Secker Goes Globetrotting
15th Jun 2012
A double dose of June 15th
My flight was at 6am so I decided to head to the airport late on the night before, partly to save on the cost of a hostel but also because to get there in time I would have had to get the 3am bus anyway and I figured I wouldn't sleep that well knowing I would be getting up at 2.30am. I also figured i would be able to check in my bag and just hang out on a chair somewhere. I couldn't check my bag in when I got there at 11.30pm so I found the nearest set of chairs and settled down for the next 4 hours. I managed about an hour of sleep in two 30 minute bursts. I might have got longer but I saw people checking in at the Qantas desk so off I went. I don't have much luck in airports I've decided! When I tried to check in, half asleep, the lady behind the counter seemed to have a problem finding me in the system. I dug out my paperwork and where I made the date change back in January the flight had not been reconfirmed. I was confused as to what this meant but I was politely informed that until the ticketing desk opened at 4am (in an hour) I couldn't check in. Concerned that I had connecting flights etc to catch I asked whether this meant I could still fly. She said she didn't know it would depend on if they can sort my ticket. I could have cried but I was too tired to even process that emotion. I went to the ticket desk, they had a 24 hour helpline so I gave them a call instead of waiting an hour and 10 minutes later i was thankfully back at check in and getting checked in.
Everything went much more smoothly after that!! I slept most of the way from Auckland to Brisbane - god knows I needed it. A short two hour layover in Brisbane and I had the first of many coffees to perk me up. The next leg was going to be the longest flight I've had on my round the world trip - 12 hours until we arrived in LA. I got a seat with a bit of extra leg room but a very active toddler next to me. They eventually swapped to a row where there was a spare seat (thankfully, I just needed some sleep). On the other side of me I had a very friendly lady who snores very loudly. She was a little too friendly at one point and talked to me through my headphones which I eventually took off because she hadn't quite got the hint that I actually wanted to watch the film. She eventually stopped talking at me (it was one sided because I never had the opportunity to get a word in edge ways!) and I settled down to get some sleep. As far as I know it was around 4pm NZ time and 11pm LA time (the day before). When we landed at 6am I was feeling a bit refreshed - I still had a whole Friday to get to. That messes with your mind a bit - having the same day twice!
The domestic terminal was a short walk away and as I stepped outside this smell hit me. A good smell if course. It's hard to describe but America was the first place I traveled to semi alone back in the summer of 2000. American cities just have a smell about them and that's what hit me. Despite having never been to Seattle before, being in America felt familiar because I've traveled there twice before and it was a little comforting at that time and place.
I checked in 4-5 hours early for my LA to Seattle flight and went to get more coffee...there wasn't much else to do as the domestic terminal was small. I called home briefly to see how things were going. My parents were due to arrive in Canada on Wednesday but with my gran's death a few days ago I wasn't sure what was going to happen. I worried for nothing as they were still coming.
I slept the majority of the flight to Seattle because I couldn't keep my eyes open - the time difference was catching up with me.
I booked a shuttle bus to take me to my hotel as I had thought I'd be too tired to work out the public transport. My shuttle driver, on discovering I had come from NZ asked where else i had traveled. I listed the countries and he remarked how they were all mostly commonwealth countries - "didn't want to travel outside of the Queens realm then" was his question. And people wonder why some Americans get a bad rep with the world. I kindly corrected his assumption that while some of those countries may still be the Queens, many are no longer and some have never been. I swiftly changed the subject to my pending trip to Canada and he took the opportunity to Judge me once more on my choice of a country where the Queen is still head of state. He also then launched into a diatribe about Canadians and so I just let him ramble and admired the view of Seattle and the Olympic Mountains in the distance.
It was mums suggestion to book in to a hotel for the night and it was wonderful. Shared bathrooms but my own room with a big double bed and tv. By then i was hungry and so I asked reception to recommend somewhere close by. He suggested a place called local 360 just a couple of blocks down. I ordered a local ale and a burger. And then another beer.
It filled the hole and made me a little tipsy - I had after all been on the go for over 24 hours with a little bit of sleep. I had a lovely long shower and then around 8.30 settled in with the tv - hoping to stay awake until about 10.
I accidentally fell asleep at 9.30 and woke up 20 minutes later. Instead of just turning off the tv and going back to sleep I got up. Couldn't get back to sleep for about 3 hours after that. Damn power naps, they never work when I need them to and when I have them accidentally they work wonders!
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