Archive for the ‘airport’ Category

Departing Paradise

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Our last day in Fiji of course began with packing. Julie and I had thought we needed to be checked out of our rooms by 11, but Dad thought this sounded odd, so he had gone to the front desk the previous day and asked about this and they had told him 10. Once we had packed our suitcases for the last time we headed to the breakfast bar in the hotel lobby where we found Mom and Dad already having eaten but not sitting with any luggage. When we inquired about this we found out that Julie and I had been right, and Dad might be slipping into senility because check out time was indeed at 11. Why he thought the front desk had told him otherwise is anyone’s guess. Julie and I were a little peeved that we were cheated out of an extra hour of sleep, but we were already up and packed so there was no going back at this point. Our international flight to LAX didn’t depart till 10pm so we wouldn’t be leaving the hotel until around 7, meaning we had the whole day to fill before spending another two days either on an airplane or in an airport. While Julie and I were finishing up with breakfast Dad went to the front desk to pay the bill. This bill was going to be massive after all the meals we had charged to the room, room service, bar tabs, and of course the jet ski safari, and to make matters worse it was going to come in Fijian dollars so it was going to be 1.5x higher than it would be in american, numerically anyway. Julie and I did not want to be around to witness the massive coronary Dad was going to have when he got that, so we headed to the pool.

Poolside on the last day

 

 Being that it was fairly early Julie and I were able to snag two  lounge chairs in a premium position, and there we stayed until around two or three pm when we got hungry. By that time Mom had joined us and Dad of course had found a bar somewhere and probably some strangers to talk to, so Mom, Julie and I had lunch at the hotel restaurant that faces the beach.

Beachside restaurant

After lunch we got back in the pool for a bit before Julie decided she would take a nap on a lawn chair and Mom and I took a long walk down the beach. Around five Julie and I used the pool showers to wash our hair and then put our comfortable clothes on to prepare for the plane. From then on it was just a waiting game until 7 when we were getting picked up. So I took some pictures around the hotel to pass the time.

on the beach

 

 

 

Fiji water in Fiji.....go figure. We got these everyday for free.

 

The man who was driving our bus transport to the airport talked a lot about the island we were on as we drove. At one point he said “and to your left you will see the American embassy.” We all leaned to the left to get a peak, but all we saw was a McDonalds. He got a good laugh at this. He also told us that while there are 334 Fijian islands there are only three McDonalds locations, and they have to import the french fries since the potato does not grow naturally there.

We got to the airport and through security with about two hours to spare so we set off to try to entertain ourselves in the terminal. Mom walked around through all the tacky overpriced souvenir shops, Julie and I stood in line to get our Fijian money exchanged, and since there were no bars to be found Dad fished a magazine out of his giant 10 lb backpack of reading materials that he had lugged all over Australia. Knowing that the food on the Air Pacific flight wouldn’t be that good Julie and I invested in some snacks before we boarded, but the food options in the Fijian airport were shoddy at best.

airport ice cream fail

The whole time we were killing time in the terminal we had a live bula band playing, which did give the whole room a jovial atmosphere, which is impressive since we were all about to board a 10 hour trans pacific flight with two crying babies.

Bula band in the international terminal

 

Aiport security....in a skirt. If he really needed to chase someone down it might be tricky in this get up.

We boarded the flight on time and they served us a meal about an hour into it. I think I have been truly spoiled by Qantas airlines because I thought everything about Air Pacific was sub par. The food was awful, Julie’s headphone jack malfunctioned and they had significantly less entertainment options than Qantas has. Still, after you have done a 15.5 hour flight pretty much everything else seems paltry by comparison, so ten hours wasn’t awful, even though it was a red eye flight. Thankfully I was able to sleep a little bit and stretch out, as there was nobody in the seat to my left and Julie was in the seat to my right. I don’t know how long I was out for but I missed breakfast, which according to Dad was worth missing since it consisted of a very soggy hash brown and some questionable gray meat product. We landed in LA mid morning of the 19th we had left Fiji on the evening of the 19th. While the idea of time travel is cool, in actuality its quite bewildering. I don’t think I knew what day/time it was for at least three days after we got home. Still it was nice to be back in the correct hemisphere, season, and country.

