Up & Down Under
I’m back in Australia!
I’d been a little worried that tropical storm Isaac would impact my flight, but everything went on as scheduled. My journey began on Tuesday at Miami International Airport. It doesn’t matter how often I travel, I find that the process is different every single time. Yes, you can check in curbside; no, you can’t check in curbside; you need to check in at the international area; you’re going to L.A so you need to check in at the domestic line; you can check in electronically; you can’t check in electronically; the first bag is free, but you have to pay for the second; two bags are free; you can leave your computer in the bag; you need to take the computer out of the bag. And so on.
I arrived at the airport about 90 minutes before my flight. Check-in and going through security were fast and painless; no pornographic body scanners this time. Nevertheless, I arrived at my gate just ten minutes before the boarding time because the terminal is in a new wing of the airport and it’s enormous. I felt like I’d hiked some strange, white, mechanical land. I bought myself an iced chai at Starbucks and plopped down next to a woman who turned out to be Australian. “You must visit Sydney,” she told me.
The American Airlines flight from Miami to Los Angeles was pleasant enough. I had an overpriced and dry pastrami on rye sandwich, read off my Kindle, and chatted a bit with my neighbor, a young black Englishman in the music industry who splits his time between London and L.A., which he’s still not quite settled in with.
The terminal in LAX is very familiar. My layover was 2-3 hours, but it went by quickly after potty breaks, more iced chai, and checking email and Facebook (thank you, LAX, for the free WiFi). I took the shuttle to the Qantas terminal, which was full of people. In sharp contrast to the ghost town I experienced last February, people were sprawled out everywhere and some of them looked like they’d been camping out there for days. Normally, we’d board here, but as LAX is expanding, terminals are being shared and it was another airline’s turn to use this gate. So off we went on another shuttle to another gate and finally boarded. I got my beloved window seat, but I’m having second thoughts about whether this is the best choice for a 14-hour flight.
As expected, the Qantas flight was comfortable, had plenty of in-flight entertainment, decent food, and pleasant service. I didn’t sleep much, but it was probably more than I’d ever slept on a flight. Finally in Melbourne, I got through customs pretty quickly, got my bags, and Theo picked me up. It was a chilly, but beautiful sunny morning and it was wonderful to see him. I think that was Thursday. Wednesday just folded away.
The last few days have been about unpacking and adjusting to a new home. Oh, there’s my cauldron! My clothes don’t all fit in this wardrobe. Where is the sugar? How does this oven work?
About the featured image: Qantas A380-841 VH-OQF by happyrelm, fotopedia, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).