Flying Home

My heart sunk when the announcement came over the public address system at Sydney Airport. “There may be a slight delay in leaving, as we have a requirement for all flight staff to apply for Queensland border permits, in the event we need to divert”, the announcer said. “Via Queensland?”, I groaned, along with just about everyone else within hearing distance.

Up until the last minute, I’ve avoided making a final decision on whether or not I’d fly home for Christmas. I don’t live in the Northern Beaches (where the COVID-19 outbreak is centred), and I haven’t been to any of the nearby venues listed. I don’t have any symptoms, and I’ve been staying at home over the last few days. But the final decision would depend on whether there were any other named venues that I might have visited in the last few days.

In the end I decided the risk was very low, and so I headed off to the airport with a spring in my step (and a mask on my face), knowing I was only a few hours away from visiting my family for Christmas.

There were very few people at Sydney Airport, which meant going through security went quickly. At the Qantas lounge, there was limited food on offer (soup, salad, bread rolls), but thankfully there was plenty of wine!
Everyone at the airport wore facemasks, including on the plane.

On arrival at Ballina / Byron Airport, there were maybe thirty or forty people greeting us, all wearing facemasks and protective clothing. “Are you from, or have you visited the Northern Beaches?”, we were all asks. A temperature-check followed, and then we were given a brochure.

I’m still doing my day job, but it’s awesome to be home visiting my family and friends.

Jingi-Wala Widjabal Jugoon
Last night, we visited a nearby community, Caniaba. Once a small community, Caniaba is now a reasonably-sized village (suburb?) with lots of larger houses, where people take Christmas decorations very seriously. The reaction of my nieces in this video is gorgeous – “Am I dreaming?”

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