I was up before the alarm it was set for 3.30am. The house was quiet as I rose and stood by our open door, listening to the pre-dawn sounds. The gentle breeze rustling the leaves of the massive gum tree in our front yard. I could hear Poppy, our bedroom cat, purr as she stirred. Dahlia, our 10 year old dog somehow sensed me up and trotted across the courtyard to say hello. Her claws clicking on the wood of our deck. I say good morning and go outside. I need to clean our pond filter. It’s dark and the water is cold as I plunge my hand in to find the filter. I feel the movement of fish as I remove it. I clean it and return to the house, dahlia in tow.
The next 60 minutes is a whirlwind of final packing as we get ready to embark on what has become a tradition of sorts. We are off to New York. As we get ready to leave, we say good-bye to cats and dog. Everyone seems to be happy, although Poppy has shown her disdain for our trip away and has hidden herself somewhere in the bedroom. We leave her to her hiding spot, say good-bye to everyone else and embark on our trip.
Moses, our trusty cab driver is right on time. We eagerly chat as we speed along Parkes Way, devoid of traffic as the clock passes 5.00am.
We arrive at the airport, check in and spend a few minutes in the lounge before boarding for Melbourne. We navigate passport control smoothly and waned our way through the myriad shops offering duty free, their bright lights demanding travellers stop and purchase alcohol, cigarettes, perfumes and a host fo other trinkets. We pass the high street shops, Tiffany, Rolex etc and wonder who will buy a $10,000 watch on a whim as they take a trip.
We arrive at the lounge and are advised our flight is delayed by around 90 minutes. The delay is a little like a butterfly flapping its wings in Africa causing a Tsunami in Japan. An A380 aircraft in Sydney a week ago had a maintenance mishap with a door being ripped of (https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/incidents/qantas-a380-grounded-after-door-almost-ripped-off-at-sydney-airport/news-story/98aac91fd4534031fa6fad9c16082b7a). This caused some Sydney – Dallas flights to be cancelled, some movement of other A380s to meet demand, which ended up in our flight being delayed five days later! The difficulty airlines must have in meeting demand when unexpected things happen is enormous.
Unperturbed, we settle into the lounge for a spa treatment, some breakfast and a few too many champagnes.
We get underway at around 1.00pm and settle in for the 14 hour flight to LAX. We enjoy lunch on the plane and chat to the flight crew about our trip, airline food and New York. We then settle in for a rest. Some sleep, a few episodes of a new TV show, Morning Wars (watch it, it is really good!) and breakfast and like that we are on our decent into LAX. The delay in Melbourne meant we missed our connection, so Qantas transferred us to Delta Airlines flight. We change terminals at LAX after checking our bags to the new flight and relax in the Delta lounge for an hour or so. This wait is the hardest, its 4.00am at home now and we’ve been on the go for 24 hours. We fall asleep the minute we find our seats, and after a couple of hours of rest, enjoy the later stags of the five hour flight, excited to get to NYC.
We land around 7.30pm local time, collect our bags and jump in a cab and are on the road by 9.00pm, arriving at our hotel at 9.00pm. We do some unpacking and then head out for dinner. It’s NYC, everything is open! We take in the pulse of the city, such a contrast to Canberra, which is part of the reason we love it: the extreme differences and immersive nature of this city are something to be hold. We grab dinner, some milk and water and head back to our room.
We sit and unwind for an hour or so and around midnight the exhaustion finally catches up with us and we head to bed. New York awaits…