Like a virgin

I had my first flight today on one of Virgin Australia’s new ATR72-500s to Canberra. The only other time I have flown in one of those turboprops was an international flight from Kuantan in Malaysia to Singapore with Firefly. Like that ride, today’s was comfortable and pretty smooth, despite flying through a few cloud layers.

I had a pretty poor sleep last night. Alex woke up with a fever and took a long while to resettle. Then I had to wake before 6am to catch the bus and train down to the airport.

My government airfare gives free access to the Virgin Lounge. It took me a while to find it, but I was quite impressed by it’s appearance and food selection. Quite a decent buffet breakfast (though without most of the hot buffet selection of a hotel) and some reasonable, though partly blocked, views of the airport operations.

And here was I thinking that I’d never get to visit airline lounges…

After cutting across the Kurnell Peninsula and tracking inland, but parallel to the coast the view was eventually obscured by the cloud layer until our descent into Canberra. We were served a muesli biscuit (no honey!) and a juice and this time the crew easily managed to complete their tasks before we began our descent. Though the actual flight time is longer in a turboprop than a jet to Canberra, the total time is about the same due to the shorter taxi run on the ground.

As we descended into Canberra’s airport we mostly followed the highway. Lake George looked pretty full in the distance.

Only a short queue for taxis, then it was a day with the team in Canberra. I had a little time in the evening to wander through the Canberra Centre, which was pleasantly uncrowded.

Last time I was in Canberra I complained about just wanting to stay in some faceless corporate hotel. This trip I got my wish with my fourth Novotel in two months. And hey, there’s even a convenience store beneath it!

Actually, the Novotel Canberra is pretty nice and I wouldn’t mind staying here next time in Canberra. Not sure if I would return to the Lapasa Singaporean Restaurant around the corner though. A pretty ordinary chicken curry and roti paratha, though the coconut rice was nice. I should know better than to try a Singaporean restaurant – they usually fail to meet expectations, unlike their Malaysian counterparts.

Whenever I talked to Alex on the phone he cried for his Daddy, but we got Google Talk’s video working and he cheered up. It’s a pain trying to interact via the iPad and no, I’m using a PC so Facetime is NOT an option.

After the chat I had the rare opportunity to watch some non-recorded television. But I would rather be at home snuggling the others.

Filed under: