21st April 2012 – It was 7.30 a.m. when we made our way to the airport for a 2 week vacation down under. Once we arrived at the airport, we went straight to the departure hall for check-in. OMG…the snake queue for check-in is very long. Glad that we still have 1 1/2 hours before departure time. By the time the nice lady gave us our boarding pass, there’s still about 1 hour left. We decided to go straight to the gate. The process through custom, immigration and security went smoothly. My travel buddy made a detour to the duty free shop to get her cheap stock of cigarettes. It’s 9.00 a.m. and we haven’t had breakfast…my stomach starts to sing loudly. By 9.15 a.m. we were called to board flight MH135 to Brisbane.
The flight to Brisbane from Kuala Lumpur takes 8 hours. We make ourselves comfortable, tucking in the pillow and blanket nicely and checked the available in flight entertainment. 10 minutes after take-off, the captain made an announcement that meal will be served in 45 minutes. It’s about time. I think even those in the back seat could hear my stomach rumbling. I watched the latest Mission Impossible movie while keenly wait for the meal to be served. I opted for “nasi lemak” special Malaysian breakfast rice cooked with coconut milk and chicken curry instead of beef and omelet.
After we had finished our meal, the cabin crew distributed the Australian arrival and custom cards that we need to fill up. There’s the standard questions like flight origin, your next port of departure, reasons for coming to Australia, how long you will be in the country etc. etc. The customs card asked more specific questions like whether you bring in drugs or medicines, food, money equivalent to more than AUD$10,000 etc. etc. The best thing is to answer the questions correctly and truthfully so if you are asked the same questions on arrival you will be able to give a consistent answer. This is our first time to Australia. Friends and family members who had been here have warned us that the Australian customs used dogs to sniff at you and your bags. And we are quite paranoid with the big breed such as Rottweiler and Alsatian. Those foods that contain dairy products would be confiscated. Those foods that were not packed properly would also be confiscated. To be asked to open your bags is common in Australian airport. So we are mentally prepared for this.
The time difference between Malaysia and Australia is only 2 hours. I choose not to sleep. After the MI movie, it’s game time. Bejeweled and Sudoku took their turns and when my legs felt tired sitting, I just walked around the cabin, chatted with the cabin crew and asked for water and peanuts.
Flight MH135 from KUL to BNE safely landed at Brisbane International Airport at 7.37 p.m., 8 minutes earlier than schedule. Immigration clearance was quick. While waiting for our baggage at the baggage claim carousel, customs officers asked to look at our custom card. They circled at some of the questions. Once we had our bags, we had to walk through the custom check lane. There are a few custom officers waiting to ask you questions. Those passengers in front of us were asked to go to the tables to open their bags. We saw only a small dog (not sure about the breed though) sniffing around. When it’s time for my turn, the officer asked me what type of drugs you brought in. I said they are medicines for my asthma and motion sickness. What type of food did you bring in? I said in brought along some instant noodles, canned food and spices to be given to my nephew who’s studying at Queensland University. And the customs officer said ok and asked me to go straight for the exit. Then it’s my travel buddy turn to be questioned by the custom officer. From her face she looked worried. She quickly said to the officer I’m the same with her. We travel together. The officer said go on then. We just cannot believe our luck…no dog sniffing and opening of bags.
Taking the coach to the city center will cost us about AUD$33 and we need to wait for another 1 hour. So we decided to get a cab instead. It was a good decision indeed. The traffic was smooth and the cab cost us AUD$40. By 8.45 p.m. we are already checked in at our 4 bed dorm at YHA Brisbane City. My nephew had promised to meet up at the hostel at 9 p.m. So we waited at the hostel reception. Hmmm….it’s already 9.45 p.m. and he had not turned up. Feeling very hungry again we decided to look for a fast food outlet for a quick bite. Unfortunately they were all closed. We walked down for almost 1 km before we bumped into 7-Eleven, a 24 hour convenience store. We bought some bread and orange juice. I told my travel partner, looks like we going to have instant noodle tonight.
Back at the hostel, there’s still no sight of my nephew. We prepared our instant noodle for dinner at the hostel kitchen. There’s a great view of Brisbane city from the roof terrace. Later at the dorm, I switched on my mobile. My nephew did message that he was here at 10.45 p.m but I was at the kitchen. I messaged back to him that we meet up tomorrow for dinner at the city centre.
Our 4 bed dorm is quite small and a bit crammed. I’m glad I was able to get the lower bunk. Our dorm mates are asleep, so we quietly put our things away and go to bed. It has been a long day.