At Dubai we passed through the scanner where our carry-on luggage were scanned and we had to take off our shoes and belts and frisked before entering the main duty free shopping area. This was not the time to spend money so I briefly window shopped and then headed upstairs for the business class lounge. After showing my ticket to the attendant I went and found a corner seat. Again the internet wireless was free and food was free. I was not feeling hungry so I had hot chocolate to keep out the cold from the air conditioning and just lazed about for the next four hours browsing through the internet until I heard the boarding call for my flight to Australia.
I continued to thank God for the Australian High Commission because again business class passengers had to board by lift up to the second floor while the economy class passengers had to walk. This was because this aircraft was a double decker, with Business class upstairs and economy class downstairs. But If the flight from Accra to Dubai was heavenly, from Dubai to Australia was sitting at God’s feet.
The seat was a cosy compartment which could become a chair or bed with feet fully stretched. This was a twelve hour flight but the pilot said he was delaying because of a curfew for flights entering Australia so he had to wait an hour to avoid us circling the skies and waiting to land.
Being unfamiliar with the gadgets I started fidgeting to get everything to work. I fidgeted with the reading lights, the touch screen TV infront of me, the reclining seat and also examined the mini bar. I finally strapped myself and we were ready to go. At first I avoided the wine here and started by accepting pine apple juice because I wanted free bowels when I arrive in Australia. So I read and drank juice until we left an hour later. The time was 10.15am on Saturday morning Dubai time.
After the fasten seat belts sign had gone off we relaxed. I must confess I was jittery from the earlier experience and any time we hit an air pocket my heart will beat a little faster and I would close my eyes and pray.
Kabral’s book proved to be a little captivating because he was writing about incidents I knew about first hand. His encounter with privatisation officials and the work of Nestor Galley the Ghanaina seconded General Manager at the Ports Authority. The Regimanuel Gray investments, and ofcourse the establishment of NASSIT as a result of Pa Kabbah’s visit to Ghana. We ate what was supposed to be lunch and not long after I felt like sleeping. I pressed one button and the foot rest came up, allowing me to stretch my long legs. I pressed another and the seat reclined almost
into a flat bed. So I covered up with the blanket and adjusted it round my head leaving only a small hole for my eyes. Not long after I believe I slept and was suddenly woken up with a jolt, I believe we entered another air pocket. I touched the screen at the back of the chair infront of me specifically touching the “i”. This was for information and I checked the progress of the flight. I could see that we were now that we were flying entirely over water. Looking closely I realised Australia was truly a big island and one could only use an aircraft or a sea vessel to go to Australia.
I eventually got up to ease my strained bowels and find the toilet. On the way to the toilet I discovered a mini bar with lights like a night club and cosy seats equally like an entertainment spot. After easing myself I stopped in the small area which was between my seating area and the toilet with the stewards area just behind. I made as if I was stretching my legs, but carefully I was observing what was happening. Some white folks were ordering drinks after drinks and I mean hard liquor. During that short period I stood their stretching a small group of three men and two women had gulped down two rounds and were now being served their third. I wondered whether these guys were paying, but I did not see the steward behind the bar asking for money or recording anything after serving the drinks.
Instead he seemed to be actively encouraging people to drink more. Also small food which is usually called finger foods like small cakes small pies and son on were coming out at intervals and just being displayed. I also observed that people would just pick one and chop. The waiter had observed me standing so he came over and asked “anything to drink sir?” I said no. But just then being the journalist I was with a practiced ear for eaves droppingon peoples conversation, I over heard one of the group who were now into their fifth rounds gleefully proclaiming I guess he was feeling heady already- “this is why I like to fly business class.” Then it dawned on me that all of this was free as it was free at the Lounge at Accra. So not long after the waiter emerged from their quarters holding a small tray with small cakes and he pushed the plate infront of me this time I took one and swallowed. As he got round the bar he called out to me with a pleasant smile spreading over his youthful face “care now for a drink sir?” I hesitated briefly and then appearing as if I was only then making up my mind I said “Errr ….Yesss.” This was followed with “what would you have sir” and I asked “do you have red wine” he said sure which one “South African? French? Spanish?” I did not know which was which so I just answered French and a whole bottle was opened. The waiter or air steward I believe had instructions from his employers at Emirates that he should make sure that people drink even more than they want. The man was busy eyeing my glass, as soon as it got down to a third he would come round with the bottle and fill it up. Well me too I was determined to do justice to the money the Australian government had paid for me to fly Business Class so I challenged the bottle and finished it. By the time the last drop was emptied into my glass the steward was rushing round to open another bottle, i dodged and feeling a little tipsy I staggered to my seat, and cuddled up again for my second sleeping session.
When I woke up, we were now doing around 8,000 km and we were still over the sea. So I went back to the toilet. Coming back I avoided the smiling steward who had seem me pass and was ready with a wicked look in his smiling eyes to fill me up with more wine I slipped past the bar and got back to my seat to read and sleep again. I was now tired of sleeping and even fed up with reading so I turned to movies.
We arrived in Sydney Australia at 6.05am Sunday so the 12 hour flight was like 20 hours because we had gained 8 hours. It was day 4 already. By Kelvin Lewis