Today officially marks Australia’s first day of winter. I’ve been hearing in the news that this winter will be a relatively mild one but I’m not getting my hopes up. When I arrived last Saturday, I was greeted by 12-degree C temperatures. Granted that this was 5:30 in the morning, it didn’t heat up much as the day wore on.
Of the three, I think I was the most resilient against the cold weather of the UK having endured six winters in Sydney. (This will be my seventh winter. Wow, how time flies!) We may not have snow, but we do get really low, low temperatures. I think the lowest I’ve ever experienced was a 1-degree C morning! So I arrive in Sydney and in just one day, I get a full-blown fever! Curses! In the UK, I had, at most, three layers of clothing but the other day, I had on four layers and had the heater turned on. And I was underneath a very thick doona. I truly had trangkaso.
I started to feel hot midway through the flight from London to Singapore. And no, it had nothing to do with the Scottish Rugby Team also on that flight. During this leg of the trip, I was both fortunate and unfortunate enough to have been sitting next to this old English couple. The wife had had a hip surgery recently and required a lot of leg room. Apparently, the husband had specifically requested that the extra seat (my seat) would be left vacant so that she could stretch out. They had even paid extra for requesting those seats. Well, I paid an extra $20 for my seat as well, I said, but that I would be more than happy to move to any other vacant seats as the flight was not full anyway. He was not annoyed at me but rather, he kept on ranting about how British Airways was so inefficient and how we were both ripped off because apparently, the other people on the opposite side of our row, enjoying the same comforts of having extra leg room, didn’t have to pay extra. They were just given the seats when the checked in! Did I really care? Not really. I paid because I wanted the comfort. I couldn’t have cared less about what other people did or did not pay for so long as I got what I paid for. At this stage, I was already feeling the onset of fever and really didn’t have the patience to empathize with a slightly annoying senior citizen. But my nicer side got the better of me and I did continue to smile and be nice and understanding. Maybe that’s why God rewarded me with with four vacant seats in a different row! I didn’t move, the couple moved. She needed to lie down and so when we had taken off and the seatbelt sign had been switched off, the flight attendants allowed them to move seats. I thought I was home-free with two vacant seats beside me in an area of the plane with extra leg room. Thank you, Jesus! But my flight was not to be a fully undisturbed one. At least three times during the flight, the hubby would come back to his original seat and rest there or chat to me. From our little conversations, I found out he was 71 years old and that he and his wife lived in Perth. He said he used to work in the financial industry and so traveled around a lot. He has a son (or step-son) living close to Manly beach who used to be a national volleyball player of some sort. Blah, blah, blah.
I really wished I had taken a double dose of Benadryl to knock me out for the nearly 12-hour or so flight so that I didn’t have to endure the chit-chat. I’m usually very friendly on airplanes and engage in conversations with seat mates. But this time, I was really feeling ill and wasn’t sure how to say “leave me alone” without sounding like a total bitch. Wonder of wonders, we arrive in Singapore! And thank God that my next two seat mates were poles apart from the ones I previously had. They were a Kiwi couple who were on their way back to Auckland from a 6-week trip to the UK and Europe. During our conversations, we figured out that we had been in Paris at about the same time! I also found out that the woman had been to the Manila about 20 years ago when she was working for a retail company. She said she loved Manila and all the adventures that she and her girl friend had got themselves into when they were there. She remembers Imelda’s shoes and Hinulugang Taktak and World Trade Center where she attended a textile convention. Unlike my previous seat mate, she actually knew when to stop chatting. We both watched a movie – I saw Chronicle and she finished War Horse – and then went to sleep. The hubby was reading his book on his Kindle. The next time we talked again, we were having breakfast and were close to landing in Sydney. They were very nice and the man took down my backpack from the overhead compartment. We said our goodbyes and wished each other well. I forgot to mention, the other couple didn’t even say goodbye. Well, the woman did. The man just smiled and went about his mildly grumpy old way. He wasn’t rude to me, in fact, he was very nice. I just didn’t like the way he treated the flight attendants and the way he talked about other people [read: the people on the other end of the aisle who didn’t pay extra for their extra leg room seats].
Oh wait, I was meant to talk about winter and the flu. Hahaha! Long story short, I had the flu and was only able to go to work on Monday (May 28) and the morning of Tuesday. Then I was dead for the next two days. I turned up to work today and I’m getting better every day. I just flushed the heck out of my flu with Biogesic, Ventolin syrup, litres and litres of mango/orange juice and gallons of water. Of course, Bengay and Deep Heat helped with the joint pains. Winter is upon us and I don’t want to get sick again so I’m going to layer on the clothes and keep the heater on. I’ve also been using Frankie’s gift, a bandana/scarf. It’s proved very useful for keeping my neck warm. 🙂