The irony does not escape me: one of the reasons I chose Perth instead of any other destination in this upside-down country was the short flight-time. It takes about 16 hours in the air to get here, less than I had to put up with going to Sydney. However, due to endless boring layovers, I still ended up spending 24 hours en route before I could finally claim that, yes, I was here.
Overall, the flight wasn’t bad. There was very little turbulence, the service was decent (I flew Lufthansa/Qatar Air), and the entertainment option plentiful, although I never use them. However, I wish Qatar would stop droning on endlessly about their “five-star service”. Sure, if you travel up front in the hallowed business class, perhaps. I assure you, though, that despite your lovely and friendly hostesses, your economy class is exactly that. Predictable food choices, ridiculous lack of leg room for anyone over 5’4, and seats that are only comfortable if the person in front of you elects not to spend ten hours sleeping in your lap. Also, I question the reasons behind keeping the plane basically in the dark for ten hours, when clearly, it was broad daylight outside. Arriving in Perth at 6 in the afternoon, I don’t want to be well rested. I want to be able to go to bed at a reasonable hour!
The layover in Doha was tedious and boring. There’s very little to do at the airport, the wait was stupendous, and re-boarding procedures not exactly well thought-out but that’s behind us now. It did make me laugh that when security scanned my bag (which they did not want me to remove anything from), they thought my tiny deodorant was a can of coke! Yes, that’s me, desperate smuggler of liquids…
Arriving in Perth, what struck me was that 1) the airport is basically located in the middle of a lot of brush. Outback airport! And 2), it really is very small. Although the lines for “other passports” was predictably long, border control didn’t take very long. Where the Aussies get discriminatory is at customs. After a look at the yellow customs cards, they sorted out their fellow countrymen with a hearty “welcome home” and shuffled all the foreigners into the “we think you’re probably trying to sneak shit into our country” line. My bags were ignored by the little black lab working the suspects, and I was released into the terminal.
The map which can be found online was spot on: I had no problems finding the ATMs (though getting money was a tad confusing. They don’t say it, but just stick in, then remove your card. Otherwise, nothing happens. At. All. And be prepared to read a novel’s worth of screen info, then tiredly shake your head and randomly select an option) and the Vodafone shop. I got money and a mobile, ready to go, in less than 15 minutes, which is highly impressive. Wandering into the balmy night, I went for the easy option and took a taxi, which actually cost me less than the $70 I had expected, and I was home by 7:30.
Based on my experience here, I definitely do not rue having booked private accommodations with airbnb! I have a lovely room, my own bathroom, run of the kitchen, and an incredibly easy walk to the train into town. Not to mention that I am less than 10 minutes from the beach!
What have I actually done in the past two days? Well, you’ll have to be patient for that bit… though I suspect most of you know from Facebook already, anyway. But if you don’t, there’ll be more to come later…