Are we there yet?

IMG_4127I’ve made it back to Toronto, and if I’m honest, the flights from the other side of the world weren’t as bad as I was expecting. I didn’t sleep nearly as much as I’d hoped, but I didn’t go insane, so there’s an upside.

My flight to Sydney left Perth at midnight and took three and half hours. I managed to get two seats to myself and squished myself into some sort of a barely comfortable position so I could doze through the flight. Due to the time zone change, I arrived as Sydney was just coming awake, a little after 6am, a brilliant full moon outside the window.

I then had about four hours to wait in Sydney airport, which was more than enough time to get from the domestic terminal to the international terminal, vegetate on the lounge for a while, and have time to get to my correct gate after I’d misread the departures board. A United flight was leaving for LA at the same time as my Qantas flight and I’d tried to get on the United one. I was a bit tired.

When I boarded the A380 to LAX, I was hopeful of getting a row of four to myself. All was looking good until I realised we still had about half an hour left of boarding, and unfortunately, in that time two other people arrived to occupy some of the seats in my row. While I didn’t get four seats, there was a spare one between me and the rather dashing guy another seat over so I wasn’t cramped.

After lunch, I threw back a sleeping pill and managed to get about three or four hours before waking, and then dozing on and off again throughout most of the rest of the flight. Instead of the nearly 14 hours I was expecting, we were only flying for about 12.5, which was a relief. I woke up with enough time to watch A Hundred Foot Journey, a Helen Mirren movie that wasn’t as good as I was expecting but was light-hearted enough to be enjoyable on insufficient sleep.

We began to descend a bit before 9am and I was fascinated by the journey as we skimmed along clouds and then descended into the grey. It was like being on the ocean, the clouds as waves. One of those moments when you realise you’re in the air.

LAX was hellish. I joined the “visitors” queue at immigration before hearing there were automated kiosks for ESTA people. I then joined that queue, used the ESTA kiosk, thinking I’d get out of there quicker. It was not to be. Once I’d used the kiosk, I then had to join another queue—one full of Americans and Canadians—to see a border security office. If I’d stayed in the queue for foreigners, I would have been through much quicker. Then there was another queue to get through customs, which crawled.

I was anxious that the three hours between landing and having to board my next flight wouldn’t be enough, but as there was little I could do to speed up the process, I waited along with everyone else and finally made it through. From there I went to Terminal 4 and joined another queue to get into where I needed to be to board the next—and final—flight with enough time to spare.

I had an exit row on my four hour flight to Toronto. I had all three seats to myself, which was great but the arm rests don’t lift up so wasn’t handy for a sleep. And then two people from the row behind moved up so I moved in front of them to the other exit row where there was only one other person. He slept the whole way. I watched Still Alice. Depressing film but well acted.

I landed in Toronto at 5:30 and was through border security extremely quickly. I then waited for Julian to pick me up. It was a nice summer’s day in Toronto. Unfortunately, traffic getting home was a nightmare but it gave us a chance to catch-up on our way home.

Glen was on-call so I had the evening to myself, emptying my suitcase, catching up on the three episodes of Veep I’d missed while I was away, and then a couple of episodes of Episodes, and ate chicken pie that Glen had made (it was very good. I think he can make it from now on). Glen came home about 10:30, and I was very happy to see him. I think he was happy to see me too.

Oh, and the other thing that happened was I left my wedding ring in Perth. Luckily, it’s at Dad’s, but I thought I’d lost it on my flight to LA. I only realised about two hours before we were due to land. Talk about frantic!

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