It was my first visit to Australia. I arrived on Sunday, September 17 at the Perth international airport. While passing through immigration, the officer at the counter did not stamp my passport. I had the presence of mind to ask, and she replied, “We don’t do it anymore.”

Next day, I walked in to the office to see this gorgeous Lego model in the lobby. About ten years ago, I worked on its mooring system, sitting in another corner of the world between 2008-11, when it was still just a concept. It’s being moored at its intended final location — as we speak.

Prelude FLNG

After pleasantries and security clearances, I was given building access. I worked from 8am until 7pm on most days, and so there wasn’t much of an opportunity to visit the CBD after work, since it would be closed after 5pm. I thought Thursday would be open until 9pm, but it wasn’t so when I did — shops were all closed. I later learned that CBD would be open until 9pm on Friday instead.

My plan was to stay the weekend, work part of the following week, and catch a return flight on Wednesday. However, I soon realised that Monday (Sep 21) was a holiday in Perth. To avoid staying the long weekend, I managed to rearrange my return flight to be on Saturday.

The layover was long at Singapore, but apparently not long enough. I killed time between walking the three terminals and sitting long stretches in two transit lounges. Had lunch in one, and supper in the other. My onward flight to Bangalore was at 20:05. I arrived at the gate half-hour ahead of time, boarded the flight, and waited. The flight began to taxi towards the runway, and got stopped mid-way. The reason: the flight ahead of us was experiencing some mechanical problems, and needed to be towed away.

Towing the flight in front of us took close to two hours. Finally, captain spoke to inform us that our flight had lost enough fuel waiting, and had to return back to refuelling station. After another half-hour, we were on our way. I landed in Bangalore without incident albeit two hours later than expected.