Thursday, 3 January 2013

The journey

I'm home, feeling a little refreshed after an exhausted sleep. Landing later in the evening has advantages, I was well ready for a lie down by the time I got home. The unpacking is waiting until later today. A massage is booked, I've eaten and the sun is shining outside.

What a trip! I spent some time, and I had plenty to do this, toting up the actual journey. The short version is that I left my son's place in Christchurch New Zealand at 5.45am on 1 January, 2013 and arrived in Grand Cayman at my place at 9.00pm on January 1, 2013. The longest new years day I've ever had.

The longer version is that I left Tim, Sarah and Noah's place at 5.45am NZ time on January 1, 2013, flew three and a half hours to Brisbane, arriving at 8.50am. There is a 3 hour time difference between Christchurch and Brisbane at this time of year. After two and a half hours at Brisbane airport, I was on my way again at 11.30am The trip to LA is a little over 14 hours heading to Brisbane and a little over 13 heading the other way. Maybe there's a short cut on the return journey, more likely there's a tail wind. I arrived at LAX at 6.35am, the dawning of new years day in the USA.

A quick trip through immigration, I knew I had to be one of the first through to make my Miami connection, picked up my bag, through customs, dropped my bag, head to Terminal 4, go through security, find the loo for an urgent stop, find the gate, find food, sigh, it's enough to make anyone a little tried and stressed. Finding food, LAX is not the place for that if you are even remotely in a hurry. M&Ms and a water had to do. Oh dear, the Qantas food.

While the Qantas food is much better than most airline food, this vege decided a while ago to opt out of airline vege meals as they are generally hideous. There is usually a choice that doesn't have meat, not this trip unfortunately. No thanks, I don't think I'd like to pick the chicken out of the salad. Oh, there is no other food, sigh. A GnT will do for dinner thanks. Oh and a red. May have to go back to the drawing board on that decision or travel business class next trip. Another sigh,  I really, really, really miss flying Emirates. Not just for the upgrades, they really are the best airline in the world for so many reasons.

So munching my way through a small bag of M&Ms, I waited for the next leg, the dreaded American Airlines leg. The trip to LA on AA was a pleasant one, although there was no food, I did have a nice seat in premium economy. Not so on the return trip of 5 hours. I was starving, regretting my decision to not queue for Starbucks in LAX, and really uncomfortably squished up against the window. All was not lost, I found a good old fashioned kiwi muesli (granola) bar in the bottom of my travel handbag and imagined it was one of those yummy gourmet burgers they serve in Miami Airport.

I arrived in Miami a little worse for wear, caught the Skytrain to gate and there was the sainted burger shop. The lovely ladies seated me, I knew I looked a mess and didn't dare have a Margarita in case I collapsed. My vege burger arrived, I inhaled this much to the ladies amusement. A nice man produced a Blackberry charger and offered to charge mine that chose that moment to die, I gratefully accepted. All was beginning to be well in my world, a two hour wait and I'd be on my way home to Cayman.

Of course there were folks I knew on the flight. I had a catch up with one of my favourite colleagues and his family. He did look surprised when he saw me and asked if I was okay, he smiled sympathetically when I told him a little of my journey. After a silent trip, it was nice to chat to someone who wasn't airline or airport connected.

So a quick tote up of my new years day. Two continents, four countries, five airports, 23 hours of flying plus eight hours in airports, a 41 hour new years day of which I was up and about for a little over 33 hours. I was wondering why I'm a bit tired today. I think I might just go and have a lie down by the pool, in the sun, with my book. I may even doze for a while. 

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