Well, after 24 hours of continuous travel, I finally landed in the beautiful city of Melbourne, Australia!
The flight from Cincinnati to Los Angeles was turbulent but all in all it was an easy trip; we managed to land about half an hour early. Once I was able to get off the plane, I took my time getting to the shuttle bus to take me to the Virgin Airlines terminal, which happened to be on the opposite side of the airport. No big deal since I had a little over 4 hours to kill during my layover.
I hesitated to just sit and read my book for the long wait but it was well worth my time. My book, The Greatest Show on Earth written by my favorite living scientist Richard Dawkins, kept me interested but the people watching was the greatest distraction. The highlight was watching a young child, she couldn’t have been more than 4, steal a woman’s purse and flaunting her felonious act by running with it around the terminal. Just imagine sitting quietly reading your book, only to look up for a second to give your eyes a break and conveniently staring right at a little child stealing a purse. Thankfully her mother was not oblivious and quickly returned the purse to the unaware woman.
After getting through a lot of my book, getting something to eat, buying a travel pillow, and playing a few games on my phone, it was finally time to board. Like many airline procedures, Virgin’s was especially hectic. Why can’t people understand that they are not supposed to line up to board until their seat section is called? What is the point of forming a mosh pit right in front of the gate? Trust me ladies and gentlemen, you WILL get on the plane! After pushing my way through the impatient passengers and hurdling oversized carry-ons, I was able to go on board. Thankfully there was room in the overhead bin for my one bag and plenty of room under the seat in front of me for my backpack. Each seat was equipped with a personal television with a detachable remote that doubled as a game controller; at least I would have something to do during the nearly 15-hour flight. We took off as soon as a sick passenger was escorted from the plane and was reassured that their luggage was removed from storage.
Four episodes of The Big Bang Theory passed before dinner was served. By this time it was a little after 1 in the morning Los Angeles time; way passed my bedtime! After, I slept for a few hours before waking up to my own snoring. How embarrassing! I really hope I was the only one to awake to this. Back to the on demand television until we landed. Having only seen Aussie Rules Football a few times, I was pleased to find a few matches that were recorded for my viewing pleasure. Sadly, I had no idea what the hell was going on. There was kicking, punching, tackling, referees tossing the ball, and thousands of hooligans in the stands. Unfortunately, I couldn’t put it all together to figure out how in the world they knew what to do. AFL was very interesting and fun to watch regardless.
A few minutes before touchdown, I had the opportunity to look over a few laps to see the Australian terrain. It was so much different from what I was used to back in the States. It reminded me of Africa’s barren, dusty, rocky environment scattered with a few green trees and shrubs. Not much longer after landing, I got off the plane and raced my way to the front of the immigration line. I know from passed experiences not to get behind large families and people who don’t have their documents out ready to give to the officers. I was asked about my intentions during my stay in Australia, my passport was stamped, the drug dogs sniffed my bags and I was given a green light to head down the ramp to the luggage carousel. Of course, my bags came out last but at least I received them. The customs officer looked over my customs form and allowed me to pass with no problem. Unlike many passengers, I wasn’t tempted to buy copious amounts of alcohol and tobacco in the L.A. duty free shops, and I didn’t bring any food, so customs was easy and painless.
I walked around the corner to the hotel and now find myself writing this entry without Internet and cricket on the television. How better to spend the rest of Australia Day than in my room catching up on some sleep and watching cricket! Tomorrow I will meet with Rod who is in charge of my student teaching experience while I am here. I will also meet with my host family whom I have been keeping in contact with over the past month. I can’t wait to get this all started and meet my students!
After the adventurous few days and skipping the 25th entirely while crossing the dateline, I am off to bed. That reminds me, time travel isn’t as awesome as it’s made out to be. Thanks Einstein!