Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Off to Australia, chasing the sun for 18 hours.

Our flight to Houston was scheduled to leave from Miami at 4:30 pm on Sunday. We were packed and ready to go when we went to bed Saturday night so we got a pretty early start. After a leisurely cup of coffee and tidying up the house, we asked Jimmy to drop us off at the Tri-rail station on his way out of town.We have found that taking the Tri-rail commuter train is a good way to get to Miami airport. It takes a $5 ticket and about one hour of travel. Tri trail ends right at the Miami airport - easy-peasy.

We got there about 1 PM. I like being early to the airport, especially right now when there's a government shut down and stories of TSA agents not coming to work. We expected long lines and chaos but got none! We already had our boarding passes and we only had carry on luggage, so we went straight to our gate a full 2.5 hours ahead of time.

We arrived in Houston just after sunset. We wouldn't see the sun rise again for nearly 22 hours. We really found our gate for the non stop United flight from Houston to Sydney. 17 hours in the air.

Yes, that was a long time, but they had dozens of movies available for free in the seat back video screen, they served food and complementary wine. We brought some Tylenol PM to help us sleep, and these cool TURTL neck-wrapped head rests.

 I think we actually slept for a total of maybe 5 hours, not bad. But that still left 12 hours to kill. I watched 4 full length movies ("Searching" was really good.) That took up 8 hours. Still 4 more hours to sit and squirm. We were really lucky to have only quiet kids, no crying babies, and no coughing people. The worst part was that there was a lot of turbulence, so you could not get up and go to the bathroom. One time I simply ignored the flight attendant who told me to go back to my seat, I think she was ok with that.
After flying West, following the sun, for 16 hours, the sun did rise again behind us just before reaching Sydney and we caught a glimpse of the special blood full moon and I think we even saw a tiny bit of the lunar eclipse that happened that night. It looked like there was a little bite out of the Moon.  (Jim says I imagined that :-(

It was now Tuesday morning - we missed Monday altogether.
We had just a short layover in Sydney before catching a domestic flight to Brisbane. Sleep deprived and thoroughly discombubbled, we zipped thru customs, but had a tough time finding our gate. Finally we were directed to a shuttle bus that took us to the other side of the airport where domestic Qantas flights had their gates. 
We were just in time, I got settled into a window seat and when we took off I was rewarded with a fantastic view of Sydney harbor and, wait .. could it be? Yes it is! There's the Sydney opera house, that iconic view that I've seen in hundreds of photos but never for real - it's right below me with no clouds in the way so my phone can get a pretty good picture.

Chris Guld


Tom Van de Bussche said...

We took our trip to Australia and New Zealand 2 years ago next month. The worst part of the whole trip was the flights over and back. We were lucky and had three seats to ourselves both ways. Glad they had a lot of movies to watch as I did not sleep much.

Rick and Kathy Rousseau said...

Glad you could make it to the Land Down Under so easily. Looking forward to lots of Pictures.
Be Safe and Enjoy!

It's about time.

Bonnie said...

Glad you had a smooth flight! FYI, watched the tech show for your trip, what a great help!! I'm off on a cruise out of FL and they are not allowing Samsung Galaxy Note 7, some new travel restriction.