Wednesday, May 13

Greetings From San Diego!

We made it! But we almost didn't due to a few dramas we had!

Tuesday morning, we got to the airport at 8:30am, 2.5 hours prior to when the flight was due to leave (11:05am)... we thought that would give us plenty of time... But due to a series of circumstances, we cut it pretty fine! Firstly, the check-in line was moving at a snail's pace... we got to the counter after waiting an hour! And then discovered that the tickets for Phan had been booked under the wrong name (due to a cultural discrepancy, where his passport has his middle name and first name reveresed around). So Phan had to get his tickets reissued in the correct name before we could check-in... Qantas service people were cranky cows and said this wasn't their problem and that we had to get our travel agent to book change it. So Phan was on the phone with our travel agent (who luckily enough was at work and was right on the case)... it was all very frustrating, because I remember telling the travel agent to book Phan's tickets under his middle name (Tien) because of his passport... but we think the system got confused because of Phan's frequent flyer number, which was linked but uses his first name... anyway... multiple phone calls and what seemed like the most AGONOZINGLY loongest time and then at 10:20am, we got the all clear, raced over to the check-in counter to find the flight 2 minutes away from closing check-ins for our flight and we were the very last people to check-in for the flight... Then Phan had to run our stroller over to over-sized luggage at the other end of the terminal. And then at the very last checkpoint, Phan was lucky enough to be randomly chosen to be frisked and is bag checked *again* (for like the 4th time!). On the upside, we have discovered the one advantage of being the very last people on the flight... we got an express card to get through the security & customs queue...

So after that mad frenetic rush... we were just relieved to get on the plane. I have to mention... Beth was sooo good while we were at the airport... She was pretty happy to stand around and talk with us and was totally oblivious to our drama. I also had the foresight to pack her a ham sandwich and a bottle of juice before we left home in the morning and that kept her occupied for about half an hour too.

And then the 13 hour flight... What can I say... It was long... but it actually didn't feel as long as I thought it would (perhaps because I'm remembering when we had our 17-18 flight to Europe for our honeymoon). Beth was *amazing* on the flight... thank god for inflight entertainment and The Wiggles ... she has never liked The Wiggles before (she was scared of them because they are men!), but all of sudden it was her new favourite show.... I'm sure she spent about 2.5 watching the same Wiggles episode. And then I'm sure she spent a good 4 hours watching various playschool episodes. The rest of the time she spent eating or trying to have sleep... and we spent a small amount of time playing with some of the toys and stickers I had packed into her bag to amuse her. The only not-so-great thing about the flight... Beth only slept for 40 minutes at about 6pm (Brisbane time)... and then althought she tried really hard to have more sleep, she just couldn't ... but then fell asleep from sheer exhaustion about 30 minutes before the plane was due to land (which was midnight Brisbane time and 7am LA time). Because of this we tried to let her have a decent rest and got off the plane last... We had to go through customs anyway, so no rush and our connecting flight wasn't until 11:15am. Fortunately, we got put into an express queue again (I think because we have a young child... all the other people in the queue also had young kids) and then our luggage went onto the Qantas/business club carousel (because we had been so late!) and then once we cleared customs a second time, we did a bag drop and then on to catch our connecting flight, which wasn't until 11am... We had 2.5 hours to kill (we were told to allow lots of time for clearing customs)... so we caught a shuttle bus to the American Eagle terminal to find it really empty with nothing to do... and then some customer service people asked us if we wanted to catch the 9:15am flight to San Diego... since Beth was still in a pretty good mood, we took them up on the offer (who knew if Beth was just going to crack it from lack of sleep at any minute and we didn't want it to happen on a plane!)... but still had to wait in San Diego Airport for 2 hours for our luggage to come in on the 11:15am flight... But it was just good to actually reach our destination city after the drama we'd had in the last 24 hours... we didn't mind waiting there and Beth just reached this state where she became manically, deliriously happy and non-stopping chattering away and laughing... it was hilarious! She was dealing with the lack of sleep a lot better than Phan and I...

Got our luggage, called for our shuttle bus and finally reached our hotel... (and Beth crashed out in the shuttle on the way...) We were kindly allowed to check-in early and got upgraded to a city view room... Beth was still asleep, so we took the opportunity to get some much needed shut-eye. When we woke up mid-afternoon, we freshened up and then went looking for something for dinner and for a supermarket (which the Americans have no idea what you're talking about if you call them that... it's a food store or a conveninece store or grocery store here!) to grab some basic essentials (nappies, drinks, milk for Beth) After much searching we found a not-too dodgy looking Chinese place and got some to take away (or as it is called here "to-go")... I think Beth was really craving some rice after having had to eat a weird cheese pasta on the plane, not having a proper dinner (they didn't serve a dinner meal on our flight) and a heavy breakfast of hash brown with bacon and scrambled eggs.

So right now.. Phan is enjoying watching the LA Lakers in a playoff live on TV... Beth is chilling out with her milk and I'm here doing this update... it's daylight savings in San Diego, so the sun doesn't set until 7:40pm and apparently the sun rises at 5:50am... looong days... which will be good so we can squeeze lots of things in!

We've encountered some very friendly and helpful Americans already... and from our very limited exploration this afternoon, I'm enjoying the city... it's an eclectic mix of cultures... lots of weird food places (and weird foods in the supermarket!)

It's been a looong 30 hours... I've had 1.5 hours sleep... Phan's had 2.5 hours sleep... Beth's running on 4.5 hours sleep... I think bedtime is not too far away for us!

Youtube is not working for me here for some bizarre reason, so I've uploaded these clips into my Facebook account and embedding them into here... hope this works... this series shows the progression of super happy, but tired, deliriousness -

Beth @ LAX on 1.5 hours sleep (2am Brisbane time, 9am LA time)

Beth @ San Diego Airport on only 1.5 hours sleep... (about 4am Brisbane time, 12pm LA time)

Beth @ Hotel on 4 hours sleep (about 10:30am Brisbane time, 5:30pm San Diego time)

7:45pm SD time and she's asleep... and I'm off to join her!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Geez what a stressful start to the trip! I'm glad everything eventually worked out. Enjoy San Diego...

Love Bao