“Bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons from God,” said Kurt Vonnegut at some point, apparently. I’m inclined to agree. As I continue to try and blog about all that’s been going on in my life, I cannot ignore the metafictional nature of my blogging experience. Here’s to you, Mr. Vonnegut…I think you knew your stuff.
I like being able to go to new places. I think it is one of the best things in the world to be able to see things you’ve never seen before or to meet people you’d never thought that you would meet. That being said – I hate the actual, physical, act of traveling. Getting from one place to another is one of the most horribly exhausting things I can think of.
My travel plans were as follows:
Tuesday: Depart from JFK at 6:50pm for LAX.
Arrive in LAX at 9:50pm.
Depart LAX for Sydney at 11:50pm.
Thursday: Arrive in Sydney at 7:35am.
Depart from Sydney at 9:35am for Melbourne
Arrive in Melbourne at 11:05.
First of all, I need to comment on the fact that my trip to the other side of the world involved losing an entire Wednesday. The space/time continuum apparently decided that Wednesday was unnecessary, so we just skipped it.
Second, I need to point out that my actual travel itinerary ended up looking not so much like the one above.
I arrived in JFK in plenty of time (many, many hours early) because Dad was nice enough to take me to the airport. I had no problems getting myself checked in and no problems getting through security. JFK is pretty organized when it comes to that kind of thing (Seriously, Newark, you need to get your crap together). I found the gate, got myself some food and had to hang out for a good three hours. I did not get to properly watch the Germany-Brazil match, but I heard the screaming from the local sports bar. I was very happy with the result there (Let’s go Germany!). The sitting around wasn’t all that bad until everyone else from my flight started showing up. Namely the group of 50+ teenagers going to New Zealand via Sydney for their Jewish snowboarding camp. So. Many. Teenagers. Ugh.
We eventually were able to board, and while was surrounded by The Horde of Rowdy Juveniles, I had my window seat and I was actually right next to The Two Nice Ladies from Perth. They were older ladies had been around the US and Canada “on holiday” and weren’t taking any crap from The Horde of Rowdy Juveniles.
At the time we were set to take off, there were some storms coming in from the middle of the country. They never actually hit NYC, but because of the windy conditions they had to shut down one of the two international runways. This meant that our flight out of Terminal 7 had to get into queue with all the other international flights, which set us behind on departure. After that, because the line of storms was to the north, our flight was directed to fly south over the US by way of Dallas, which took longer.
By time we got to LAX it was well after 11pm, and we had to all disembark so they could straighten up, and so people could catch their connecting flights, etc. This meant sitting in at the gate for another hour before standing at the gate for another half hour on top of that. This time they decided to let The Horde of Rowdy Juveniles board first as a group. Since teenagers are inefficient and generally pointless, the flight crew thought it might be easier for them to find their seats and get their junk stowed without having anyone else on board. After that, I was able to get back on the plane.
My seat remained the same. though The Two Nice Ladies from Perth had seats a few rows up from me because they had booked that leg of the trip separately. I ended up sitting next to two girls from The Horde of Rowdy Juveniles, though by that point it was well after midnight and they were pretty mellow.
The flight from LAX to Sydney was long. Very, very, very long. Qantas had those seat-back entertainment systems, so I think I watched ALL THE MOVIES. They were generally quite terrible, but I got to see some things I hadn’t seen yet – Divergent (the book was better), The Book Thief (sad), The Grand Budapest Hotel (very Wes Anderson), Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (oh hey, Kenneth Brannagh), 300: Rise of an Empire (bad, bad decision), and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (already seen it, amazing). I tried watching Pompeii, but Jon Snow vs. the Volcano wasn’t doing it for me and I turned it off after 10 minutes.
I got maybe 3 non-consecutive hours of sleep, since I am incapable of sleeping even remotely upright. On the bright side, my new earbuds helped block that infernal hissing from the recycled air that usually keeps me up. After a certain point, you become so mentally and physically exhausted that it actually ceases to become relevant. I will say that Qantas has really excellent food. I was extremely impressed that all my meals were not only hot, but that they actually tasted like food. Not only food, even, but pretty good food. That almost never happens and I think it helped me not feel like I was going to die.
This was important for my arrival in Sydney, because I wasn’t done with my trip yet.
To be continued…