Tuesday 9th April – Travel Day
Travel day has finally arrived. Wendy and Kate made the trip to the airport with me. I am not looking forward to 18 hours in a plane however the effort will be worth it. I am travelling with V Australia this time as their planes are a little more spacious as well as giving you your own screen to view movies.
The line to get through customs at Tullamarine was very much on the long side. Round and round you go as you wind your way to the scanning area. I heard someone call out my name and was surprised to see Lauren from the Williamstown RSL in the line beside me. She is off to New Zealand for a wedding. I was pulled out of the line after the scan and was asked if I was carrying any explosives. The only combustible I am carrying is last night’s Mexicana pizza sitting low in the gut.
I was pleased to see that Flight Centre had come true with their promise to get me an aisle seat. I am a bit too unsteady on my feet to be climbing over passengers. Bonus also as the seat next to me is occupied by a young boy. I dreaded that a guy I saw at check- In would be sitting next to me. He was a very big hunk of a man and I would have finished up with many rolls of fat on my arm rest.
Once we were in the air the pilot gave us the news that we would have a tail wind all the way across the Pacific and travelling time would be cut by near on an hour. Great news although it means my 8 hour stopover at L.A. airport will blow out to 9 hours. Gotta say the service was very good and the food was very unlike airplane food.
Some six hours into the flight and my Lynx deodorant has let me down. 12 hour protection is bullshit.
We landed in L.A. around 7:30 A.M. and this time getting through border patrol was very quick. So much better than last year when it took 3 hours due to a customs strike. I was asked what food I was carrying. I had ticked the entry form for food. I said 4 tubes of Vegemite (gifts). The customs guy said I don’t class that as food and waved me through.
I got my checked luggage from the carousal and then checked it in for the 4 hour domestic trip down to New Orleans with Delta airlines. I have about 8 hours to waste. I decided to go through the domestic check in and sit it out in the lounge. The security checks for domestic flights in the U.S. are more stringent than International flights. L.A. airport is undergoing renovations and unluckily for me this effected the number of points of entry.
What should I eat? Hmm… Red Miso Beef and rice was an excellent choice.
Eight hours of people watching, reading and checking my emails on my Galaxy Tablet (free Wi-Fi at the airport). I have such a long wait head of me that my flight is not even listed on the departure board. Finally after an eternity of trying not to nod off our flight is ready to board. I know I must be in the correct departure lounge as there is a women in her mid -twenties very drunk waiting to board the plane. Well she is going to New Orleans so she may as well get a head start.
We got into New Orleans just before 11P.M. and I am dog tired. It is always a great relief when you see your luggage on the carousal. Until you can spot your suitcase you always think the worst. I.E. my suitcase has gone to Alaska.
I got a cab and asked the driver to take me to the St Helen hotel on Chatres St in the French Quarter. I will be staying at the same apartment on Bourbon that I had spent 3 months in last year. However seeing I stuffed up my leaving date the apartment still has guests and I can’t get in until Wednesday morning. I booked the hotel via Expedia as it was the cheapest I could find. I thought I must have stuffed up as my cab driver keept saying to me ‘I aint never heard of no St. Helen hotel. I showed him my handwritten address. ‘”Oh man, you mean St Helene”
I got to the hotel at 5 minutes to midnight. Check- in was painless until the concierge said that I was on the third floor. The problem was as he said “This is a very old hotel sir. We do not have an elevator. You will need to carry your suitcase up two flights of stairs.’ I can tell you I was puffing like an old steam train when I finally made the third floor.
Sorry for the delay with the posts, I have had some connection problems