It was a hard decision to decide to come (at which point I later learned it was either Australia or Fallon, NV, so its better I made the decision that I wanted to come vs someone telling me I had to go). Deciding to come meant finding someone to keep Teh Phil, which is more difficult after you've already been gone for 2.5 weeks to Scotland a few weeks prior AND during summer vacation time.
I did find somewhere for Phil to stay, then learned I was flying commercial air to Australia (holy mother of long flights). I accepted this fate by signing up for frequent flyer miles with the airlines my tickets were scheduled through.
The weekend before I left for Australia was Memorial Day weekend, and I volunteered for watch on Friday AND Saturday, meaning I didn't really get a long weekend to unwind and relax (ok this is only partly true). I did at least get Sunday and Monday. Sunday, I went to church and went out shopping for new sunglasses until my mysterious pains started, which sent me home in a fervor (driving home with these pains is probably the biggest accomplishment I've had since being in MD. I considered driving myself to the ER instead of home, but I knew home had drugs that they had already given me AND my bed, so I opted for home (which was also closer)). I spent a few hours in bed, napping, then woke up, packed for a little bit, then went to hang out with Teh Singing Cat Lady and her husband. We had dessert (Mud and red, white, and blue cupcakes) and played Hoopla (which was a blast)!
Monday, I had to bring Teh Phil to the lady who was keeping him, which was very difficult, because I always miss Phil when I'm gone. I purposely didn't drop him off till Monday so we could have that extra time together. When I got back home, I finished my laundry and packing, I finished season 5 of How I Met Your Mother, chatted with Teh Bear some, and eventually went to bed.
Tuesday, I got to go into work early to draft up some forms for DET, that I'm sure never actually got signed. YAY for most unorganized DET I've ever been on. I grabbed sushi for lunch from the commissary and at noon:30 we left for Dulles Airport (ick) and we checked in with ease. During the ride to the airport, I called USAA so I could see about what I needed to do so I wouldn't be charged transaction fees, and they said I had to fax my orders to them. That was a speed bump, but I planned on fixing it at the USO at Dulles.
Everything was going well enough.
Despite how well everything was going, I still had this ominous black cloud hanging over my head. The same black cloud that had been over me since I'd decided to go come to Australia. The mystery pain had started on Sunday and continued into Tuesday, but I tried to ignore it and hope for the best while managing the pain with meds (all the while praying that while we were over the Pacific that I didn't have a fit like I had in April that sent me to the ER).
Then things started to go downhill.... FAST.
After dropping our luggage off, I stopped by the USO to fax my orders to USAA and picked up some bandaids (which I'll get to) and Girl Scout Cookies. No big deal. Just a minor annoyance in the grand scheme of things.
We get to our gate, and learn that our boarding was delayed for 30 minutes for some reason. Then we finally boarded. Then we didn't have pilots for a few minutes. Then something was wrong with the flight systems. Then as we pushed off, we were informed we were delayed because there was lightning. Then when we were cleared to go again, we got up to the runway and we were told we had to wait out the storm.... in the aircraft... on the tarmac. Seriously? Seriously.
Our flight was delayed for 3 hours and we were supposed to have 2 hours between landing and our connecting flight to Sydney. Lets just talk about how that didn't happen. It didn't happen. Fortunately for us, we had a 24 hour layover in San Francisco. Pretty awesome. Except, I was still hurting. It was killing me to pull my carry-on behind me, but I didn't want anyone to have to take care of me, so I just suffered through it as much as possible. I was hunched over and I felt like I was waddling to not aggravate the pain anymore than possible. Oh, yeah, I was also wearing these slide on shoes that are super cute, but are the devil. Just from Tuesday morning and the walk through the airport, I had 2 blisters on my heels and a blister forming on one of my toes (thus the bandaids at the USO).
I took some meds and went to bed in SF. We had planned to do some touring of the city since we were there all day. I was the only one who had been to SF, but I still wanted to get some photos in. I finally rode in a Cable Car, we went down to Pier 39 for the Sea Lions, we saw the curviest road in the world or something, and I somehow managed to walk around all day with my blistered feet and my mysterious pain. Death might have been a preferred alternative. I questioned my sanity about halfway through the day and why I didn't just opt to sit at the USO instead of venturing out (borrrring!).
At some point during the day, I learned that Phil had attacked his sitter's cat. There was lots of blood, the lady had some injuries, Phil had some potential injuries, the cat had disappeared, and she was looking for somewhere else for him to stay. Cue feelings of helplessness and frustration. I communicated as much as I could while I still had phone service. I was very glad that our plane had been delayed, because otherwise, it would have been days before I found out about the incident and gave them contact information for my backup sitter which would have meant Phil potentially going to the kennel (which I really couldn't have afforded at $30 a day).
