En route to the other side of the world

Friday – Griggsday

Yesterday I took my carry-on to the post office to weigh and had a kilo to spare, so I added my handwritten recipe book for which Google is no substitute. Then I padlocked my suitcases – a winter suitcase, a summer suitcase, and a suitcase of books for the twins – to prevent me from playing “I’ll just pop this in. I might need it.” 

Today at 8 we farewell our son and Cruz at the bus stop. H gives a wonderful close bear hug that suggests he may miss us a tiny bit, although he’s been threatening getting one of his Koori mates to conduct a smudging ceremony to exorcise our presence. The journey is uneventful: a quick dash to the supermarket in the Bay to stock up on tubes of vegemite, a salad bowl in Nowra for lunch.

At the domestic airport stop there is a forlorn, unclaimed suitcase, owned by Griggs. We listen to the ensuing phone calls from the bus driver with casual interest, wondering why Griggs didn’t take his bag. At Central, we find out. He didn’t take his bag because he took mine.  By the time the bus company catches up with him, he’s checked my winter wardrobe onto his plane. He’s obviously no keener on my bag than I am on his, aborts his flight and brings my bag back.

We finish the day with a bottle of wine in our room under a sign saying “no alcohol in rooms”.

Saturday – departure day

At 5 am there’s a knock on our hotel door. We ignore it. Three minutes later there’s another one. We ignore it too. When after another three minutes there’s a third knock,  J roars “Go away, or I’ll call the police”. There are no more knocks, but there’s no more sleep either.

We repack and dress for the flight. We stash our six bags in a locker and head off to the Blaq Piq to breakfast with a very dear friend of mine who has featured before on my blog as a giver of wonderful gifts, including my first foray into blogging. Sydney early morning heat is steamy but the cafe is canyon-shaded, the food wonderful and the conversation rich. We talk about laziness, small business, power naps, creativity and how to get the most out of a day. It’s not often J is part of my time with friends and it was a pleasure watching two beloved people interacting with such animation.

Of course we get to the airport with time to spare. The flight boards at 4: we’re there by 12 and well and truly checked in and through customs by 1. Not only are we flying together for the first time ever, but before I could intervene, we’re actually sitting together. Will I have to share my precious aisle seat? It turns out to be handy knowing the person next to you: you can dump cushions, rugs, headphones, handbags on his lap as you struggle to undulate out of the seat for the occasional stroll.

In flight

I’ve finally got benefit from frequent flyers – substantial headphones instead of the puny ones that let your secret musical vices escape into the cabin. I make good use of them. I begin with blasts from the past: Leonard Cohen, Midnight Oil, Joan Baez, Elton John, and of course Elvis. “Jailhouse rock” takes me back to dancing in the aisles at Epping picture theatre in 1959. J is indulging in his own form of time travel, scent-induced, as he drinks his small bottle of McGuigans red with his dinner. Once upon a time he worked near McGuigans winery and after a hard day in the orchard he rode his bike home through the rich red smell that was now emerging from his plastic cup. Once I’ve had enough nostalgia I seek out clarinet, piano, and cello, and then Genevieve Lacey and Karen Schnaup on a variety of recorders and guitar. 

I start watching “Carol”, and get sick of Kate Blanchett’s face very quickly. A doco on Iceland is far more to my liking: magma flowing in a roiling mass of red and black and spurting from a fissure high into the air; a family business protecting eider ducks and harvesting down; a gathering to muster tough Iceland ponies for winter.  I move on to “The secret life of four year olds”, children at kindergarten learning to socialise and negotiate friendships. I never get sick of their faces, or their strategies (“If the bully boy annoys you, just bite him”!)

The last leg

A seven hour stopover in Dubai means plenty of time to find our gate, take some photos, organise our bags, again. Gate 13 isn’t bad luck at all. We’re upgraded to business class and enter a world of champagne, glass and metal, starched tablecloths, leg room, big screens, reclineability, very hot food, real coffee, facecloths and separation from the person sitting next to you. I sleep, finished Doris Lessing, listen to music, despise “Star wars” out of the corner of my eye, and watch J using the flight path to reassure himself that the pilot isn’t flying over the Ukraine. As we approach Warsaw I read Szymborska’s poems (in translation of course) and listen to Chopin as I catch my first sight of the Palace of Culture.

We whizz through customs and refrain from getting our complimentary chauffeured car to ul Puławska. After all, we have a better offer: our Polish family is meeting us. And there they are, not only our immediate four but M’s brother and his family too. Jaś is ready with an immediate hug: Maja was more reticent. We are here, at last, on the other side of the world, in our second home.




About morselsandscraps

A retired Australian who spends a lot of time in Warsaw, and blogs as a way of life.
This entry was posted in photos, travelling and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to En route to the other side of the world

  1. You upgraded snob! Oh, the jealousy. Owl always maintains that it is my idea of travel garb that prevents us from the good fortune that you bastards just enjoyed.


