Have made it to Sydney after the journey-from-hell (overexaggeration, but I'm tired and exhausted and it FELT like that at the time!).
Left the wildlife rescue centre at 11am, for a 3-4hour taxi ride to Bangkok Airport. Had the 'sleazy' driver, who asked if I had a boyfriend, kept scratching his hairy belly and spent the entire journey talking on the phone, checking his phone, texting, and at a couple of points, talking on TWO phones at once, whilst driving in true thai style by meandering accross lanes, never indicating. So I arrived at the airport Stressed!
Was relieved to get there at 3pm, a couple hours before I needed to check in, but ideal to satisfy my worry-head. Wnet to 'early check-in', to be informed by the check-in guy that my flight was 19.50 on the 12th, not the 11th as I had thought! It was on the ticket, clear as could be, have NO IDEA how I mis-read it. So that was a shock, had visions of 30hours in the airport, which, although nice, is not THAT nice, or paying a fortune for a hotel or something. Me being the brave and seasoned traveler that I now am, my first reaction, straight away was to go and sit on my trolly in a corner and cry, and phone mama&dada. Hahaha, I am so NOT as brave and independant as I mgiht like to think!
After talking through the options, I decided to try to change the flight to the 11th so I could still fly that eve... emirates lady said I could, for FREE!! Was so happy I could have hugged her! So back to check-in then had SECOND stress of the day, when there was a problem with my visa, they couldn't figure out what, it didn't register on their system blah blah blah, eventually realised it was coz my passport number on it was my OLD one and didn't match my current, which I renewed scince I applied for it, and BAD realgap didn't spot that it would be a problem even though I told them about my passport change. So 20 nail-biting minutes while the lady phoned people and checked and stuff, but eventually she said it would be ok, so got to go through.
Flew at 1950.. got an aisle seat but was sat next to a lady with two small kids, 2seats between them so the little boy was on her lap the whole way, wriggling, screaming, sleeping and generally invading my personal space. I think even a child-lover would have been a bit pissed off. I acutally felt sorry for her, though, she had come from Glasgow, already flown Glas-Dubai-Bangkok, been traveling for 24hours or something, and she was EMIGRATING! Like, going for good! No wonder the kid was tired and grizzly and confused. Recommend Emirates food! Dunno about the meat, but the veg options are really tasty and nice, lots of side-salads and fruit and stuff! I drunk on the plane for the first time, I know it's not recommended, but with that kid next to me, kept falling asleep and his head would loll on me and I kept thinking about nits and he had grubby little hands everywhere and just GROSS. So it was complimentary vodka-and-oranges for the first couple hours, and they were so good! Made me so much more chilled out and think maybe that was the reason why the flight seemed to go pretty fast.
Arrived in Sydney 7.45am, 20C, cloudy/sunny.Australians are crazy-strict about quarantine, signs everywhere saying 'declare it' and about fines and penalties and stuff. I declared my hiking boots (risk of soil) and had to take them out of my backpack at quarantine to be inspected. Luckily I had been forewarned (thanks, Gizzy!) and scrubbed them before I left. The quarantine official was really impressed, she said "that's what we like to see, well done!". Unlike every other country I have visited, the aussie customs/quarantine/passport officials were all SO nice, the passport guy was making cheerful smalltalk with me as he checked my details. So nice for a change!
The hostel I am booked into from tomorrow night is booked up but got a bed in a dorm in another YHA nearby, is SOOO expensive after Thailand, I paid 40$ for the bed and 14$ for the transfer from the hotel... that's like a WEEKS worth of thai spending. Ouch. So am here now, can't checkin til 1pm, but put my big bag in the store, got some internet and am going to go for breakfast and a wander in a little bit.
Arg, such a stressful 24hours! But am here now and glad to be :)