Friday, December 17, 2010

Operation: Get out of the USA

Traveling is always an adventure, and my first solo international event has certainly been no exception.  I woke up with "pink eye" on Thursday. Not being able to go work with the children, I took the opportunity to get my hair cut to clean up the A-line bob.  Thursday also marked the first day of snow in the greater Washington DC region.  As I left my house, I was stuck behind fools, who had their flashers on and were driving 15 mph due to .25 of an inch of accumulation.  I got my hair done (and it looks great despite me looking exhausted at the present moment.)  And then had a 30 minute drive back to my apartment for the 5 miles between the salon and my place. I decided rather than taking the Dash 8 to King street like I normally do, I would call a cab to the Van Dorn metro to spend less time on the roads.  As I called a few cab companies, one reported that someone would be available between 20 minutes and 2 hours.  ( 2 hour opening?!)  I started to freak out as it was 12:25ish and now I was expecting the worst in getting all the way to the Dullest Airport.  I looked up the bus route that goes to Van Dorn and saw that it was scheduled to arrive near my place at 12:35.  Thankfully, I was packed so I grabbed everything and started hauling ass in the snow ( all .5 inch of it)  Luck was on my side and I got to the stop just as the bus was showing up.   After an uneventful metro ride to Rosslyn I waited outside in my TOMs and Northface ( note - not snow ready clothes...)  for 30 minutes or so until the bus to Dulles finally arrived.  Most of the people at the station were friendly and we all made jokes and chatted as we waited.

The ride to the airport, should only take 45 minutes at the most, but because of the snow, it took close to 2 hours.  I am very thankful that I got my act together to head towards the airport when I did.  As I arrived the international line for United was unreal, meandering through most of the terminal.  I had checked in online so I went to the kiosk and tried to print, it spit out some useless pass telling me to see a rep.  Not wanting to wait in line, I went to the self kiosk that also had a man taking luggage-  I simply asked what it was and he took care of checking my passport and visa (thanks Michael Wyatts at United - you made my day!)  After that I cruised down through security & to the gate.

Terminal D at Dulles airport should stand for Dud.  There is NOTHING to eat there either than subway so myself and everyone else in the airport waited patiently in line for our 5 dollar footlongs.

The plane was orginially on-time I boarded and was seated next to a nice guy from BYU who was coming home from studying abroad in Jerusalem.  We chatted a bit on & off while we waited.

and waited.

and waited.

3 hours later, we took off.  We were delayed because they were "loading luggage." At the 2 hour point, I discovered that I wouldn't make my connection to Sydney and started to cry.  (slightly extreme but I was tired ).  Eventually we took off and headed towards LAX and I was resigned that I would be there for the evening.

They ended up holding our flight to collect passengers from an earlier flight & those on my connection.  I ended up sitting next to an Australian who was very helpful in strategically planning sleeping on the plane.After dinner, which was some sort of curry i think, Alex signed me up for the vegetarian meals so I'm not totally sure, I took an ambien but still only ended up sleeping for about 5-6 hours.

Once we finally landed in Sydney I had to go through customs, quarantine, and on to check in with Virgin Blue for my flight to Melbourne.  Unfortunately, they deemed me too late to make the plane and stuck me on the later flight.

My tired irrational self returned as I cried as they charged me extra for my luggage, change of flight and lord only knows what else.  I just handed my card and said, I don't care just get me there. (thankfully today was a pay day)

I bought some skype money and called Jen & Alex to let them know that I would be delayed, and then skyped with Mom while giving her a tour of the Sydeny airport-  I got a lot of funny looks, but it was nice.

I just finished my  first flat white ( espresso and milk?)  and it was delicious, I'll need about 2-3 more today before I crash and hopefully am able to avoid any severe jet lag.

I am so excited to be here though, and my passport got it's very first stamp !
Anyhow, It is almost boarding time with Virgin Blue ( whom at this time I do NOT recommend- I'll let you know if I change my tune)


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