Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Giorgio Armani - without a voicebox???

Another huge week down and fingers crossed for a blessing from the gods of scheduling tomorrow when the rosters come out.

Just back this morning from a Melbourne/Auckland trip and am super tired. However, I dragged myself, my cabin bag, my 24kg suitcase and toted another bag full of Aussie goodies back to my apartment in good spirits. There's nothing like a trip back to Aus for a bit of a recharge.

Not having Phoebe or my aunt Trish in Melbourne anymore, I realised that I had TWO FULL DAYS of shopping ahead of myself and set my alarm both mornings with glee and bounced out of bed and pretty much ran into town to see what I could find. My bag of goodies was bursting at its paper seams with lamingtons, english muffins, vegemite, bbq shapes, burrito flavouring mix, hot cross buns, mango juice and some chocolates. Following on from my trip to Munich, I managed to find a freakishly large banana. I wish I'd had my camera with me on board when I ate it for brekky, because when I peeled it, my suspicions were confirmed: there were not one, but TWO bananas inside! Kind of level to the weirdness when one of our chooks layed an egg with a TRIPLE yolk. The other crew freaked out and tried to get me to throw it away, for fear of banana genetic manipulation.

I hooted into Auckland, placing a call to my gorgeous friend Jourdi who I used to work with at The Body Shop. I was in for a few lovely surprises. First of all, our hotel is absoultely stunning and the rooms are amazing. Scratch that, the FULLY SELF CONTAINED SUITES/APARTMENTS were mindblowingly plush.

A far cry from our last hotel, this place is right off the high street and even has water views! The bathroom was gorgeous, there were TWO tvs and I found myself sitting on one of the two couches watching Ghost, sipping my cup of earl grey tea and eating turkish delight chocolates hurriedly purchased before the flight. I had the same choice of teas as on board in business class: jasmine green, earl grey, chamomile and ceylon. There was even a washer and dryer complete with washing powder! I usually don’t like the 14 hour direct from Dubai trips, but the new hotel certainly makes it all seem worth it.

Jourdan and his partner Sam picked me up from the hotel and many hugs and 'oh my god look at your hair!' exclaimations were exchanged. I'd heard so much about Sam but hadn't met him and must say he's the most goregous boy and we all got on like a house on fire. The boys took me back to their place and I was in for surprise number three: Giorgio Armani has moved in with them! That's right, Jourdi and Sam have a dog: a teacup chihuahua and he's so gorgeous I wanted to pocket him and bring him back to Dubai.

He was so small, hence the 'teacup' name, that he fit snugly into one of my hands. I sat there in awe of this little creature and didn't want to put him down. I realised as I was nearing the end of my visit that I hadn't heard him make any noise for the whole afternoon - Jourdi joked with me that because he's so small he probably doesn't have a voicebox!

We were all treated to a homecooked Malaysian feast by their neighbour and with full bellies we settled in with popcorn and chocolates to watch some movies on the couch. Well, I was so tired I started to drift off to sleep and the puppy was asleep on my chest when the boys suggested perhaps I should head back to the hotel and grab some z z z z z's.

Being my third flight in business class, I avoided the galley but did take duty free a number of times. I didn't actually sell anything, but have become quite proficient at finding the small, almost invisible items that lurk at the bottom of the drawers and result in hours of time spent looking for things that aren't actually missing. Our passengers were lovely and while I didn't sleep in the crew rest compartment because it's cold and loud and people fiddle with the temperature, I did do a run from the back of the aircraft right up the front and into the cockpit in my pjs. That's right, I looked like a giant smurf hooting from one end to the other, followed closely by the SFS and we scooted into the cockpit to say g'day to the boys.

Our lovely first officer gallantly lent me his jacket when it was clear I had a bad case of goosebumps and I tried on the captain's hat and couldn't resist a photo. We were lucky enough to be inside the cockpit while we were flying through some cloud, and witnessed a very unusual phemonena: St Elmo's Fire.

St Elmo's Fire is an electroluminescent coronal discharge caused by the ionisation of the air during thunderstorms inside a strong electric field. I didn't take this picture, and it's actually an image of the periodic static discharges which are seen to occur across the surface the insulated glass windows of aircraft while experiencing strong electrical charge accumulation from flying through or near electrical storms. Woah! Plain English? It looked like small lightning flashes were occuring ON the windows in the cockpit. While chatting to the boys, these little flashes started creeping along the windshield and we sat mesmerised watching the little flickers.

It was a wonderful trip with a wonderful crew, a wonderful destination and a wonderful amount of shopping was done. I can't wait for my next long haul!

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