Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Perth, day 1 and 2

I intend to update the blog regularly while in Australia. Some of it will not be cricket-related so please bear with me, and just read my cricinfo reports if you are uninterested in the other stuff! :-)

So, as you may have gathered from twitter, I have safely arrived Down Under. My flight landed about 6pm local time on Tuesday evening and I am now in the centre of Perth with a bit of time on my hands before the Test starts on Friday (that is now tomorrow. This time zone thing is confusing.)

I have never flown long-haul before and I had heard many horror stories, but it all went pretty smoothly in the end (aside from leaving my hoodie at Heathrow security and having to go back for it later. Should I really be allowed to travel on my own?) Heathrow to Doha went pretty fast – in fact so fast that I didn't manage to finish watching 12 Angry Men on the first flight (he'd tantalisingly convinced 9 of the jury that the bloke was innocent by the time we landed...)

The transfer was very smooth, except for the fact that I was very thirsty so bought some coke and water at the airport, then had to down it all while queueing for security and was desperate for the loo by the time I actually boarded the second plane. The other weird thing was that I had been warned that Doha would be absolutely boiling (even though it was the middle of the night) but I was battered by wind and coldness when transferring to the terminal. The pilot even sounded surprised when announcing local weather conditions as we landed!

They know how to do duty-free in Doha!

The second flight lasted over 10 hours and really dragged. I tried to sleep, but it was so uncomfortable, I think I only managed about 3 hours. I watched Blue Jasmine, but missed the end because I fell asleep. Not sure if the film was terrible or I was just exhausted.

Very surreal landing in Australia and leaving the plane. I just kept thinking “I AM IN AUSTRALIA. I AM IN AUSTRALIA!” (Actually, I still keep thinking that.) Plus everyone was talking in the amazingly wonderful Aussie accent (still not got bored of it, not sure I will even after a month). The guy at customs sent me into the country with the advice: “Don't go breaking any hearts!”

That's not really the intention, I'm kind of here to watch some cricket.

First view of Perth. The blurriness adds to the effect as far as I'm concerned; I was very jet-lagged.

I caught the shuttle bus into the city, which was a bit scary because the driver decided to be “helpful” and drop me somewhere I wasn't expecting, rather than at the usual stop, so I ended up wandering around Perth for a while at 8.30pm local time (so it was dark), without having a clue where I was. Then suddenly I recognised one of the road names from the map I had in my head and managed to find the hotel. At this point I was regretting the amount I had packed, seeing as I was carrying it all on my back.

Checked in, unpacked and showered (best shower ever after that flight!) Then decided I was hungry, so found the local McDonalds (very authentically Australian) where they were serving fried macaroni cheese triangles, which proved impossible to resist. Mmmmmm. Then back to the hotel to collapse into bed. I fell asleep okay, but woke up at about 4am and couldn't get back to sleep for a couple of hours. I haven't ever had jet lag like this before – it's not just exhaustion, it's more a case of each time you take a step forward your brain takes a while to catch up with your body, so you almost fall over.

Yesterday I headed to the WACA on one of the free city buses (FREE buses - wow!) I got all excited and touristy outside the ground and took loads of photos, then realised I needed to start acting like a professional member of the press corps. Ahem. So I went to reception and collected a press pass, and went round to the nets to watch the end of the Aussie training session. Got a couple of quotes from Meg Lanning for my cricinfo preview and saw the air-conditioned press box where we will be based during the Test (hurrah! No sweaty press tent for us!) Great view too. Lanning looked in pretty good touch in the nets, as did Nicole Bolton.

View of Friday's pitch from the press box.

I finished the cricinfo piece while eating a sandwich, sitting outside the General Post Office. The city is currently trialling a free wifi scheme, which is a brilliant idea (I'm not sure how they afford it though?) I was sat by these really cool fountains and there were loads of kids running around getting soaking wet, but of course it didn't matter because it is about 30 degrees here (it is due to get hotter as the week goes on). I bet it is amazing growing up in Oz with the outdoor lifestyle – if I'd tried to run round in a fountain at home I'm sure my parents would have stopped me because I would have frozen afterwards! I really like that aspect of things so far.

Amy and I went for dinner at KFC last night. Anyone who has been in Oz recently will be only too aware of the “buckethead” adverts with the Aussie cricketers, but I was a bit confused to see the faces of Clarke et al staring at me as I bought my fried chicken. Very odd.

Had more trouble sleeping last night – woke up at 4am and was awake for a couple of hours. It is now the middle of the day on Thursday here and Amy and I are heading back to the WACA.

Missing everyone back home. Will keep you up to date with my adventures :-)

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to Australia! I'm one of your humble twitter followers / lurkers; I can't quite work out how to say this in a non-creepy way, but if you need advice / company / drinking buddies in Melbourne let me know! Half of my cricket team (including a token Pom) are taking the afternoon off / wagging work to watch the ODI at the G on the 23rd, so perhaps we'll see you there. I was at the Lord's ODI in August, so I'm hoping for a similar result.

    I was surprised (and pleased) today when someone at work talked to me about the women's Ashes; they didn't just know it was on, they knew the formats, results of last year etc etc.