So there’s a lot of juicy blog-worthy stuff that led up to our departure, and I’ll come back to some of those next week and in the weeks ahead. For today though, I’ll update you in a more timely way, cause yesterday, we moved to Australia.
The last few days before we left, we saw an uptick in time with family – which we loved. Dan’s mom came out to stay for a few days, and we went down to visit my parents for a few days before that.
My immediate family and Evelyn came to see us off at the airport. It was like a wake, waiting to go through security. No one wanted it to end, (us to go on through security) but it was torturing us all.
After hugs and tears, we finally walked through security:
We got through Canadian security no problem, and flew just over an hour to Vancouver. In Vancouver we ate our last Canadian meal at Milestones and I had a glass of my last Canadian wine.
Then we boarded the big mama flight.
I have to say, this was probably the best flight experience I’ve ever had. Air New Zealand has this auction option, where you can bid on unsold seats in the tier above you. So we bid for Premium plus seats and WON!!! It meant we could each bring a second suitcase and a second carryon for free. (We were planning to anyway, we’d just have had to pay for them – like chumps!). So this was better. In addition, it featured so much leg room, power for our devices, unlimited drinks, gourmet food and all the little perks of the rich – like hot towel service, and a flight attendant named Mark who only wanted to make us happy for our 14 hour flight.
The icing on the proverbial cake was that Dan booked us in the Window and Aisle seats, hoping to deter another person from selecting a middle seat. We lucked out and the seat between us was empty for the flight. There was enough space I was actually able to sleep on the floor! Dan slept at least eight hours, I think I got between seven and eight. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! (And also two Benadryls, one melatonin and two glasses of wine).
[What’s that? You want a side note on compression stockings? Fine. Compression socks and staying well hydrated definitely kept my body feeling pretty balanced – though I’ve noticed when going for a walk today that my calves were seizing up. Maybe atrophied from too much sitting? Maybe uncompressing after too much compression? But even though I looked like an old lady, I’d do it again].
So we landed in Auckland, nothing too special to note – no earthquakes. I will say that Air New Zealand has the most creative intro video (you know, the one where they show you how to buckle your seatbelt?). So after a final 3.5 hour trip over to Sydney we were done.
29 hours in transit. 13694 kilometres travelled. Seven movies watched. Seven hours of sleep (not bad). Three meals in a row that were breakfasts. The usual travel stuff.
Then on arriving to Sydney, we were nervous and hoped we had all our ducks in a row. We have heard about the Australian Border Force and the television show that makes sport of catching fraudsters, mules, illegal importers and the like.
After boarding, its like cattle – you do what the people in front of you do.
Stop 1. The bathroom.
Stop 2. Immigration. I don’t know how this happened, but there were two planes disembarking at the same time. 400-500 people all making a run for the same four Border Services Agents. By the time we got there (near the back of the pack) we were expecting a line-up, but there was no one. I do not know where they all went. When we got there, there were maybe 10 people in front of us. We were standing in front of Mr. Immigration inside of five minutes. He stamped our passports, approved our permanent residency and welcomed us to Australia with a friendly smile. (Said, smoil).
Stop 3. Baggage. By the time we walked up to the carousel, our four long-suffering bags were just popping out of the entrance, waiting to be picked up. We literally had enough time to grab two carts and get the bags. Then we walked over to the quarantine area to declare our goods. There, six of the friendliest Border Services Agents you’ve ever met peppered us with questions about Disneyland vs. Disneyworld. They approved our stuff in less than five minutes I’d say!
Then we walked to the exit as permanent, bonafide, Australian residents.
Stop 4. Get a SIM card. Thanks to Tanya, I had an idea of which company we should go with to start with. The pimply teenager in the phone kiosk set my phone up, gave me an Oz number, and sent me on my way. Thanks buddy!
Stop 5. Get a cab. We did briefly entertain the notion of using public transit to get to our Airbnb, but soon realized it would be impossible with four fifty pound suitcases, and four carry-ons totalling another ninety pounds. No thanks. Pass. The cabbie sussed out whether we knew the city or not (could he take the long, circuitous route, or the direct, simple route) but thanks to my pimply teenager activated phone, I was able to spit out enough info to convince the cabbie he couldn’t pull one over on me.
Stop 6. Get to the AirBnb. We’re staying in a burb called Randwick. Then after arriving we walked down to the beach, picked up some groceries (coffee (me), apples (Dan), coffee cream (me), carrots (Dan) etc. etc. etc.