Feels Like Home to Me

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

My last day in Thailand was one that was full of waiting. We had to be checked out of our hotel rooms by 11 am, but our flight didn’t leave until 8pm, meaning we would not be leaving the hotel until around 5, so we had a full day to fill. Lindsay and I woke up, packed, checked out of our room, put our bags into storage and went down to breakfast with Anneka and Danielle. The hotel breakfast at the Phuket Mariot was absolutely incredible. Not only did they have pancakes, waffles, and omelets that were made to order, but they had a whole station of freshly baked breads of different varieties and a whole table of different spreads for it. They also had an entire buffet of nothing but fruit and fruit juices, on top of a section of the room devoted to thai foods, all prepared from scratch. I thought I had died and was dining in heaven. Between heaping forkfuls the four of us unanimously agreed that this breakfast surpassed the on in Chiang Mai that had perviously held the top stop for best hotel breakfast on the trip.

After stuffing ourselves silly we headed back out into the market area with the goal of finding a place for Lindsay to get a massage. Once we had price compared up and down the street she settled on a massage parlor that wasn’t too far away from the hotel and she purchased two massages, and since this was going to take two hours and the three of us weren’t interested in spending any more money we headed back to the hotel to lounge by the pool. Not wanting to break back into our luggage to fish out our swimsuits we sat poolside dangling our feet in the water. Eventually the sun got high enough in the sky that I took solace on a reclining beach chair under an umbrella, and promptly drifted into a glorious sleep. Danielle and Anneka followed suit and we all napped poolside for an hour and a half before going back to the massage parlor to find Lindsay. Not wanting to spend any more time outside due to the sweltering midday heat, we sat inside the hotel lobby and read Thai newspapers, which, like every other publication in the world during that week, were obsessively turning out articles about the royal wedding. We hung out in the hotel lobby for quite  a few hours, chatting, reading newspapers, writing postcards and checking the clock every once in a while to see how much longer we had to wait. As the afternoon progressed more and more kids from our group joined us, and by the time 5 oclock rolled around everyone was more than ready to load into the vans to go to the airport. Once there, we had more waiting to do before boarding our domestic flight back north to Bankok so we could then catch our international flight back to Sydney.

Lindsay and Danielle sitting in the Airport, sad to go leave, but excited to go home.

While we were sitting in the Phuket airport I kept catching myself saying “I can’t wait to get home” but talking about Sydney, not about Springfield. I can remember being home at different points during my freshman year of college and having my mom say “How are you getting home?” and me always correcting her saying, “I am home, I’m going back to school.” I never really felt at home at UMW during my freshman year, but over time of course this changed. My apt with Sydney has really taken on a homey feel. I feel comfortable and welcome there.While Sydney lacks the presence of my biological family I have crafted for myself another family made up of friends from all over the United States.

After our ten hour flight back to Australia I arrived back at my apt and was greeted with hugs and smiles and lots of questions about my trip. I was really excited to see Lindsay and Yaella and catch up with Jill and the other kids who hadn’t been on the Thailand trip. I really feel like all of us Glebe residents have formed a family. Some of my favorite memories from being in Sydney have been the nights where I have stayed in chatting with my fellow Glebians. I have so enjoyed living in my apt with Courtney, Kaela and Jill and have spent so many nights up till four in the morning having the kind of laugh out loud conversations that seems like they could have come straight out of an episode of “Sex and the City.” I really enjoy being here, so much so that it has become a second home for me. A place where I feel completely comfortable and am excited to return to at the end of a long trip. I will be truly sad to say goodbye to everyone here when the semester comes to a close. I have really enjoyed being a Glebian.

It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me
It feels like I’m all the way back where I come from
It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me
It feels like I’m all the way back where I belong