Wednesday, September 15, 2010

0 More sleeps - Leaving Brisbane and the LOOONG flight across the Pacific

Well the day had finally arrived complete with last minute packing issues, dying my hair and cleaning. So all done and madly rushing around when mum and dad arrived.  We had to do some last minute packing changes because surprise surprise the bag was too heavy. Sure enough almost 2kgs over...  but the qantas check in lady let it through and some minor adjustment to my carry on as well I was on my way.

Said goodbye to Mum and Dad.. only after Dad showed me what camera he wants for his birthday...  hmmm not sure about this one because he wants a DSLR...  which worries me because he struggles with most things electronic..  but if we don't buy it for me i am sure he will. So had a small teary when said goodbye to mum and dad.  Headed off to the dreaded security ..  Mum and Dad forgot to tell me my fly was undone... Thanks for that one Ma and Pa.. the security guard had tooo..  got randomly selected for my first explosives test..  YES I said FIRST!!!!!!! then went thru the customs checkpoint and she let me through with a smile, stamp and have a great time...

Then went out to the main area.. I have to say Brisbane Airport does international travel really well....  really well set out and set up..   I was quite impressed.. Showed mum and Dad I got through.. As if there was going to be a problem.. PFFFTTTTT

Then the announcement came over for my flight because we had to go through a additional security checkpoint at the gate..  so line up I did with the rest of the cattle...  and then the cute boy from ISS security... said we are looking for you.. your name has been randomly selected by homeland security for additional screening..  OMG!!!! mind you my sister thought it was hilarious because she happened to be texting me at the time...  So I had to wait at the side with NO boarding pass because they took it from me...  got scanned AGAIN.. but this time they pulled all the stuff from my bags..  ARRRGGGHHHH

but let me through...  so worked my way down to the flight finally!!!  but running late because we were 5 mins out by this stage..  got to my seat.. the gay but very funny hostie put my stuff up .. with the good camera.. and then said I hope you don't need that during the flight..  sooo annoying..  I got sandwiched at the end of the row next 2 very burly guys.. 1 was a aussie and the other American.. BARELY said boo all flight...  we took off 10mins late due to the additional screening and then waiting for another craft to land..

Saying goodbye to a glorious Brisbane day..  it was magical flying out over it..

 so then we begin the loooongg trek across the pacific..  I of course needed a toilet stop as soon as the light when off and also changed out of my lenses...  the burly boys.. both got up and stayed up..  Which really puts pressure on a gal to hurry ...

Then only to discover..  NO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM WORKING !!!! OMG .. they finally got it working about 5 hours into the flight...  right after they turned out all the lights and put us all to bed..  so to speak..  so i tried to sleep.. unsuccessfully...  but i have a sore neck to prove it..  then the entertainment system was back on a working.. and got to watch 2 episodes of true blood and then watched a movie.. I love  you too.. which was not a bad Aussie movie..

Before I knew it..  we were..  seeing this ...

only 18mins to go..  until LA..  and then looked out the window and saw this.. AMAZING

Los Angeles Downtown..
So finally landed..  WOOOHOOO.  and nope still hadn't hit me..

saw the sign welcome to the United States as you walked from the gate into the massive customs hall..  the line was a shocker..  and Took foooorrreeverr especially with the bags..  i am remembering that for when i have to go to the Newark.. stuff it i am going naked or I will just smell..  too heavy for short arse me..  the lady I got was great and really friendly...  but the guys were sooo serious looking..  really gruff.. none of them really cracked a smile..

got my bag..  joined another line.. which thankfully went a bit faster..  got to the head of the line..  and asked if i was carrying food.. Well yes .. duh I have vegemite..  so I got sent off to another line..  he just stamped me and then sent me on through.. thankfully because there was a huge family ahead of me..

then dropped my bag off ..  so it could fly to Vancouver..  then walked out of the terminal... and I was met by this big African American jovial black woman who works as a volunteer for the domestic violence women and children association in Chigacgo..  so i gave her the last of my aussie dollars and she directed me to Terminal 3..  she loved my necklace.. tried to get it off me she was great...  My beautiful red stone necklace that Kell gave me for my brithday last year.. Nooo way she was getting that despite how wonderful she was to a weary lost traveller..But she was the stereotypical big black woman with with the big booming voice and braids, the personality ....   then it finally hit me..  I saw a yellow cab..  and driving on the wrong side of the road..  too bad my cameras were buried or I would have gotten a photo..
So made it is Air Alaska for the next stage..  changed my seat so I wan't at the back and in the middle... Got the last window seat..  and then a weary Eileen made her way to the final checkpoint...  so stood in the queue again with all the cattle... some lovely American ladies were behind me and were chatting with me when they realised I was a Aussie..  they were off to Mexico for the weekend..  but had been to Melbourne and Sydney but never made it to Brisbane.... 20 mins later ...  made it to the security checkpoint...  a very thirsty and hungry Eileen just wanted it all to be over...  but had to unload everything again... my 3 bags and big jacket.. belt shoes...  then sure enough... come this way please.. sure enough every single item and bag was scanned for explosives AGAIN!!!!  she was really nice about it and didn't unpack everything the same way the aussie lady did...

Finally made it through and the American ladies helped me find the "FOOD COURT" ... their food court consisted of a Burger King...  and Gloria Jeans or something like it..  my stomach turned looking at the greasy food.. I wasn't THAT hungry..  found my way to the gate and there was a little kiosk there... NOTE: American M&M's taste the same as the Aussie ones...  also picked up a tacky USA gossip mag..

And we were off through the fog again..

we flew over the canyons and mountains.. it was so hilly and pretty..  i never realised that it was so hilly and rocky.. I loved it...  and then we saw this...

in the middle of nowhere..  a snow capped peak
Which was pretty beautiful.. it was almost peaceful...  it was so surreal...  Luckily I was sitting next to a aussie couple and they were just excited as I was...  then a snack was offered... no in flight entertainment.. but I did try to sleep but not successfully...

then we saw these...  WOW.. since worked out that this was Mt Baker.. which is on the USA /Canadian Border...

Mt Baker 
just peaking out of the clouds 
The rest of the photos are on Facebook or you will have to wait until I come home...  got some cool shots coming into Vancouver..

Arrived in Vancouver.. GREAT airport... the customs queue was quick..  The guy was very gruff..  Why are you here and how long do you plan on staying...

then no security checks.. THANK YOU CANADA!!!! went straight out .. got a taxi straight away and then went straight to the hotel in a energy efficient cab.. Very clean and nice..  the trip took about 20mins .. through some nice areas and not so nice spots but the view had the mountains the whole time which was great..  check in was quick..  went straight up to the room.. jumped into the shower to feel like a human again..  only problem with the room. No fridge...

then off to explore...  next blog will come with that one


  1. What an adventure can't wait for the next installment. Take Care and travel safe.

  2. OMG...can't believe the necklce nearly caused a huge drama. I must say it is a fantastic necklace..but no stretch of the imagination was it cause you to nearly enter battle with the US locals....:o) take care. Kel

  3. I cannot believe all the "explosives" tests you had to do. I would be so scared. Love the photos looking out the plane windows especially that one of LA, how amazing to see that. So did you get your Dad the camera and which one?

  4. I know ... I was getting quite worried about not making it onto the plane. I must have looked suss... hahaha The LA ones were amazing although seeing my first snow capped peak was truly amazing and very special. No we didn't end up getting him the camera we decided he wasn't technically ready for it and got him a Balloon Flight instead