Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Many Weights Lifted..

Captain's Log, Stardate RTW Day 1. Am on my way, and I have to say it feels really good. I've felt quite stressed and tense for the past few days, probably due to having to move out of my flat. Don't they say that moving house is up there with divorce and being subjected to BAA so-called "security" incompetence as the most stressful experiences one endures in life? In my case, I am a certified horder, and evidence of this is to be found in the attic where my things are currently stored.

Hugo, a lovely Swedish chap who has returned to Sweden to have a baby, has stored in the same loft approximately half what I have accumulated! My conclusion is that I can never possibly move from the Mews, as I would never be able to afford a removals firm willing to undertake the job.
Anyway, the first weights that were lifted today were the last of my possessions, into the loft of the flat I've been living in, and I have to confess I am experiencing a few uncomfortable twangs in the lower back that were not there yesterday! Someone gimme a back massage! Ah ha, the Molton Brown Spa in T4 here we come! I spent most of the night packing, and thanks to Eunjeong for helping out otherwise perhaps I'd still be at home now having long missed the flight. I think I was genuinely worried about not packing up in time, and this was hanging over me like the eternal drizzle over my beloved Blighty! The moment I'd dropped my flatkeys and walked away, I felt all my worries drain away, and a real excited buzz took over! It's really happening! Woo yay!
My journey started out modestly. Round the corner with two rather heavy bags (how did that happen?), and on to the 328 bus to Kilburn Park (had to resist explaining what my travel plans to the old ladies seated either side of me - "see you in a year, NW6!", then Bakerloo Line to Paddington (pre-pay, byebye my lovely Gold Card, sob), and on to Heathrow Express, the world's most expensive railway per minute mile (again thanks to BAA, my current corporate enemy number one).
Nearly went to Terminal 4, as I forgot I am flying Emirates to start my journey, i.e. T3.

Check-in painless, as I skipped an enormous queue as I had finally managed to check in online at home, on the third damn attempt. Emirates online check-in is not as mature as BA's, I seemed to be the only person doing this, and so was moved on to a First/Business check-in queue! Hurrah! Anyway, I read somewhere that Emirates are joining OneWorld. About time too!
So second weight lifted was my 18kg main pack. Why is it so heavy?! My day pack must be at least 6kg or so too, but it's not so much weight that worries me as volume. I certainly couldn't fit my daypack into my main pack, which is what I need to be able to do when trekking. Plus 3kg of water of course when Camelback is filled. Iodine, yum! Will post a list of stuff I have later, but these initial trips to Mauritius and Cairo are good dry runs for my pack. Worse case I can dump some stuff as I pass through London.
The next weight lifted of course, was my backside by this 777 plane.

Here's a question for you all - why do airlines occasionally do this ridiculous "boarding by row numbers" thing? Absolute chaos. People form an orderly queue to get on the plane, women and children of course allowed on first, then it's all turned upside down when they decide that regardless of priority or boarding speed, rows 50 to 60 are going on first! Ridiculous! When I've got more money than sense I shall commission a study to find out the optimum boarding strategy. Of course, by that time I will be flying first all the time anyway, so I won't care! Oops!
As it's Ramadan and we're flying an Islamic aircraft, we don't get food until the appropriate time. Amusingly there are two options - following UK times, or wherever the plane is at the time. I envisage chaos with the catering trolleys! No issues here at seat 18H, bacon sarnie and no veil please!
So what's the Crawley Seat Choosing Strategy (c)? Rules to follow are:
1. Sit as far forward on the plane as possible. Means quick on and off, less smelly, not near toilets, and vague chance of being bumped forwards to higher cabins.
2. Don't sit in front row or bulkhead seats, as leg room often chopped off by solid wall in front of you. Plus BA have baby change things in the middle at front, so you might be near an infant (heaven forbid!)
3. Aisle always.
4. Go for right hand side of plane. This is important when disembarking, as middle block passengers tend to drift left on leaving
5. Chose side of aisle based on minimising how many people will have to squeeze past you to go to loo.
6. With most economy sections, always go for that forward smaller bit just behind business. Less noisy.
That's about it for now. Complex game. Of course, for my First Class BA flights, it's bed 2A all the way. According to, this is the best seat BA has to offer on their entire fleet! I actually rode it to Mexico, I had wanted 1A but it had been pinched by a diplomatic couple (not as in they negotiated it, you know what I mean!), so I ended up one back, which is good as I later learnt there's a cupboard over 1A which the stewardesses use. And we wouldn't like that, would we?!
Sam's general flight tip is: always open liquid containers away from you! Applies especially to those small milk containers. Oooh we just got the "Ladies and Gentlemen, is there a Doctor on board?" announcement, wonder what's going on?! Don't worry, I didn't have the fish! FYI current film being watched = Ice Age 2: Meltdown. Fantastic, and leads me on to my environmental rant later. Next film, Devil wears Prada. Maybe. There are about 400 films you can watch on the entertainment system, all on demand etc. Can't wait to be in BA First asking whether anyone else has the "tape" out! Come on, BA, updated your entertainment system! We need VOD! Actually I'm gonna watch Thank you for Smoking...
More later, and perhaps some sleep before we hit Dubai..

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