Sorry for the quiet: we’ve been back in Australia for a couple of weeks now, spending time with family and trying to find our feet. No boat, sadly; but did fly back in business class!
There we were in KL, of course, waiting to hear from the shipping company when our container vessel would actually arrive in Singapore. Reports were mixed: the guy who sold us the berth promised it would arrive by the (already delayed) date; the Singapore port contact added 5 days to that; and the shipping company itself told us it would arrive, depart for Jakarta, then return to Singapore before it finally headed for Australia. We were looking at a departure date as late as the 27th or 28th of August … for a journey that originally was meant to start on the 31st of July!
So of course we cancelled the tickets and, once we confirmed a full refund, spent the money on two business-class tickets into Melbourne. The luxury! I’m not sure all flights have such a marked difference between business and economy, but on this Emirates flight (the cheapest non-China carrier) it was bliss — deeply reclining seats with individual screens; real cotton napkins and stainless steel cutlery; champagne once the doors were locked, and throughout the 9 hour flight; delicious meals, port, chocolates, dessert, biscuits and cheese. And the kicker: the attendants remembered our names — even as we disembarked at Melbourne Airport!
An enjoyable trip with just a few tears — Dee cut herself with a butter knife (of all things!) and things got a little emotional — but when we touched down I realised why the flight was so cheap: it was 1am in the morning Melbourne time. Ah. Hmm. So we checked out the airport hotels (too expensive, come on Aussie!) and even tried sleeping in the airport with a Chinese family (hard to get comfortable on metal seats and/or carpeted concrete floors). We wandered around, ate some junk food, and eventually decided to charter a taxi. To Bendigo. Actually surprised that the taxi-driver agreed to take us, and for cheaper than the hotel for the night, but he did! (Thanks, wherever you are.)
A nap in the car later we were knocking on my mum’s door, hoping she would a) wake up and b) not call the cops. Yes she did and no she didn’t, so we were soon ready to sleep the morning away.