After driving for three hours through the Peak District with Dad shouting at the sat nav in varying levels of annoyance to rage we managed to get to Manchester Airport. Check in was a breeze other than getting my bag checked twice for wires and electronics, sounds like I was planning on wheeling and dealing Del Boy style, just wanted to make sure my kindle and phone didn't die.
Having never been on a long haul flight, I was so excited to have my own TV, computer and music system I started flicking through the films before take off and of course what's apping my Mum pictures - standard. We ended up taking off hour and a half late and in that time I didn't waste a moment in chatting to the lady next to me who was from South Africa and a nurse. We got on really well and chatted none stop for most of the flight.
My ears are ridiculous when flying so I had a bumper bag of sweets to keep me from crying. One of the flight attendants walked past me, sneakily took a couple of my sweets and then turned back to wink at me, before carrying on down the aisle. Later on he came back with a trolley of FREE alcohol!
I asked if I could have two baileys instead of one to which he replied 'no, you can have three, pay you back for earlier'. Brilliant, and I got extra snacks and drinks throughout. Think he got a bit disappointed when I switched to mango juice never felt so drunk so quick and it had set myself the task of watching at least three films: managed to get through American Hustle, Saving mr Banks and dozed through Dallas Buyers club. I got woken up as we were landing and the lady next to me was being chatted up by the sleazy bloke next to her, whose eyes didn't focus and whose breath smelt like the Heineken hop house. He did start with a sterling line ' so, I've err, just been kicked out of my flat by my Landlord for having too many ladies in the house- about 10- and they were towards the end mostly Thai, but I'm not a w**** - it's just not allowed in Tunisia, so how about me and you grab a coffee and, wait for it, deal breaker, a sandwich'
Needless to say we did a runner and she didn't even grace him with an answer.
Dubai was great, 39 degrees, huge and very fragrant. I particularly liked the big lake, waterfall, palm tree oasis in the middle of the mall!
Met another lovely lady on the flight from Dubai to Jakarta she was an international English teacher from Devon and spoke fluent Indonesian. We bonded through tears as we watched Philomena together and then she helped me get my visa, bags and my way through the airport and said to stay in contact if I ever wanted a job. Great networking session accompanied by noodles and cake!
Finally landed to a wall of heat and humidity and Megan's blonde little head in the crowd.
As we were driving to her apartment I saw a man on a very small moped with his 7 year old daughter sat in front of him holding the handle bars, his wife behind him grasping him with her knees and in her arms a 3 month old baby, and he was driving like a goon, none of them had a helmet on. Made my stomach flip. Sitting in traffic kids, adults, women come up to the window playing the guitar, singing or offering water to get money. Megan told me to 'not look at them and they'll go away' physically turning your back on someone was tough- didn't like that.
Anyway we arrived back at the complex where it had flooded and Megan had been wheeled out on a trolley before. We managed to drive through the water the spray coming up to the windows and we were in a 4x4.
Safely settled in and packed for Bali we are now enjoying some hot chocolate and watching the fireworks.
Today is the eve of idul fitri which is the national Muslim holiday, a bit like our Christmas. The mosques are echoing across the skies and the street vendors are cooking up plumes of spicy smoke as they celebrate the end of Ramadan.