The flights and Arrival:
We flew Qatar from Perth to Doha. We left home at 730pm to catch our 1130pm flight. In hindsight that was very early and we had to sit around the airport for quite a while. We sat behind what I’m not calling the ‘baby row’ where the bassinets go and had to put up with screaming children until their parents settled them during the take off. Thankfully we were both extremely tired from work so slept a significant portion of the first half of the flight. Bel had earlier that day carried an entire box of envelopes in her public servant job which had exhausted her (I think it was more the flue shot that exhausted me – Bel). I had asked for a window seat as it gave me slightly more leg room – I can stretch my left leg fully down the gap between the seat in front’s support and the wall of the cabin, also leaving more room for baggage under the seat in front.
After landing in Doha we had to rush through an additional round of security to get to our next flight QR007 to London’s Heathrow which meant dumping our water bottles again. Bel managed quite a bit more sleep on this flight. The woman in the seat behind me thought it was appropriate to put her feet on the edge of my arm rest, first on the left hand side where i had shoved my pillow. I only noticed when I felt something tugging on it when she was curling her toes. I gave her the evil eye when she put her right foot on the back of my right arm rest. I did not have my seat all the way back, unlike the man in front of Bel who, aside from extending his seat, also had the extra leg room of an emergency exit. I guess some people are just born arseholes. Going forward, I think flying business class might be on the cards.
The in flight commercials played before each episode/movie were overtly sexist. The women in Qatar clearly only aspire to be married/housewives. We had two chicken sausage and omelette breakfasts on the journey and one dinner. The total travel time was 21 hours.
Landing in Heathrow and getting through customs was an uninteresting affair. The taxi-driver had a daughter living in Perth (of course).
The hotel room is small, but ok. The bed frame is wicker, unfortunately quite dusty and causing Bel and I to sneeze a bit.
Getting UK Data:
We were able to sort out local sim cards as per my plan. Luckily there was a Vodafone around the corner from the hotel. The girl who served us was very friendly and from Chichester, which we discovered when we told her we were going to Porstsmouth. Apparently they’re quite close. I also now know there is a university in Chichester which has the lowest drop-out rate in the country.
We had Nandos for dinner, where in my jet-lagged state left my Ansett beanie. I only discovered it was missing the next morning when it was very cold!
We woke at about 430am and called my parents to say hello as they’ll be joining us in Torquay in a week. Having nothing really planned we decided to do the bus tour of London, the London Eye and the Imperial War Museum. We had McDonalds for breakfast as the hotel’s kitchen didn’t open until 8am on Sunday.
The hotel had given us a map of London which had a 20% discount on the bus tour which was very convenient. We walked to the bus tour office (a 5 min walk) and were able to sort out our tickets.
The bus gave us an excuse to quickly see a few things we otherwise wouldn’t have bothered to – eg Buckingham Palace and dropped us off at the Eye.
We arrived at the London Eye and paid the extra £10 each for the express queue. (which was horrendously expensive – Bel). The joy of having the shorter queue was dampened by being in a pod with some selfish people who stood in the best spot to see Big Ben et al for most of the rotation. Leading Bel and I to think there needs to be a word to describe being angry at other tourists.
Despite that, the view was not bad, although overpriced (even without the shorten-the-line-extra). We saw a fox living in a construction site on the way to the Imperial War Museum (IWM).
The IWM was quite enjoyable (in a depressing way) and we had the £5 special of a sausage-roll and salad for lunch. Bel was very happy to eat something green. The piece of the North Trade Tower was quite sobering, as was the Holocaust display. We took the tube back to our hotel and picked up my beanie on the way. The poor workers at Nando’s didn’t know what a beanie was (English was no their first language, however did understand blue + putting on beanie gesture).