For those of you following my blog you will recall that I wanted to reminisce this month about travelling throughout the UK whilst doing care work for the last twenty eight years. However, the memory from my goody bag was looming large, especially at the moment so I decided to focus on that instead. Plus, hopefully, it will give you a few laughs. We can sure use as many of those as possible at the moment!
Emirates business class…aka silver lining.
I tore it off my bag to throw away, then I thought, no, I may never do this again, I’ll keep it.
It will make me smile and it does.
Once upon a time, the over-thinker and planner had all her ducks in a row. Yep, that’s me.
I even altered my flight dates to make sure I didn’t miss the cherry season. 😉
So, with just 4 days to go before my trip from France to Australia I thought I better do my visa.
90 days for us Brits. I had done it before online. Simple. The reply and visa appeared the same day. I had all my passwords (there are 5!) at the ready.
It was a Friday and what I hadn’t considered was the fact that the actual real live human beings (?) that okay these things work in offices, Monday to Friday.
Friday afternoon, of course, in Nice is Saturday morning in Sydney.
Don’t panic, I said to myself to no avail.
Survival mode kicked in as I thought…Ok, I am stopping over in Bangkok for one night and I don’t need a visa for that and hopefully by the next morning and due to board a flight to Sydney my Aus visa will have popped up.
Yep, all good here…breathe…argh!
But would the nice Emirates lady at check-in at 4 a.m on Tuesday morning ‘see’ on my electronic passport info that my Aus visa hasn’t uploaded?
Nope, all good here…breathe…argh!
Undaunted (yeah, right) I duly filled out the online visa application.
Now you maybe asking…Why oh why did I leave this until the last minute?
The answer is genetic. My dad had a childlike propensity to see things quite literally which was borderline, stupidity!
More of that another time but somehow I had it in my head that I had to apply for the 90 days visa within the 90 days of travel.
Sadly, I still suffer occasionally from this condition. The latest being the Covid testing… to be done 72 hours before flying. So I was about to book a test for exactly that. 11.25 a.m. 72 hours before flying…
D’oh. Luckily when I suggested this, I couldn’t see the woman’s face doing the booking as it was over the phone. “Erm, WITHIN 72 hours, madam.”
Well, hello, why didn’t the online information say that? I thought.
So back to my Aussie visa dilemma.
Saturday morning in France and I got an email from Aus visa application. Something along the lines of…
Please note: Our website will be down for maintenance on Monday.
Not at all good here…can’t breath…Argh!
But hang on, their Monday will be over by Tuesday in France or something.
Head hurts, can’t breathe. Self induced panic attack.
Meanwhile, I practice in the mirror.
Me facing Emirates check-in.
“Do you have a visa for Australia?”
Me: “Sure, yes, I do.”
Keep eye contact, keep calm. Visualise the email with visa attached.
All good here…
Me: “My visa will be through by the time I get to Bangkok. No worries ( practising Aussie speak already)
As I was getting a lift from a friend to Nice airport on theTuesday morning at 3.30 a.m I hadn’t planned on much sleep…anyway.
But checking my emails from midnight onwards every 30 seconds pretty much occupied my time.
Sat in my friend’s car enroute to the airport I knew my expression was stuck in ‘deer in the headlights’ mode!
So much for the confident, almost blase gaze of the world traveller I had been practising. Haha.
Nice airport. Coffee? Why not? I couldn’t be any more wired!
Then it happened. 04.10 a.m Ping, ping. Two emails.
The first from Emirates.
Argh, they have discovered I have no visa and cancelled my flight!
Nope. Offering me an upgrade???!!!
The second email was my approved visa application!!!
Hence, I decided that although I did have to pay for an upgrade it was only a fraction of the full business class fare to Bangkok.
Swanning past the poor people in steerage I elegantly plonked down into my business class, fully reclining, as in flat out, seat!
I sat up. I pressed the lever, I lay down and repeat. We hadn’t even taken off yet but I decided I better stop for fear of breaking the mechanism.
So, was the wait and the upgrade worth it?
And proof of my good planning…
Cherries and my favourite chocolate all in one shop in Coogee, NSW. Australia.
When life offers you cherries? Grab it with both hands!
And remember, we’re worth it.