I have a confession: I didn’t really want to come home. Not yet anyway.
I am glad to be home. I have a good relationship with my family and I enjoy spending time with them. I missed my coven and other friends. But I like Melbourne. A lot. And I especially enjoyed being with there with my beau. Three months slipped by too quickly.
Theo took me to the Melbourne Airport bright and early Tuesday morning. After check-in, I went through security and onto the gate and he was allowed to come with me, which I don’t think is allowed in U.S. airports anymore. I was so glad he could be there with me during that final hour and he stayed through the end, until I boarded and he could no longer see me.
The hour flight from Melbourne to Sydney was uneventful and pleasant enough. I had an aisle seat and nobody on the other side. I was able to see the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge from the plane as it arrived. When I told Theo later, he half-jokingly said, “Great! So can we scratch that off the list?” He’s not a big fan of Sydney.
After a short layover, I boarded the Qantas plane for a 13-hour flight to Los Angeles. I don’t have enough praise for Qantas. I had a fantastic window seat behind the flight attendant’s prep area, which means extra leg room. The flight attendant said to me, “Best seat in the house. Do you know someone?” What I know is SeatGuru, a website that features maps of aircrafts with a color-coded system identifying excellent, average, and bad seats. I never choose my seat on plane without checking SeatGuru and I’ve never been disappointed with the result. I highly recommend it.
On my awesome window seat, I found a pillow, blanket, and a bag with a sleeping mask, a toothbrush, and a small tube of toothpaste. Although Qantas offers excellent in-flight entertainment that includes some of the latest movie releases, popular television shows, gaming, and plenty of music, I settled in with my Kindle. I read The Hunger Games and enjoyed it. The movie is not exactly like it (it never is), but the film is a very fine and close adaptation.
The food on Qantas is the best airplane food I’ve ever had. Unlike the pitiful domestic flights in the U.S. that don’t give you even a bag of nuts for free, Qantas has a menu of meals and snacks that are included in the cost of flying. For dinner, I selected four cheese ravioli in mushroom sauce on a bed of spinach. It came with a salad, rice pudding for dessert, a drink (I like water with my dinner), a chocolate bar (for later) and a little box of mints.
As the flight went on through the evening and into the night, we were offered drinks, fruit, cookies, a delicious mango and cream frozen bar, and pizza. I managed to snooze for a few hours and, in the morning, I opted for the continental breakfast of cereal and milk with fruit, a muffin, coffee and orange juice.
I had a four-hour layover in Los Angeles. I had to go through U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which was easy. I also had to get my bag and re-check it because I moved from an international flight to a domestic one. That wasn’t so bad, but figuring out where I had to go after that was confusing. I had to go through security again for the third time. The terminal was busy and crowded and hot food was hard to come by. The line at Chilli’s was very long and Burger King ran out of food. I ended up purchasing a lousy turkey sandwich for $8.50 from a small vendor and a mediocre hot chocolate from Starbucks. I couldn’t wait to get out of LAX.
The five-hour American Airlines flight to Miami was wretched. The airplane appeared old. I had a window seat and no neighbor, which was good, but a small girl sat behind me and she spent much of the flight kicking and pushing my seat. Her mother rewarded her with coos and kisses. There was no complimentary food on the flight, but for $8 you could purchase a little box containing four crackers, four slices of cheese, some grapes and nuts. Thankfully, drinks are complementary. The in-flight entertainment was lame and featured on a few fixed monitors throughout the plane rather than individual ones so everyone has to watch the same thing. Headsets are available for sale. Thank goodness for my Kindle and iPhone.
I arrived in Miami about 11pm and went down to the baggage carousels. In less than five minutes, they announced three different carousels for my flight, and you could hear the groans as people traveled back and forth. Typical Miami, nobody knows what’s going on. I took a cab and was home by midnight. My mother and cat greeted me.
It’s nice to be home. I spent some hours visiting with my sister and the kids and catching up on the phone with a friend. Meantime, I’m thinking about when I’ll be able to get back to Australia.