Saturday, May 24, 2008

Australian Travel

At long last, April 16, 2008 arrived and I was all set to head to Perth, Australia for the 2008 World Masters Championships. Well, more or less, anyway.

I got to LAX with plenty of time to check in and make my way through security then on to the gate. Having heard Karen's story about the swimmer whose luggage didn't make it on the plane, I carried all important swim gear on the plane with me. Just in case...

I didn't seem like I was at the gate for very long before the plane started boarding. I don't know how I managed to sit calmly and wait for my section to be called. I was sooo ready to go. Before long, I saw Karen in the line and went to join her. Had no idea we were on the same flight leaving L.A. We chatted until we got on the plane then headed for our separate seats. And sat. And sat.

We were waiting for another passenger to arrive from another flight. I was sitting in the middle. The lady in the window seat and I were getting excited that the aisle seat was still open. No sooner had I moved to it than the woman we'd been waiting for boarded and claimed that space. Oh well.

The flight was just over 14 hours and it didn't bother me at all. I think I was still too excited. I slept a little bit and watched three movies I hadn't seen yet. Before I knew it, we were landing in Brisbane, Australia.

Karen and I cleared customs in Brisbane. Well, Karen cleared them, I got sniffed out by a dog. Qantas had given us a snack pack during the flight. As that had been my sleeping period, I kinda just stuffed it in my backpack without looking inside. Of course there was a pack of dried fruit inside that the dog smelled. They confiscated it and wrote something on my customs card, then sent me on my way.

I was happy to see that my checked bags made it as well. After answering questions about what type of water I'd used my SCUBA gear in previously, the Aussies allowed us into their country.

Karen and I rushed for the train to take us to the domestic terminal. Unfortunately, we were already on the train before Karen learned from another passenger (I swear the woman never meets a stranger) that we could've rechecked our luggage back at customs so we wouldn't have to lug them over to the domestic terminal. This little bit "didn't know" came back to bite us in the butt when we didn't get to the domestic terminal in time to check our bags. We missed our connection to Perth.

Everything worked out fine since Qantas was able to put us on the next flight that left about an hour later. We hung out in the airport and chatted. I was excited to see that my favorite restaurant, Burger King, is Hungry Jacks in Australia. Love the home of the Whopper!

We headed to the gate where Karen worked on her solo without too many strange looks from other passengers wondering what that strange woman is doing in the corner. Before we knew it, we were on the plane and off to Perth.

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