Saturday 6 April. Finally the big day arrived, and we were delivered to Brisbane International Airport to board our first flight, an Airbus A330, Qantas flight QF97, bound for Hong Kong.
As an aside, it appears that the Brisbane Airport Corporation is now running the Airport as a sideline to their extensive (and expensive) carparking business and myriad other retail outlets in the terminal building. The Airport operations come a poor second, with long queues at Security and Passport control, very surly staff and delays and congestion with only one runway available for use. I don’t know what our foreign visitors would think of this, compared to the efficient operation of many overseas airports, especially in Asia.
The flight was full and quite comfortable. As airline food goes, the food was OK. There were delays before we could land, and the baggage took an hour or so after we landed to come through. (Are they copying Brisbane Airport?) We waited with hordes of mainland Chinese tourists as they jostled for space at the baggage reclaim. Such patience and sensitivity. Not!
Then to the Novotel CityGate, close to the airport, but far enough away to avoid the noise and hassles of the airport. A nice room with water and airport views, on the 18th floor. We had some dinner (Asian), a walk around part of the shopping mall, and then to bed.
On Sunday, the big adventure begins, with our flight on the Russian airline S7 to Vladivostok, and our first encounter with the Russian bureaucracy on their home soil.
I expect that I will have a more interesting and newsy post on Monday, from Vladivostok.