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tullamarine airport and mahatma gandhi

Tullamarine is the airport where they bought all the equipment that didn’t work in other airports because it came cheaper second-hand with the deal to build a new airside tube to accommodate fifty gates so narrow you can’t sit down anywhere while you wait for your flight to come in two hours late. Three thousand people are crammed in there waiting for ten late planes. Try and make it through all those heavy breathers in ten minutes.

Look out the window, see that plane taxiing out of international slot 13, the flight to Brunei? That’s your connection.

Tullamarine has a baggage system that has 230 people from flight AJX waiting at carousel number 3 for their bags. As per the flickerboard. The carousel is already full  but no-one is coming forward to pick up a bag. We all wait about five minutes. Nothing. A navvy strides over to the flap, pulls it aside and sticks his head into the baggage chamber.

‘Where’s me fucken bag?’ He roars.

The bags are over at carousel number 5. Nobody knows whose bags are getting the ride on 3.

The flight.

I’m sitting next to a backpacker on her way to Byron, already she has a tan to about mid-thigh.

How soon did I notice that? Straight away. And this is a two hour flight.

A man is weak.

A man is sitting next to what Kate Moss used to look like when she was eighteen. She has the window. She also moves around a lot in her seat and the clobber she’s wearing is a little on skimpy side. The sun beats through the glass and there are very small golden hairs on her thighs.

This vision is my left seat buddy for every minute of a two hour flight to Ballina. She can have the armrest.


It was said that when Mahatma Gandhi visited the villages with his message of peace and goodwill he would accept the Elder’s offer of a young girl to spend the night with him.

Then Gandhi would spend most of the night awake, deep in his meditations, comforted by the trust the sleeping girl had placed in him.

I googled this on the flight and read it three thousand five hundred and twenty-five times.

All the way to Ballina.



A man must not weaken.


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