardess approached me and said that no-one in the isle rows wanted to swap. I remember thinking “You have asked everyone? Hmmm I don’t think so”. I said that I was been sitting on the seats on the other side of the isle on the way to Europe without a drama. We asked the passenger there to get up while I tried his seat and I realised I fit ok in that one. “ahh so I just need to be in this seat.”
But the fool didn’t want to swap with me. I didn’t catch his reason. I think it might have been something like “Because I am a stupid moron”.
We checked with the other passenger on the other isle seat and he didn’t want to swap either. “Sigh”.
I said how about I just sit on the floor in the emergency row where there was a lot of room? Not ideal, but way better that my initial seat. This lasted for about 15 mins before the head stewardess came over and said I had to move as I was blocking the exit row. I was starting to get annoyed now.
“So where can I sit?”
”How about your seat?”
”I don’t fit there.”
“I’m sorry but there is no-where else, try sitting on the edge of the seat.”
“I would rather just stay here, I’m not in the way.”
“I’m sorry sir, but that’s against the rules.”
I eventually relented and tried sitting on the seat edge and that was also very uncomfortable. I tried to alternate between standing up and sitting on the edge of the seat. I could see this was not going to work too well either.
I started getting desperate and I began to think “Hmm this is a early morning flight, most people will be asleep soon so maybe I’ll just sit in the toilet they had from time to time.”
After one hour after take off, I got a tap on my shoulder. There were two American twin girls of Indian appearance. They had been watching this whole thing for a while and they were frowning.
“They can’t treat you like this!”
“I know! but what can I do? I know I’m a big guy but this is just horseshit.”
“Can’t they find someone to swap with you?”
“They said they have asked people. But I don’t think so.”
”Ahh that’s crap. We’ll ask around!”
So these girls then asked some people on the isles if they wanted to swap. The first two said no, but the girl directly behind eventually agreed after a lot of persuading.
Ahh a breakthrough at last.
So we swapped and I was able to put up the arm rest to be seated in relative comfort. My leg room was not the best, but I was able to just fit in. I was then sitting directly next to the two Americans. I gave them my deepest thanks for their efforts, they said they would have gone all around the plane if they needed to. This brought a big smile on my face and my respect for yanks went up one notch.
They both then went soundly asleep and while I was awake after my 5 hour rest at the Evergreen Hotel so I just watched 3 movies back to back to pass the time.
The rest of the trip was uneventful. We landed in Brisbane 9 hours later.
The total flight time was 22.5 hours, but I was now back home.
My mother was there to greet me at the airport and so was the now infamous Brisbane heat and humidity. I was very glad to see my mother again, but not too glad to experience the humidity!
I am back.