– The adventures of a solo round the world cyclist –

Day 1011 (France Day 10) / Day 1012 (Home)

Thanks to my preparation, I faced a cruisy morning as I completed my packing in readiness for my taxi ride and flight home. I had been worried about getting my bike down five storeys of a spiral staircase, but it turned out to be easy – I just stood below it and directed it around as gravity did all the work. The taxi driver was a nice guy and when I told him about falling for an Italian girl and rushing to London to have dinner with her, he played an Italian song about a girl who misses a guy who moved away. He told me to send it to her.

The doors at which I was dropped off at the airport were right next to my check in counter, so I didn’t have to travel very far with my laden trolley. I was one of the first ones in line too and got served relatively quickly. I was a little depressed to learn that despite sending a couple of packages home already, I was 10kg overweight. My prepared hand luggage weighed 11kg, when it should only be 7kg, and the rest weighed about 38kg when it should only be 32kg. The guy serving me brushed over the fact that my hand luggage was over, but couldn’t really let me off the other 6kg. I cringed as I was told the overweight fee is a huge 408 euro. I couldn’t help doing the maths, working out that if I had sent the 6kg my mail, then I would have saved myself at least AU$400, and if I had sent the full 10kg home, I would have saved myself about AU$300. Oh well. Luggage sorted, I went upstairs and proceeded through security without issues. Near my gate I hunkered down on some seats for a nap. About 45 minutes before boarding I had some very ordinary McDonalds.

As luck would have it, I think I scored the best seat that economy offers. I was in the emergency area so had more leg room than I needed. Not only this, but my leg space opened into a walkthrough area, so I could get up and move around without having to disturb anyone. Unfortunately, not having a seat directly in front of me meant I had no TV screen. I decided to wait until the plane was settled in the air before asking if they had a handheld tablet I could use to access the amazing entertainment services that Emirates offers. It was while waiting that I looked around properly and noticed that others in the area already had a little screen. Lo and behold I discovered that I did indeed have one, I just had to fold it up from beside my seat. Perfect!

In Dubai airport, I got a bit of a shock when I showed my boarding pass to a guy in order to access my gate, but was alerted to the fact that my seat was on “standby” and I would have to see the agent to secure a boarding pass. I immediately thought that maybe my ticket wasn’t guaranteed. I prepared myself to put up a polite fight as at no point had I been told my ticket was on standby. At the agent’s desk I handed my boarding pass over and waited for their response. “You have been upgraded”, I was told. “To what?” I asked. “Business class”. “You’re kidding!”. “No, it looks like economy is full so we have no choice but to bump you up to business class”. So followed an incredibly pleasant ride home from Dubai to Perth. After settling in to my seat, I asked a stewardess if she could explain how business class works. Another passenger across the aisle was also happy to hear this as she too had been upgraded from an economy seat. Once in the air I got a shock when I was asked if I wanted a mattress. Seriously, a mattress?! I don’t think I have ever drunk alcohol on a plane before (my go-to drink is lemonade), but I decided I had to enjoy at least one. I went to the bar and got a Bloody Mary. In between a couple of movies, I enjoyed sleeping completely horizontally with a full pillow, blanket and mattress. Heaven!

It was 6pm and 34 degrees when I landed in Perth. Incredibly, I passed through immigration and customs in less than ten minutes. I didn’t even have to wait for my bags – being oversized and labelled as fragile, my gear had priority service and was dropped off personally as I approached the belt. Customs didn’t bat an eyelid about the fact I had a bike with me. All of a sudden I was walking out and being greeted by my mum, dad and sister.

Waiting for the taxi

Accommodation Home
Distance ridden today 0km
Total distance ridden 29,600km

2 Responses to “Day 1011 (France Day 10) / Day 1012 (Home)”

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