Well, this was a first. Surprisingly, my journey began without any delays due to snow storms. The last two times I travelled in winter, both times my flights were canceled. Once, I wanted to get to California from New York and I had to move my plans a few months later and the other time, I wanted to go to New York from Zurich. That time, I made it to Milan, had to spend the night there and fly back to Zurich the next morning to make it on a plane to Boston in the evening. Both times I swore that I won’t fly in winter anymore. Seems that yet again, I had forgotten about that. However, it seems to be New York that always has snow problems because when I glanced on the board today in Zurich, the flight there had been 4 hours delayed.
I on the other hand, hugged my parents and godmother goodbye in front of the Bye Bye Bar and then made my way with the Heidi train to gate E 67, the last gate on the E floor (the enormous plane probably wouldn’t fit in between other gates and planes). We were boarding from several gate numbers on two floors. Although there were over 400 people that wanted to get on that plane, the boarding process was pretty quick. I had to pass at least three compartments until I reached my row (79) and there was another compartment behind us with at least twelve more rows. I hadn’t seen the plane from the outside but from its length the A380 really must be big. Once I was seated however, it didn’t feel any different to any other plane.
This time, I had a window seat and could fully enjoy the sunset and the night view of Dubai when we landed. The flight seemed very quick, the food on Emirates was delicious once again and all in all quite comfortable. If you are wondering what movie you should watch next, watch “The inevitable defeat of Mister and Pete”. What a cute and also heartbreaking story!
The 3 hours at Dubai Airport passed quickly. I walked up and down the shopping strip, which was open and buzzing with people although it was way past midnight and then I spent my last 23 Dirhams, which I had kept from my trip to Dubai in fall, on a Starbucks coffee.
At 2.30am I boarded a normal boeing (again a window seat, lucky me) and we were in the air for another 11 hours. All in all the flights didn’t feel that long but the second one would have been perfect if it were 3 hours shorter. There were a lot of turbulences over the Indian Ocean during two hours but I can’t sleep on planes anyways. Funny, that I never got really tired, since at about 2am Swiss time, the sun was rising again and then my body thought it has to be awake. I wasn’t even tired after not having slept for over 24 hours, when I finally arrived at the hostel.
I landed in Perth at 5.17pm. Then, I had to wait for almost an hour to get my passport stamp and enter Australia. At least afterwards, I spotted my suitcase on the carrousel right away. I made it out of the airport without any further delays. We weren’t sprayed with any disinfectant and they didn’t look through my suitcase and take anything away from me. So, to everyone who warned me about how thorough the Australians are with what you are allowed to bring inside – I guess they aren’t that strict anymore.
I took the free transfer bus to the domestic terminal, where I had to wait another half an hour in a nice 27 °C evening breeze for the bus to the city. Unfortunately, once it arrived, nobody announced the stops and I didn’t ask where I had to get off and so I missed it by about five stops, because then I finally asked some other people and they kindly brought me to the right bus station where I could buy another ticket and take the bus to Victoria Lodge. Of course, by now the sun had set and so I didn’t really see what the area looked like. I was glad to finally be in the room. For that night I was alone with Margot from France.
The next morning, I was awake really early and still not tired. The people at the hostel are really friendly and there was a nice German guy who offered me some of his toast, so that I didn’t even have to go out of the house on an empty stomach:)
It was really cool to walk to the nearby supermarket at 8am with short clothes in February. The sun was already shining brightly and it was quite warm already. The hostel is in a living area with lots of nice family homes. Exactly how I had pictured a suburb area.
Later, Margot and I took the bus to the city to participate in the free Perth walking tour. Helen guided me, two girls from Norway, a couple from Ireland, Margot and a girl from Brazil to see the good sights in the center and explained the free bus transport system to us. Certain buses within the city center, called CAT buses, are free. The others, you have to pay. But Margot also told us that there were student discounts, so I had actually paid too much up to now (I renewed my ISICS card before I left :)).
After the tour, we had lunch on a beautiful terrace called Annalakshmt (Jetty 4 Barrack Square) by the Bell Tower on Swan River. It was a recommendation of Helen. We could eat from a vegetarian Indian buffet, drink water or fruit juice and then just donate as much as we wanted. What a great idea at such a nice location!
With new strength, we went back to the shopping streets (Murray St and Hay St), where I bought an Australian sim card for the phone. Then, we took the bus to Kings Park. It’s on a hill just outside the city and on top of it is a beautiful (free) botanical garden. There was an awesome glass bridge to walk over, with an even better view over the river and the city. Apart from Kings Park, there are many other nice parks and rest areas in the city, that really makes it feel like a holiday place. So, as soon as the people from Perth take their lunch break or an after work chill-out break, they can step into paradise. Life seems very enjoyable here.