Visitor

Ian, a bloke I’ve known online for about three years, and met in person in Birmingham in 1999, has descended on Melbourne. Sydneysiders will find this hard to believe, but he’s been wanting to come here for years – possibly decades. Unfortunately his arrival yesterday was far from ideal.

The airlines, at least the ones that fly to North America, were already in a state of flux last week after the terrible events in the United States. Things weren’t helped one little bit when on Thursday, one of the domestic airlines, Ansett,stopped flying. Just like that. All operations stopped by their voluntary administrators (who you can bet aren’t actually volunteers, but are pulling in a pile of cash for doing it!), because they were burning too much money.

So, Ian was due to fly on Qantas from Sydney at 1pm, and arrive around 2:30pm. He finally flew around 5:55. They did a quick turnaround of the aircraft, and thus nobody got any food. They started serving drinks, but forgot his part of the plane, until too late, when they were approaching Melbourne. He touched down in Melbourne around 7:15, almost five hours late! And after that he waited over an hour for his luggage. So whereas I had expected to be able to meet up with him around 4pm, it was almost 10pm by the time we finally shook hands outside his hotel in Carlton, before running off to Lygon Street to scoff down some pizza.

Despite having endured the wonders of Australia’s modern, efficient aviation system, he seemed in remarkably good spirits.

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