Being born and raised in the Philippines, I considered Australia my second "home". My family and I migrated here in September 2005 but I have to leave in September 2006 to work with my former boss of 10 years in Saudi Arabia.
On 1st February, I have to leave Saudi Arabia and go back to Australia on my second 3 months break. This is necessary to fulfill the residency requirement to get an Australian citizenship.
I left our Camp at 10:30 pm and arrived in SABTCO station in Al-Khobar at around 12:00 midnight. The bus to Bahrain left at 1:57 AM, 02 February 2008 and arrived 3:30 AM in Bahrain. I was hold at the check-in counter for about 5 minutes to verify my boarding pass to Sydney. Probably, it never occured to them that a Filipino from KSA was going to Australia. The airplane that took me to Abu Dhabi left at 5:50 AM and arrived at around 8:00 AM.
There were full of passengers at the Abu Dhabi International Airport. As usual, most of the attendants manning the duty free shops are Filipinos.
Before boarding the airplane to Sydney, I was again questioned at the documents verification stand. It really surprised the officer that a Filipino was boarding a flight to Sydney. After asking a few questions, I was clear. I was the only Filipino in the flight, excluding the 2 stewardesses.
The almost 13 hours flight from Abu Dhabi to Sydney seemed endless. I watched Maricel Soriano and Aga Mulach's movie " A Love Story" and a film thatI forgot the title. I wanted to watch "Bee Story" but the film was not available in my monitor. I tried to sleep but I guessed I only had 2 straight hours.
I arrived at Sydney airport at 7:12 AM, Sunday, 03 February 2008. My wife's PAL flight from Manila and Melbourne arrived late at 12:08 noon. Philippine Airlines (PAL) lived to its expectation of coming late. (PAL = PALaging Late). My wife and son did not know that I was coming so they were surprised to see me. My brother's wife Emy fetched us from the airport.
My journey was carried out by Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates.
Umuulan ng araw na iyon. Tila sinasalubong ang aking pagdating.