Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Day 4. I wonder if I should keep numbering days? It's great now, but will get depressing towards the end of the year! Anyway, I have to say I feel really happy so far. Especially now the glory has started! Into the airport via the Premium entrance. Security bloke looks my scruffy unshaven self up and down. "What class are you flying? Economy?" "No, First Class with British Airways". Booyaka! The day started early. Shower at 6am, pack bags and out by half past. Didn't see sunrise, but the scene from my window was quite pretty still, with fishermen trawling the bay as the sun shimmered across the water.<

Along to the bus station, and the usual chaos in trying to locate a bus. Ended up on one to Curepipe that allegedly would stop at the airport, but it was running really slowly and I was beginning to worry about the time... what was going on? Turned out that the conductor was still chit-chatting with his chums back at the station, the driver was impatient so he drove off without him, and slow-drove along the route until the conductor caught up (via another bus he had hopped on). Anyway, a light shower graced my arrival at the airport, but not enough to get wet, except through pirspiration lugging my main pack! Here's the BA jumbo just arriving:

Into airport and met by Crystal, one of the girls who has been booking my ticket for me. Receive my ticket, which is a wad of paper! It's all there. Although why not e-ticket? And they gave me a pastic BA hold-all bag! But no space for that sadly (not helped by being rather tacky - I may have found room if it was classy enough!). Anyway, I've tried to avoid telling airline people that I'm doing the RTW, it seems kinda embarrassing to tell a check-in bloke that you're spending a year slacking and travelling first class. Anyway, Crystal nudges him and reveals all. What to say.. just that I'm very lucky, and that I genuinely believe. It's only a few days in, but I feel content, and excited about the challenges ahead. When I get back to London, I'm straight off to Cairo on an "easy" tour along the Nile, then it's South America where the real adventure begins.

So, into airport and check out the lounge.

All other airlines have one lounge shared, then BA have their own. Nice. Through the terminal looking for postcards. Not once in the whole time I've been in Mauritius have I found anywhere that sells postcards! Found a couple and a shop that would post them too. Sorted. Back to the lounge and time to relax with some water and the Telegraph newspaper. They have food, but presumably I'll get plenty of that on the plane anyway. No internet. Our jumbo parked right outside the lounge. Air France plane is leaving, and turns out there are a load of people flying AF in our lounge! Outrageous! Anyway 20 minutes before flight, and they haven't called us, but I figure I'll board anyway. Economy pax still queuing but I'll push in anyway. Bye to Crystal and on-board. Straight through business and we've arrived. Seat 2A. Decided I'll have no shame on this journey, so camera out, haha!

Capture the moments... I regretting not taking pictures last time I flew First, and who knows when I'll be flying First next... ooh me, it's tomorrow!!

The other occasion I regret not taking photos is when Will and I visited The Fat Duck restaurant in Bray. It didn't seem appropriate at the time, but of course afterwards, when the memories start fading of all of those dishes... So, we're on the plane, and I decide to avoid complimentary alcoholic drinks. I hold out for at least 5 minutes before I succumb to Charles Heidsiek Blanc des Millenaires 1995 Champagne. And then London Pride. It's only 9am! Still, should get some nice sleep after brunch. Emergency: once again, there is a baby in First Class!! How is this allowed? And worse, they've agreed to swap a few people around so that it's right in front of me. Cute irritation keeps poking his head over and looking and me.

All is fine unless he cries, in which case all sympathy will be gone very fast.
Breakfast consists of a plate of fresh fruit and a pastry with cappuccino. Then smoken salmon. Then full English. Then tea. Too much food! First movie: Tsotki. Second: Chinatown. BA have this ridiculous tape system in First Class, so you get access to the regular videos that everyone has, plus you can ask for one of about 15 videos on tape. If someone else is watchng the one you want, tough! Yes it's almost untrue. Apparently on selected routes they give you a personal DVD player, though none that I've been on so far (okay, okay, I know it's only my second time in First!).

The flight is flying via Nairobi, so presumably we'll be touching down there after about 4 to 5 hours? Don't think we're getting off the plane or anything though, and the First section is full anyway.

Update: no stop at Nairobi. I wonder if they only do that stop on the way out? Anyway, back to Heathrow, and shockingly, they didn't hold the business passengers until we had embarked. You just wait till I get that feedback form..! Also, had to wait a while for luggage coming off the belt, and I have a horrible suspicion that some non-First passengers received their bags before me! Anyway, was still fairly early. Part of the reason I was through Passport Control quickly is because I am signed up for the Iris scheme, whereby I can go through a special channel which involves walking through an automatic barrier into a small enclosed area, where one looks at a screen that scans your iris, and if you match the pattern they have, it lets you through. No showing any passports or documents, no talking to any people. It's marvellous! It really comes into its own when there's a big queue for the regular passport channels. Also when (as happened to me recently), the person in front of you gets rejects by the machine, has to join the normal queue, and then yours truly breezes through!

Went to visit Grandfather, to collect post. Guess what - left the post there! Must have been nothing interesting. Sandychan was staying up on the mezzanine floor of my old flat, which was strange... picture the scene.. I bound up the stairs of the (presumably) empty flat. Walk into our entrance "porch", upon which I hear "Crawleyyyyman?". I can hear a noise, but where on earth is it coming from? Ahhh above!

Good night peeps...

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