Friday, 28 November 2014

The Never Ending Monday

Monday 24th November 2014

We set the alarm for 4am (Monday morning), which meant that somewhere in the world it must still have been Saturday night.
All we knew was that it was early and dark outside.

Fortunately the Sunday evening packing of cases made it vastly more easy to finish getting ready and downstairs for Bec to pick us up at 5 oçlock for the early run to the airport.
Is this the real reason we have children – so that they can take us old people to the airport early in the morning when we really should be asleep – I am thinking that this could be one of those reasons but maybe not the only one.
Anyway there we were outside the airport saying goodbye to Bec and wishing that we could have spent some more time together – with this lifestyle we can never be sure when any of us will meet up again.
We loved Auckland and the weather had been great as well.

Unlike our early morning experience in Melbourne just 3 days earlier, there were plenty of people waiting for check-in but with enough desks open we were through pretty quickly.

Again the flight was uneventful – the same movies and programs were available on the in-flight entertainment, just in case we had missed something the first time.

We arrived in Sydney about 9:30 local time and after going through security again – even as a transit passenger we then found the general mulling area with people sitting around waiting for their flights to be called – the usual situation.
For us though, it would be a bit of a wait as the Qantas flight was not due to leave until 15:35.
We have become used to a lot of airports and waiting and we have found that generally they appear the same but at least there are a number of places in which to eat or just sit around.
Must say we were disappointed with Sydney – if you want something other than McDonald’s then there was just one other food outlet and only one other coffee shop; there seemed to be a dearth of phone/device charging points; just the one area in which to sit down and not overly large at that.
What there is plenty of are the high-end shops willing to charge quite high prices for something to add to your carry-on luggage.

Still we managed to spend our time reasonably easily there – which is a sign in itself.

One ominous sign for us was that even with an allocated gate number we could not simply go to that gate and wait; and later we found out why.
It seemed to us that flights to the US all go through specific gates which allows the passengers to be checked before they actually get anywhere near the gate and have random checks done for explosives – from what we could gather this was a US requirement.
Once you get through this (Diane was one of those pulled aside for this random check – there was also a check done by a “pat-down” and unfortunately for her it was done by a woman), we were then required to wait in a very small waiting lounge – with seats for no more than about 100 people – and this being for an A380 flight.
 
If only there were this many people on the plane - everyone would
have a whole row to themselves - definitely not enough seats for all
to sit down and wait.

Anyway we were wheels up about on-time and away – by this stage we had been travelling for almost 14 hours i.e. since we had woken in Auckland and our Monday was now about 18 hours old.
The A380 is a superb plane and one that we have travelled on a number of times – the extra seat width and leg room is very much appreciated.
We settled in for a lengthy flight – the expected flight time being approximately 15 hours and reported to be the longest flight in the world.
We have done the Dubai to Melbourne flight of about 13-14 hours a few time already and found no problems with it and so expected that this would be just the same only slightly longer.
Despite a couple of young children (babies really) in the seats in front of us we did manage to doze off a few times but with any flight it is difficult to get good quality sleep but we managed a bit – Diane perhaps less so.

At a little before 14:00 (Dallas time) we touched down and were in the US for our third time in 3 years and it was still M onday – having crossed the International Date Line during our flight.
Monday was now 35 hours old.

Breezed through passport control and after a short wait for bags we were out into the US – at large.
Caught the bus to pick up the car rental – no problems there either – those were to come  as we pulled out into the traffic – the most asked question for people driving in a new area “Which way do we go?” closely followed by “Why did you go that way?”

We had a general map and some brief knowledge from the lady at the remtal place, but as usual we got a bit confused and ended up going around in circles and then the wrong way.

Finally after a bit of thought about it all and asking at a service station we found where we needed to go. We were on a schedule as we needed to pick up Sam – the problem being that she was flying into a different airport.
We found the signs to go to Dallas Love Field Airport and as has been our luck in the past, we found the place where we were staying, so we quickly checked in and unloaded all of the bags, and then headed off to the airport.
Got there just as her plane landed and then waited a fair while until she finally appeared; collected her luggage and off to the supermarket for supplies.
Finally made it back to the accommodation and had a bit to eat – now it was 8pm – time elapsed since Monday began – 39 hours and still 4 to go.


Monday 24th November 2014 had lasted just under 2 full days – it could have been longer if we had landed and stayed in Honolulu but not by much.

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