Back to Brisbane! (My First Layover)

Feb 18, 2010

In 2008 I called the beautiful city of Brisbane, Australia my home. When I left I promised myself that one day I'd return. As you can imagine, I was thrilled when I checked my roster and discovered that my very first layover flight was to Brisbane and Auckland.
I planned my trip out... what I would do, where I would go, what I must take photos of, and most importantly... the foods that I'd missed and must eat.
At 5 am I had to drag myself out of bed. Going to Australia was exciting, but the realization that I'd be working a 15 hour flight put a bit of a damper on my motivation. I managed to shower and finish some last minute packing, and it was off to the airport. I met the rest of the crew in the briefing, and once again, everyone seemed nice. I was a little intimidated... we'd be spending 6 days together and I was the newest member of the crew, still a bit slow and confused with service. I had my fingers crossed that they would be nice.
The flight was full, but the passengers were great. The thing about flying to some of the destinations is that the majority of the passengers have never been on a plane in their life. You find yourself stowing bags, trying to get everyone to sit down in time for take off, and answering never ending call bells. The passengers headed to Brisbane knew what they were doing. Shortly after serving dinner, everyone was asleep and I had time to sit and relax. I eat far too much onboard, because not only is food there and available whenever I want, but often there isn't a lot else to do. Later on in the flight I was able to go to the CRC (Crew Rest Compartment) for the first time ever! I changed into my crew pajamas and crawled down the ladder, found the first available bunk, and let the turbulence rock me to sleep. I was woken a couple of hours later to return to the cabin and serve breakfast. Then it was time to land! We arrived in Brisbane at 6 am, and as we left the airport we were immediately met by hot, humid air. Oh Australia, I've missed you. It wasn't quite as pleasant wearing a uniform in the scorching heat, as we waited for our bus driver to show up and take us to our hotel. Once we'd finally checked in, I had 2 options. My body was urging me to sleep, but I didn't listen. I changed into a summer dress (showing my shoulders for the first time in a couple of months) and ventured out to explore Brisbane. First stop, food. I've been missing sushi like crazy, as it's not as commonly found in the middle east. I grabbed some sushi rolls and a bubble tea, loving life and loving my job. I wandered to the botanical gardens, stumbling across the cafe where I used to work. After 2 months of Dubai, the trees, grass and nature in general were a welcome relief. The air was so fresh and so clean!
I spent the entire day wandering the city... walking until my feet had blisters. I took photos of the places that I'd taken hundreds of photos of before. Eventually I made my way back to the hotel. Exhausted, I headed to bed early to prepare for my 5 am wake up call the next morning.
Despite the early morning, I was very excited to head to Auckland. I'd never been to New Zealand, but I'd dreamt of it for a couple of years. After we'd arrived at the airport, I felt like goldfish in a bowl... everyone stopped and stared as we made our way through to the gate. It must be the red hats. I smiled and took it all in, feeling a little bit like a celebrity. "This happens every time", another crew member assured me, "and you'll never get sick of it." After a quick briefing we boarded the plane, looking forward to a short flight and eating mussels while sipping cocktails in Auckland. We all groaned as the Captain made a PA informing us of a 2 hour delay while engineering looked into an issue. A short while later, he announced that it would be closer to 5 hours, as they needed to fly a part in from Sydney. Well, that sucks. We were fortunate enough that our passengers had not yet boarded. All of our flight preps had been completed and all that was left to do was wait. Micheal Jackson played through the cabin as we ate and drank cappuccinos. I grabbed my camera and headed through the cabin, snapping photos of the first and business class cabins. The captain spotted me and insisted "Come here, come take a real photo." He led me to the cockpit, pointed to his seat and placed his hat on my head. I was so excited, and the other crew members were jealous later on when I showed them the photo. We were melting inside the cabin due to lack of air conditioning when the captain made one more PA "Guys, we are staying in Brisbane. On behalf of Emirates and the entire crew, I'd like to apologize to Krysta who was very excited for Auckland." I was quite upset by the situation, but on the bright side, I was still in Australia. We headed back to the hotel and checked in once again, awaiting news of what was going to happen next. Would we go to Auckland? Would we spend 2 more days in Brisbane? The crew assured me that a note would be placed under my door that evening, and that I could go out and enjoy the day. I would have loved to, but it was raining. Not just a little sprinkle, but pouring rain. People were coming into the hotel completely soaked. I took the opportunity to head to the computers in the crew internet room and catch up on Facebook. Eventually it stopped raining long enough for me to head out and grab a bite to eat, only to start again a short while later. I found the note on my door, informing me that I'd be flying back to Dubai the next evening, a day early. I'd have to stay up late to be able to sleep through the day in preparation for the long flight home. I sat in my hotel room, flicking through the channels, feeling extremely patriotic whenever the Olympics came on. Whenever the cameras would show the audience waving their Canadian flags, a wave of homesickness would hit me. I was so happy to be in Australia, but it's been over 2 months away from home now, so I do miss it (and the people in it) quite a bit some days. I watched the local news and learnt that the rainfall was the heaviest in one day than it had been for 9 years. The city was dealing with major flooding. Typical, the city is suffering a major drought, but when I arrive they flood.
I couldn't bear sitting in the hotel room the entire evening. I found the first store that was still open and invested in an umbrella, determined to cross the bridge to take photos of the city. My umbrella sucked, but I made it. I took a few quick photos before I was forced to return to the hotel. Once again, the rain was pouring down and I didn't want to risk ruining my camera. At around 1 am, the rain stopped. I went to the internet room in an attempt to catch Ryan online after a few days of very little communication. At around 2 am I realized that I was starving, and set out to satisfy my pancake cravings. Fortunately I remembered that the Pancake Manor was open 24 hours a day, so I happily walked to the restaurant and ordered an amazing stack of pancakes coated with fresh strawberries and cream. Delicious. It was technically still Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day in Canada. I decided to walk off the pancakes. It was a beautiful night, so I made my way to Story Bridge, took a mass amount of photos, and admired the beauty of Brisbane by night. Finally, at 4 am, I returned to my hotel room and crawled into bed.
The next afternoon I woke up, grabbed some sushi and bubble tea one final time, and got ready for my flight home. It was a long 14 hours and 5 minutes, but we eventually landed just past 5 in the morning.
Home sweet Dubai.
No New Zealand this time around, but all in all it was a pretty lovely first layover. Best of all, this is my JOB! Once upon a time I saved every single penny with one goal in mind... flights to Australia. Now I get paid to go there. Life is amazing. I'm eagerly awaiting Jakarta next week!


Unknown said...

Krysta! Glad you could enjoy a bit of "my" city while you were here! It's been crazy humid because of the rain, but still it's nice to get some moisture for once. I'm glad you enjoyed what little time you spent here, and if/when you ever come back and want to meet a flickr friend for coffee, let me know!

Krysta said...

Hey Brady! I loved the short time that I was there. Brisbane remains one of my favorite cities. :) Of course the rain would all come when I was there, it's my typical luck. Haha. I'll let you know next time I'm there!

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