I was up at 3:45am, though I woke up a time or two before then. Despite that, I slept well in-between waking up to check my clock, even though I only went to bed a little before midnight. Sure, you’ll say I should have gone to bed earlier, but I’d have just stayed awake. Going to bed does not mean you go to sleep.
The car was packed by 4:15am, and I was eating breakfast, and waiting for everybody else to get up. We left a little after 5, and made excellent time. So, we were able to fit in a Starbucks stop, though we had to go through the drive-thru. I was either still tired or frazzled by the drive-thru itself, because I ordered a venti, when I meant to order a tall (or maybe a grande). Either way, when I saw the size of the drink they were bringing me, I realized what I’d done. : ) Not that I”m incapable of drinking that much, but it lasted the rest of the trip, and usually, you’re not supposed to drink a lot before getting on a plane!
There were no problems with the weighing of my checked luggage, which I was thankful for. Goodbyes were said, but I won’t go into that. Mom and Dad saw me through the scanners, and then I headed for my gate. The lines were pretty long for breakfast food, so I ate my goldfish crackers, while waiting. Once on the plane, there was very little overhead space left, so I had to go put my carry-on about 7 rows back. Consequently, since I didn’t want to be the one “going against the current” and annoying people, I was the last person seated.
Five hours later, we arrived in California. I was doing quite well on this trip, no hitches with anything, and feeling pretty cheerful by this time, though I was just about starving. Goldfish weren’t enough to tide me over, and I didn’t want to pay the arm and a leg for the meals they were selling. Anyway, I arrived, and promptly got confused about where I was supposed to go. I know, you’re shocked. After wandering for a little while, I got some McD’s and inhaled it. Needed some fuel in order to get my brain working.
Then, I realized I needed to get out front where the cars come in, and then I just started walking and looking for my terminal. I did enjoy the walk, though my shoulders were getting tired after 4 or 5 terminals (with loads of airlines each). Then I remembered my bakpak can go over the pull handles of my carry-on. That helped a lot. By this time, I’d found the international terminals, and it was Terminal 4. Now, if my head had been on straight, I’d have looked at my itinerary, and it would’ve told me I wanted terminal 4. Oh well.
They had an early check-in at 2pm (my flight leaves around 11pm), and I got in line with the handful of Australians who were also there. An elderly gentleman and I conversed for a bit, while we waited. I got up to the desk, and she told me my carry-on bags were too heavy. After all the weight checking on my checked luggage, I hadn’t rechecked the rules for carry-ons… and both bags were overweight. And a fee doesn’t cover it.
So, I had to empty about 2lbs from my laptop bag into my red carry-on (which had almost no room left), and remember to pull my extra camera batteries out, because those can’t go in checked baggage. They’re flammable, apparently. Remember, people, no lithium ion batteries in checked luggage. I finally had to compromise on the weight by removing my camera from my BumBakPak and carrying it separately. And now, I didn’t have a lock for my red bag and I didn’t want to worry about anything being stolen.
But the check-in lady told me that I can check my bag at the gate and avoid the fee for extra checked baggage. So, I’m not too keen on waiting to see how that goes, but I’m sure it’ll work out.
As you can imagine, by this time, my lack of sleep and stress from saying goodbyes were catching up with me and these little moments of non-sunshine were seriously impairing my attitude. Well, inside, at least. All that sunshine outside didn’t help at all, I was feeling pretty dreary, mentally. I went through the metal detectors and got the fun of going through the “stick-em-up” x-ray machines, but at this point, I just didn’t care. They didn’t stop me for anything, and I continued on.
I should have brought my phone with me, but I didn’t. It hadn’t occurred to me that I might actually want to communicate with people using it, up until I left the country. I had assumed the laptop would be enough. But I couldn’t find a power source to charge my laptop with, and I needed to find a wi-fi source. Ever feel like things are snowballing in your head, and you don’t even have anybody to blow off steam to, and no way of blowing off steam, long-distance, either? Yeah.
Eventually, I discovered I could pay a small fee and get wi-fi for the day, using T-Mobile. Also, there are Samsung charging stations by most of the gates, where you can charge just about anything. So, I charged my laptop and let off steam, at the same time. With a vanilla latte for company. Things started to seem better.
Now, it’s 7pm Pacific Time (10pm back home), and we’ll probably be boarding in about 3 hrs. The afternoon hasn’t crawled too badly, after all. When the next flight out of this gate finishes boarding, I’m going to go back to the Samsung station and recharge. The computer, not me. And after I figure out what I need to do with my checked carry-on, I will hopefully get onboard and pass out for most of the trip. At this point, I’ve been up since 3:45am, with only a nap or two, here and there, and that was Eastern Time, when I left. We’ll be boarding at 2am, Eastern Time.
But my “new family” is expecting me, and will be meeting me at the airport in Rockhampton, about this time tomorrow (Eastern Time). So, there’s something new and different and exciting to look forward to. My first steps into Australia, and the experience of being the “odd man out”, the lone American amongst the Aussies. It’ll be wild, don’t you think?
Breaking News: I went to buy a bottle of water and discovered my wallet was missing. After searching my pockets and my bags and debating where I could have left it, I was having heart palpitations. Praying and near to tears, I returned to where I had been sitting, to find it perched on the metal joint, next to where I’d been sitting. Black wallet, black painted metal. If I hadn’t gone to buy that bottle of water, I might have gotten on the plane in an hour or so, leaving my driver’s license and credit cards behind in L.A. I know I have friends praying for journeying mercies for me, but I had never thought about lost wallets in that category. Thank you, Lord.