Australia Day 15

The ides of March are upon us, and that means two things: the end of the trip as well as repeating the day twice. After a few precious hours of sleep (I planned it this way so I would be tired on the flight and be able to stay up when I get home and try and get back on a schedule) we were off to the airport. Before we left, I did a quick email check and discovered my friend was not able to get the time to pick me up at the airport. He told me he would ask his brother to do it, but considering that I arrive at 7am, I might be looking at a Super Shuttle ride home from the airport – ugh! As we left the hotel and were driving to the airport, I kept thinking that there was more to do in Brisbane, and that I definitely will be back soon.

Checking in at the Qantas counter, we discovered that we were stuck in the middle section. I was on the left aisle with an empty next to me and then Mom and Gary on the other side. I did not look forward to having to sit next to some smelly stranger for 12 hours. We had a lot of time to kill in the airport, and we all spent a good deal of time trying to track down those last few souvenirs. Lunch was at Moms new favorite restaurant – Red Rooster. There was a somber mood in the group as we boarded the plane. The end of the trip is always a bummer, but this trip was very rewarding on so many levels. I had a great time with Mom and Gary – we always travel well together, and I got to go out on my own and meet people in various cities around the country.

My fears proved unfounded as the flight had numerous empty seats so we got the luxury of having extra room in our row. With the exception of the lady in front of me who reclined fully into my lap and the elderly ladies behind me who shake my seat every time they get up to use the toilet or walk around, it was a pleasant flight. I managed to get some good sleep on the plane thanks to the eyeshades provided by Qantas. I had wanted to use them ever since I got a pair on Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong, and I lost mine coming over to Australia before I could use them. Mom thought it was so funny she took a photo.

Arriving at LAX, I felt glad to be home. We breezed through passport control, but got stuck at baggage claim for 45 minutes while we waited for our bags to come off the plane. We had checked in together but somehow all of our bags came out 10 minutes apart. By the time we went through customs, it was 8am and I started to get a bad feeling about my ride home. I thought maybe David got confused and left since it had been over an hour since we landed. I said my goodbyes to Mom and Gary as they headed over to the transfer desk, and I went to look for David. Sure enough he was not there. Mom and Gary came out and I used her cell phone to call Daniel, but he had already let for work. I finally was able to get David’s cell phone, but it was off so I knew he had gotten confused about when to pick me up so I opted to take the Super Shuttle home. Of course, the one that I got on also had to take 6 people to John Wayne Airport since they had missed their Continental flight to Houston from LAX. It was a bit cramped in the van and I was a bit miffed I had to go past my house to the airport, but I just snoozed in the van. Finally, 4 hours after landing, I was home.