Finally, it was time to head back to the airport. We caught BART back and started the adventure of getting to Australia. We ran into several ticket problems. Since we missed our flight, our tickets had to be rebooked, which is really a pain in the (insert your choice of body part). The SF-->Sydney had to be rebooked, along with the Sydney --> Perth. /wrist. Apparently, it wasn't done correctly the night that we'd arrived in SF, so it had to be "fixed". Once we finally got checked in and through security and to our gate, we started the process of trying to upgrade our seats. /wrist. Apparently, United no longer does upgraded seating to Business First or First Class. So we were given Economy Plus. By that point, I was exhausted, hurting, and didn't really care. I just hoped that I was in an empty row so I could lay down the whole way there.
We boarded and were actually on schedule. Luckily, I had a window seat and the seat between myself and the guy in the aisle seat was empty. He asked if I wanted to lay down (he had to actually put my carry on in the overhead storage because by that point I couldn't lift it) since he knew that I was hurting. I took a delightful cocktail of meds, hoping that it would at least dull the pain, then I slept for 10-12 hours of the 14 hour flight. I woke up to eat around the 10 hour mark then promptly went right back to sleep. I kinda squeezed in the two seats, then when my knees couldn't handle being bent anymore, I just put my feet and legs up on the window. Social concerns go out the window if your flight is more than 5 hours, imo at least.
We arrived in Sydney on time, but we had to get our luggage (which had made it with us, YAY!) and clear customs, then check back in with the Australian airline, Quantas. Despite being told on the plane to fill out the form, we still had folks in our group who failed to do so (wtf how hard is it to ask someone to borrow a pen to fill in the freakin blanks?). We were held back because of that. Then once we got up to check in, we learned that our tickets hadn't been booked properly, so 2 of us (I was one of those 2) had to just buy a ticket from the airline right then. /headdesk.
In a fortunate turn of events, we magically made it to the terminal with 7 minutes to spare before boarding time via a bus that zig-zagged across the tarmac. Woah. We got off the bus and started to head to our gate and there was a majestic, brightly-lit, Krispy Kreme directly in front of us. There may have also been a magical melody playing, but that could have just been in my head. We stopped for KK, then headed on to our gate. I also found a place that had fruit cups, so I picked up one of those as well. We all arrived within a few minutes of boarding, but we had made it, and that was the important part. I wasn't hurting too bad, but all the rushing definitely wasn't improving the situation.
We boarded and were on schedule arriving to Perth. After passing through quarantine again (Australia is really serious about customs and not bringing stuff in the country), we made our way to the rental cars and promptly got lost and amazingly found our way after a while.
We're staying at a resort named The Vines about 15 minutes from RAAF Pearce. I have a bedroom with 2 twin beds, one for sleeping in and another for holding crap. I was just thrilled to have a room to myself. I worked the first 3 days (including the day we arrived).
Yesterday was my first day off, so we took advantage and headed into Perth. We went to Perth Zoo (where I took ~500 photos), to North Beach (more pics), then back into downtown Perth for souvenir shops and night time photos. Traffic wasn't very heavy, so I didn't get too many long exposure traffic photos, butttttttt there was this amazing rainbow color changing building that I got over 100 photos of. I'm sure no one will be as impressed as we were, but eh. I should have just taken video, but that never even crossed my mind. Photography>Videography.
I'm going to try to upload some Scotland pics and some Australia pics on the free internet when I get a chance.
But I think that is as good of an update as I can give to this point. I'm sure Teh Dad just sighed in relief to have gotten the whole story. He's been signing on to talk to me on a daily basis and I really don't have any great adventures to talk to him about. So now, I just made up for all the chat time I've not been chatty. :)
The other great thing about doing run down posts like these is that once the pics get finished, I can just upload them and not have to tell too much backstory! YAY!
|Hi, we're just a lazy Kangaroos.|
Want to catch up on the Australia Adventures???1st day off in Australia (summary)
2nd day off in Australia (summary)
San Francisco (photos)
Perth Zoo a, b, c (photos)
The Indian Ocean and downtown Perth at night (photos)
Caversham Wildlife Park a, b, c (photos)
Fremantle Prison (photos)
walking around Fremantle (the city) (photos)
Perth from King's Park (photos)
HMAS Ovens (submarine) (photos)
Sydney at night (photos and a story)
Sydney in the morning (photos and a story)
Australia Panoramics (photos)