Sunday, August 23, 2009

the end

we made it home yesterday after 3 weeks in canada and the states. on the way up we had grumpy and rude flight attendants. on the melbourne-sydney flight when the guy next to me asked for salt for his sprite-- bit of a weird request but still...-- the flight attendant let out a loud laugh and then told the guy in a loud voice for a row or 2 away "we're an airplane, not a restaurant." before explaining they don't carry salt on non-meal flights. we didn't even get to sit together for the 13 hr sydney-LA flight because united is stupid and lets members chose seats from a seating chart at time of purchase. other people can call 24 hours before their flight and book seats. we didn't know this so when we got to the airport the seats available were 10 rows apart. LAX was horrible. everyone talks about how bad it is transferring through there but i didn't realize how bad it was. you go get your bags (with hundreds of other people arriving from international flights) then you go through customs (a LONG ling) then you go over to a transfer area where it's very disorganized and there's just random unsignaged (i think i just made that word up but it works) lineups and somebody just vaguely points to where your bags need to go so they make it on your next flight. then you go through security to get to your gate to another international flight. one of the security guys tried to make a joke with me about needing a new boarding pass because the perforation had torn off (i still had both parts). the joke didn't go over well since i'd just gone through 4 line ups, and was being herded around after not sleeping for about 20 hours.
coming back we go through u.s. customs before we even leave canada (in a nice quiet airport with green carpeting and first nations inspired artwork). we managed to find a really nice vegan burrito at LAX and then slept for most of the LA-sydney flight. the only annoying bit was sitting on the tarmac for 40 minutes in melboune(after landing 15 minutes early) cuz a plane at our gate had mechanical issues and there was no other free gate for us. it also took a while to get through customs-- as soon as we got off the plane they lined us up 30 or so at a time with our carry on against the wall behind us and they sent "noah" the sniffer dog (who seemed very puppy-ish and playful) up and down the line of people and our bags. then we had to go through a couple points of quarantine as well as customs. we were very happy to get out and go get wombat (who seems to have done really well this time at the kennel-- a different kennel than last time. she looks very healthy, clean and happy-- just very tired).
some shots from our vancouver-LA flight:

the tsawwassen ferry terminal from above:
richmond-delta area:


richmond:


view from the tarmac:
our one picture from the sydney-melbourne flight (somewhere over the snowy mountains):

oh, and the other annoying thing that happened on the way back is as we were walking to the car i noticed my padlock missing from my suitcase. i just figured cheap (i think), small lock probably fell off somewhere along the way. when i opened my bag at home i discovered the cut lock sitting on top of my clothing along with a note from the TSA saying my bag had been chosen to be opened and inspected. because i had a lock on it "the officer may have been forced to break the locks on [my] bag. TSA sincerely regrets having to do this, however TSA is not liable for damage to [my] locks resulting from the necessary security precaution." if i had known they might cut my lock i probably wouldn't have bothered locking it but i didn't see and definitely wasn't told they would cut my lock to make sure my books and clothing weren't actually some dangerous or prohibited items.
i think next time we may fly thru taipei again (or maybe just do the direct melbourne-vancouver flight)

1 comment:

Beverly said...

I'm glad you made it safely. I think I will try to avoid LAX in all my future travells. It doesn't sound like you had a good impression of that airport.