When we walked in to the departure hall at Bangkok airport, my first reaction was a combination of dread and panic. The layout was eeriely like that of Delhi, where two years ago we were denied boarding for our flight to Australia. I could easily imagine a repeat denial.
It was complete relief to get boarding passes and check bags. Australia bound, at last.
Nevermind that less than an hour later I screwed up our itinerary by buying tickets from Melbourne to Sydney, bypassing Canberra. I'd wanted to see Canberra. What I didn't do was look at a map.
Anyway, our JetStar takeoff from Bangkok was late. No worries. My plan was to try and sleep as much as possible. Within a few minutes of takeoff, I put in earplugs, donned eye shades, amd popped a French sleep aid. It must have worked. Mo got water and coffee at some point during the eight hour flight, while I got nothing at all.
Australian customs was as cheerless as any. Our prescription drugs (malaria and travelers diarrhea) were fine, and the fact that we had swam in a Thai waterfall was OK because we'd had plenty of time to clean up since.
Sky Bus delivered us from the airport to downtown Melbourne for a slight discount (for buying round trip), and our hotel was a five minute walk from the bus terminal. Not the best of digs, but we're on a budget.
We dined locally, then slept. One is not supposed to sleep off jet lag, but at our age we do what we must.
The main reason to be in Australia is to see friends made on previous trips. We had a wonderful dinner with Liz and Will. If other Aussies are half as gracious, this will be a fine country to explore.
A Note of Explaination. I photographed the fire truck after we were obliged to evacuate our hotel about 12:35 AM during our first night in Melbourne. It seems someone was smoking in a nonsmoking room.