I felt it straight away.
It was the equivalent of jumping into a pool or beach of cold water.
8 frickin degrees.
The coldest November day in Melbourne on record... apparently, and I just so happened to rock up in shorts and a colourfully painted shirt.
"Thankyou," said one stewardess as I left, "and have a nice day."
As if, lady. I've got shorts, a stinky shirt, and now I have to wait until this electrical storm blows over before I can even get my luggage.
I wasn't in the best of moods.
Who could be in such a weird place like Melbourne which frequently displays weird bouts of weather - and today was no exception.
As I walked to the carousels I looked outside and saw it hailing.
It's going to be summer in 3 weeks and it looks like we're in the middle of winter here!
I couldn't believe it.
Maybe this was all just some weird dream, and that I'd find myself back in bed waking up to my 6am alarm clock. I tried pinching myself, but even though my fingers were pinching I couldn't feel a thing... it was too cold.
Well, this is no fun, I sighed, as the luggage area built up with more and more people from other flights who similarly had to wait for their luggage.
I suppose I could go and try and find that bus shuttle service and buy myself a ticket.
I had to do something just to keep warm, and walking seemed like a good idea.
Unfortunately, as I walked up and down the terminal, I discovered that the shuttle ticket place had "conveniently" moved outside.
If I thought it was cold inside the terminal, I was soon in for a greater shock when the sliding doors opened and I walked into the REAL cold outside!
Certain male anatomy froze.
I quickly folded my arms over my chest, inserted my hands under my armpits to keep them warm, and hobbled over to the shuttle ticketing desk.
"One, please," I said shivering.
I handed her a $20 note and waited for my ticket... and waited... and waited.
After spending what seemed like an eternity cryogenically frozen in the cold Melbourne weather I was eventually handed my ticket. I think the chic behind the counter wanted to see if I would turn blue.
No, lady, I'm not a Christmas tree.
I scurried back into the warmer terminal.
By now the carousel area was getting a little full, which worked well for a bloke that was cold like me. Wherever there was a dense concentration of people I just waddled my way there and bathed in their warmth.
At times I slotted myself between a couple that were cuddling, and at other times I decided that some people just needed a big... long... hug - even if they didn't ask for it.
When I had drained them of all their body heat I simply moved on to the next one - in essence I was a human heat seeking leech!
But most of the time I found it quite difficult to keep the hugged party hugged.
"Ew, what's the smell?" some would say as they'd try to wriggle away from this strange man that had clung to them.
"It's ok," I'd say knowing I'd only have seconds left to sap all heat from my host, "you get used to it after awhile."
Eventually an announcement boomed over the terminal informing everyone that the storm had now passed and that their luggage would now be coming.
As I waited and waited and waited and waited, my luggage finally arrived.
Ok, now I can get changed.
No sooner had that thought popped into my head, did I notice outside the big red shuttle bus.
Scurrying back outside I jumped in line and awaited to get on to what appeared to be an already packed bus.
Am I going to be able to get on?
As the line slowed with each boarding passenger I got closer and closer to the bus' door.
"Sorry mate," said the bus driver when I placed my left foot on the first step, "you'll have to wait for the next bus. It shouldn't be long."
He closed the door and sped away.
More and more people poured out from the terminal after successfully collecting their luggage and filed in the shuttle bus line.
If I go back inside to keep warm, I'm going to miss the red shuttle bus each time.
So I stood there.
At the front of the line like a frozen chicken.
If there was ever a time I needed a hug... now was the time, but no hug came.
The wind picked up, and let down another load of hail.
"4 Minutes" read the shuttle bus display indicating when the next red bus was going to arrive.
What could I possibly do to keep warm in 4 minutes?
*beep beep* *beep beep*
My phone had just received a text message, from Chris, asking where I was. I hit the reply button and typed,
HIM AT TGHDED AHIQRPPNORT BC TUT HIMNM 20+
Which, as most Canadians will easily be able to translate, means:
IM AT THE AIRPORT C U IN 20
Replying to Chris was a Godsend. It took my mind off the pain and allowed me to waste those 4 minutes while I texted away.
I scampered onto the bus, threw my luggage into the holding area and sat on the back seat in the foetal position.
Upon arriving at the Southern Cross bus station I was instructed to ask one of the ladies behind the counter as to which shuttle I needed to go on to get to my hotel.
"Which hotel, sir?"
"Ah, the Kingsgate."
"You can actually walk to it from here," the lady instructed pulling out the ubiquitous Melbourne city map and scribbling where we were, and where I needed to go.
"I can do that," I said picking up my luggage and wondering just how to get out of this place.
And so, I set sail to what was to become the hotel of horrors.
The fun was just starting.
2 hours ago