The plane journey was: San Francisco -> Los Angeles -> Christchurch -> Adelaide.
I think I needed to be at the airport in San Francisco at something like 2pm. I had to throw out the watch I bought in London because it had stopped working.
The train to the airport worked fine. I think I was a bit panicky because I couldn't figure out where I needed to be in the airport. It was confusing. They always seem to have five different lines and a very cryptic, minimalist description for who each line is for.
I eventually figured out that the airline didn't check anyone in by people anymore. You had to go to a computer and do it yourself. I was nervous because I'd never done that, and if I made a mistake somehow, then it's an expensive ticket to have to replace. Eventually a guy had to help out anyway because I had luggage that needed to be dealt with. I don't think he even really weighed the luggage, because they had nothing there to weigh it with... it was strange, but I was happy about that. And the ticket at least said my name and that it would take me to Adelaide so I was then feeling good about it all.
|First time I'd seen this one in print, after a 6 or so year wait. I was tempted to buy it, but my bag was crammed with stuff already.|
I talked to those people pretty much for the whole flight. I found out that they were here to learn some of the language and that they didn't really know the other people in the group but that they have lots of these organisations in China that take people over. The girl was a maths student and she was pretty happy to hear that I did the same. The guy was asking me what computer games I play.
When we landed, they gave me a small souvenir. It looks to me like a small wooden bucket attached to string. I don't quite understand it. Maybe it's a good luck thing? But I thought it was very nice of them. I felt bad that I didn't have anything to give them. We exchanged email addresses but I haven't emailed them. I don't know what I'd say.
On getting to Los Angeles Airport I decided to get to the next place that I needed to be as soon as possible, even though I think I had 6 hours or so to wait.
People say that Los Angeles Airport is the worst airport in the world, and I think I probably agree with them.
To get to the next place where the plane takes off I had to walk outside, walk down an ordinary looking road with no signs, find a place where a bus would pick me up, that was marked with some strange hieroglyphs, and then ride it over to some other quadrant of the airport. I couldn't see any signs saying this stuff, and I was lucky that after standing around very confused for 20 minutes I was able to spot a single airport person who rushed out the directions.
At this next airport place, after the bus, you find yourself in a very long empty building. You walk all the way along the building, through stages of doors, until you find some people and security gates, which you guess must be where you need to go through. So you do that. Along the way you overhear some New Zealand people saying that they're stuck in this horrible place for 12 more hours because their plane got hit by lightning.
Then you go up some escalators and find yourself in a tiny closed off section of the airport with about 4 obscure shops. That's where you need to stay for the next five hours, unless you want to take the strange bus again and explore any of the other small isolated fragments of airport and get yourself lost.
|This photo and the next one pretty much cover the entire area of this place where you need to stay for five hours. I think the whole airport is made up of lots of these little things, all detached and secluded.|
|If you sit up here then you can almost get wifi connection from the VIP lounge which is nearby. You can also brush your teeth a few times because you've been sitting on a plane and loitering around for hours. It's luxury.|
|Luckily there was a place in here that sold pizza! It's alright for airport food. Quite expensive though I think.|
The plane took off at something like 10pm Los Angeles time on 16th July. We would land in Christchurch, New Zealand, in the early morning on July 18 because we'd pass the +12/-12 GMT point. I've forgotten how it works, but I think there was just a small amount of time when it was July 17, which is my birthday. So I had a birthday somewhere above the Pacific Ocean for maybe just a few minutes.
We landed at Christchurch and it was very early in the morning. When we got in, the line to get through customs was chaos. I noticed that some people next to me had connecting flights that were leaving in only 10 or 20 minutes, but they were still far back in the line. They didn't seem to be heaps panicked though. I didn't understand that. Maybe it doesn't matter too much.
I got through and then I just had a little explore of the airport. Then I sat down and a guy from Chile sat near me. He asked me if I spoke Spanish. I didn't. He told me that he's an exchange student and is headed to Brisbane but his plane has been delayed by 10 hours or so. He was kind of worried because people were supposed to pick him up but he didn't speak english well enough to call them and explain. So he asked me to call them. So I did. I felt kind of weird about it because it must have been about 3am in Brisbane at that time. I asked if they had a mobile phone number so that I could sms them, but he didn't know of one. So I just called them and left a message, and then the person answered half way through the message and was slightly annoyed, but that was because I was calling them at 3am, and she was happy that she could then sleep in for longer. It was strange. Chile guy thanked me. He was a nice guy. I think we exchanged emails.
A lady left $20 on a table. I was going to let the Chilean guy have it if she didn't come back. But she did, and she was heaps thankful when we gave it back.
I stayed talking to the Chilean guy for a bit too long. He was quite bored I think, because he had a long time to sit. Then I realised that I really should get to the next plane.
I rushed off and along the way asked an airport information person if there was any security check along the way, because I really didn't want to be delayed. He asked, slightly jokingly "why? you don't have a gun do you?" He was happy that I didn't, and made a joke about Americans all having guns or something.
I got to the plane in time and then we flew to Adelaide.
|Tired, and kind of not ready to be back.|
|A friend made me a birthday cake, with tim tams,...|
|Got me an awesome hat,...|
|and we had my favourite pasta dish for dinner, with enough parmesan cheese.|