  2. Jill's Scene says:

    Perfect! Poetry and Chopin as you arrive.


  3. Rosemary Barnard says:

    The comments button was so small that I missed it for your earlier post. Anyway, glad to know that you have arrived safely and what a welcome you had. Dubai airport is out to impress, big time. The orchid bowers of Singapore are more my style.


  4. Suzanne says:

    Some great photos . The travel seems to be inspiring your creativity.


    • Oddly, I think I was a bit more relaxed travelling in company. I took most of these shots sitting with the luggage while J scrutinised the departures board. I hope creativity returns: I feel flat right now. Your appreciation of my photos means a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Suzanne says:

        Such a big trip and with so many unknowns. Feeling flat is to be expected I guess. I wish you all the best with it all. It is still incredibly cold and wintery. I remember I once got to London in late April and found the trees were only just getting their spring blossom! All the best – Suzanne

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Madhu says:

    Oh to arrive at a destination in such style, and to be able to describe it so eloquently! Your photos are as creative as your writing Meg. This promises to be exciting 🙂


    • Don’t you always travel like this? I was a bit amused because I’d said before I left “I never lose my luggage” and “I would never travel business class.” A pretty nice kind of karma on the latter point!


  6. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Meg I love this, the journey is so important to me, I don’t mind the waits and delays and I’d be at the airport four hours early as well. One time I even chose to spend from 1am to 7.30 am at Heathrow and I was excited for every minute.
    I assume these airport photos are Dubai? What a stunning building!
    So many people meeting you, what joy and how loved you are. Your adventure has begun x 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are kindred spirits in so many ways! I usually get mocked for my early bird tendencies. One wastes a fair amount of life if one subtracts travel time. Yes the airport was Dubai: I was more interested in the architecture than the shops, especially the way the light fell. I didn’t manage to capture the great sheet of water fall near the train lift unfortunately.


  7. restlessjo says:

    Love the wiggly jiggly airport photos 🙂 Happy landings and good old Jas! (young 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

  8. desleyjane says:

    How lovely Meg. So glad you made it safe and sound and oh the upgrade – don’t ever knock it back, so much better for your comfortable arrival. I’m
    Dreading my next overseas economy flight – ugh. I loved this post, you took us with you. X


    • Business class certainly made the last leg a pleasure. I knocked an upgrade back once before. Now I wonder why. I thought they’d steal my frequent flyer points and I was hoarding them maybe? I still find travel a bit exciting – I hadn’t done a huge amount till twins.

      Liked by 1 person

      • desleyjane says:

        I haven’t travelled anywhere since early December and I’m extremely happy about that. But I’m about to start again which does not excite me. And I don’t have enough points anymore for anything more than economy 😭😭


  9. Heyjude says:

    Love the airport photos too. And your wonderful relaxed sounding journey. How is it that I travel so badly? You have reminded me to contact my son and find out when he is going to get me discounted flights to Oz! If only! Hope the jet-lag isn’t too bad and that you are settling into your apartment.


  10. I definitely wasn’t in a business suit and J definitely definitely wasn’t! I suspect it may have been my frequent flyers. I’ve been a lot more relaxed since I succumbed to an aisle seat, and learnt how to operate my entertainment centre and stopped watching junk movies. Good luck with another trip to Oz.

    The apartment is familiar. We’re about to brave the washing machine, and then (after pre-school drop off) to buy a toaster and a big saucepan. Then we’ll be set!


  11. pommepal says:

    Totally absorbed with your journey Meg. I chuckled about the missing suitcase, but you seem to take it all in your stride. I wonder who the mystery doorknocker was? Getting an up grade, lucky you, I have never had that luxury. I loved your artistic photos of Dubai (?) especially was fascinated with the camels in the first one, very atmospheric. I think I would’ve had a lump in my throat when you were greeted by your lovely family. I am a sucker for airport scenes of greetings and farewells. I’m with you and Gilly, I never get bored in airports always the anticipation and people watching is endlessly fascinating. What an exciting year ahead of you. The very thought of it gives me itchy feet.


    • I love your substantial and empathetic comments. I always feel as if I miss the full emotional effect of greetings either because I’m focused on the practicalities of leaving, or the jet lag of arriving. I never feel as if I rise to the occasion.

      I don’t think I quite believed my bag had gone, and I hadn’t started to enumerate what it contained when it reappeared. I was also very amused because I’d tempted fate by beginning the journey saying blithely “I never lose baggage”. My laptop wasn’t in it, but my swimmers, down jacket and alpaca socks were, so I would eventually have reached a position of deep regret.


  12. Sue says:

    Oh, what a wonderful ‘second home’-coming! Reading of your travels, I am getting itchy feet – and I’ve only just had 4 days in France! I wish you wonderful experiences, a rapid re-adjustment to a different time zone, and much love.


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