In the planning stages for this trip, we all agreed that after the long stretch of travel getting down to Australia, and a Saturday night out in Sydney it would be best to book our flight to Melbourne after noon.
When I came to in the morning, surprisingly un-hungover, I noticed that N had somehow been awake and alert enough to go out and bring back breakfast for everyone.
We piled our clothes back into our bags and began to survey the room before heading back to the airport. That’s when the problems began.
By virtue of my black status, not only had the hotel upgraded us, but they had also sent up a free bottle of wine. As I’m sure many of you know, when a hotel gives you a free bottle of wine, it’s usually total crap. You can raise the odds of the free wine being barely drinkable swill when the hotel in question is on the level of the Park Royal.
Nevertheless, N grabbed the bottle, popped the cork and told the group it would be wrong to waste alcohol. He poured himself a tall Collins glass sized helping, and poured a second for me. N2 continued to protest, and looked like he was about to vomit. I have no great love of drinking bad wine at 10 in the morning, but N did have a point…and anyways, I was still a bit drunk from the night before.
When drinking barely potable crap wine, it’s best to do it as quickly as possible. Down it went. N poured himself a second glass, and N2 finally relented and took some of the red stuff. When N attempted to refill me, I told him absolutely not. We grabbed our bags and went to hop a cab. It was going to be one of those days.
Going to the airport in Australia is incredibly painless. I had checked in online and gotten a mobile boarding pass on my phone. When going through security, they don’t check your boarding pass or your ID, and you don’t have to take your shoes off, or any of that junk. I don’t think they even have restrictions on liquids/gels when flying domestically.
We were flying Virgin Australia, but in Y, so there was no lounge access to be had. Once we identified the finger our flight was going to be leaving off of, we found the nearest bar and ordered ludicrously overpriced beers. The bastards who own that bar really know how to stick it to their captive audience.
We got a few rounds down before it was time to head to the gate. As we arrived at the gate, both N and I stopped, took our phones out and took pictures of the plane. We then turned to N2 and shrugged our shoulders. N is a pilot, and he flew with Netjets during college before opting to go to law school rather than sign on with an airline. He’s also a little bit gay for planes.
The flight, like every other Virgin Australia flight I’ve been on was very pleasant, and at least half empty. This Boeing 737-800 (Registration VH-YIE) hadn’t yet been fitted with DirecTV, so there was no IFE. While that was less than ideal, the flight time was just over 1-hour, and I had managed to grab 13A, an exit row. What’s more, I was the only person in my row. I am always happy when I don’t have to sit next to anyone.
I had two beers on the way there, and enjoyed the flight. On a trip back to the lav, I found N2 passed out with his mouth agape. Once N caught my eye and was focused on the scene, I smacked N2 hard across the face, waking him up in a scramble. He did not find it nearly as amusing as N and I did.
Shortly after the wheels hit the ground, we were off the plane, and on our way outside.
In Melbourne we were going to be staying with my friend Biggles. This of course is not his real name, but rather a nickname bestowed upon him by another friend. For reasons that are still not clear to me, his nickname is taken from the primary protagonist in a series of racist children’s book about a pilot/adventurer in WWI.
Before we hopped on the DJ flight in SYD, I told Biggles we had already started drinking, and to pick us up with some beers.
After some confusion as to where exactly we were, Biggles rolled up in a white 1960’s Mustang, and sure enough, when I got in the passenger side, there was a 6’er of VB on the floor. We jammed our gear in the tiny trunk, passed the beers out and set off for Chez Biggles.