The flight from Melbourne to Kuala-Lumpur has a lot of empty seats on it. We'll presumably be picking up more people for the K-L to Dubai leg, same as happened last time; but until then, there's room enough for us to spread out a bit. Boarding began rather later than we expected, so we sat in the airport lounge with power points handy, meaning that I now have plenty of battery power - always a good thing for a geek! - and we're enjoying the luxury of Emirates service. Michael and David are sitting in their assigned seats, while I've nipped forward to the vacant seat row ahead. Takeoff (which happened at pi time, 03:14) requires that all electronics be securely stowed, so Traal gets to sit beside me, safely seatbelted in like any other passenger.
Airports generally bustle with activity at all hours of the day and night, but Tullamarine seemed actually to be quite asleep as we went through - more shops were closed than open, and everything was surprisingly quiet. I'm normally active at this sort of time, so the hour didn't faze me at all, but Michael and David seem to prefer the quieter life. Well, let 'em sleep... we have a few hours ahead of us before the K-L stop.
Bilinguality is made fairly convenient when one of the languages reads left to right and the other right to left. Small brochures like the in-flight menu have the English first AND the Arabic first.
Now to sort out the in-flight entertainment system so I get some nice music as well as the downward-looking camera... Phantom of the Opera will do nicely.
06:20 (still on Melbourne time). A glance at the map gives some idea of how vast Australia is. We've been flying for a good three hours (that's longer than a bad three hours, in case you're wondering), are well on the way to our first landing, and where are we? Cruising over the desert of Western Australia toward Broome. Based on the "Airshow" (real-time map display and trip information) data, I expect we won't cross the coast for another hour or two.
07:25. As estimates go, not too bad. We're now heading out to sea past Broome. That's four hours of flying and more than half of the journey before we leave our native (golden) soil behind us.
09:39. Breakfast was a rather delicious omelette with some oddments including a bread roll, for which strawberry jam was provided. On seeing the latter, I immediately began whistling Sorcerer, but stopped on realising that the remaining ingredient would never be served on an Arab airline. However, we did have the opportunity for some Sound of Music when the hot drinks were brought around. (I think both my readers will recognize those references.)
Over breakfast Michael and I discuss the pressure vessels found in breakfast - can of soft drink, cup of orange juice with foil on top, bread roll sealed in plastic bag - and the possibility that they're deliberately pressurised to 8,000 feet the way the plane is. It seems likely enough; there's definitely enough business worldwide to justify making items unique to the airline industry, and overpressured foodstuffs would make for regular disasters at altitude.
It's now light outside, but the downward camera is hardly exciting. Seems there's some cloud between us and the earth - pesky stuff, that, pity it's so essential to life! Meanwhile, across on the other aisle, cabin crew take a photo of a young family using what is unmistakably a Polaroid, complete with the classic "shake the pic to make it develop faster" (no idea whether or not that actually works, I don't use Polaroid).
Touchdown at 10:55 Melbourne time or 8:55 local time (three TZs away but DST). Extremely smooth - almost a three-pointer. We popped out of the clouds straight onto the piano keys.
I'm posting this hastily from KL's free wifi. Unfortunately there's no non-HTTP access, so unless I can mail home a CGI script that'll let me access other things via Apache, it's not looking good... but hey, I can post this. And I claim 22.214.171.124 among my trophies. :)