Well, who would’ve thought … the adventure begins.
This morning I woke up early, around 4am. I caught a cab to the airport at around 4.30am and made it into the terminal. My flight would be at 5.55 am, the first leaving Townsville airport today. The terminal was nice and quiet and I was actually the first who made it through the baggage check. I had been worried that they might not allow me to take my pack as carry-on, because of the stays in my pack, but it went through without a problem.
My thinking in regards to the carry-on was that, on this occasion, a lost bag wouldn’t just be an inconvenience but a full blown catastrophe. So I had decided to leave all sharps and potential weapons at home and buy them anew in Seattle, as my personal insurance against loss.
Anyway, I ended up waiting for a while, with only a cup of coffee to keep me company until it was time to board.
The flight was quick and painless, with some beautiful cloud cover, illuminated in the early morning light.
Brisbane was overcast and cool in the morning. I stepped out of the terminal to transfer over to the international terminal. I had to wait only two minutes for the bus, which was great.
The international terminal isn’t too bad, as these things go. However, the choice of food, especially for breakfast, was rather tragic. I consoled myself with a wonderfully expensive chicken and leek pie (yes, for breakfast, why?) and a spinach roll. After that, I spent a couple of hours waiting in the marvelously mundane splendor that is BNE.
At least I had some time to check out the 777 that would take me across the Pacific.
The flight itself wasn’t too exciting – as long haul flights rarely are (or probably shouldn’t be anyway). I spent the time watching reasonably uninteresting movies (has there actually been anything interesting at the movies in 2017/2018?). At least I was able to stretch my legs, as I had paid extra for the emergency exit isle seat (26C) in Virgin’s “Economy X” class. It also came with a premium noise cancelling pair of headphones that worked great. I’ve got to say though, they seem to have been designed for children … or maybe I’ve got a badly swollen head.
Anyway, after 13 hours, I finally made it into LAX. A crazy airport that has pretty terrible signage (I daren’t think what it must be like for non-English speakers) and looks old, tired, and a bit run down. At least I had a chance to freshen up my caffeine balance.
The flight to Seattle was horrible. I really hope that this wasn’t representative of most American domestic flights. Some people (of course not all) were fat, loud, slow, and inconsiderate. So it was two and a half hours of quiet suffering for me (I was quiet, not the flight) until I finally made it into SEA – Seattle Tacoma International Airport.
From there I took the shuttle bus to the rental car facility next to the airport, where I picked up my white Dodge Malibu and made my way into downtown Seattle. It was no problem at all driving on the wrong side of the road again. The only thing that took me a little longer to get, was to train my eyes to recognise the speed signs at the side of the road, as they are amazingly indistinct and inconspicuous.
My first stop was the Post Office at 301 Union Street to pick up the two parcels with goodies I’d shipped to myself as general delivery (or “poste restante” anywhere else). Alas, the hole in the wall had closed at 12.30pm already, so I moved on and drove out to the REI flagship store on 222 Yale street. It’s a nice shop. Slightly maddening that they have all the small items I struggled to get together in Australia, just there on the shelf. Anyway, I picked up my pre-ordered items (ice axe, crampons, trekking poles, tent pegs, etc.), plus a few minor ones I’d picked out during my walk through the store. I met a nice young Dutch lady behind the counter, who was very friendly and helpful. She ran my things through and relieved me of my funds.
After that, I spent a little bit more time, driving around town, but eventually got back to the CBD, and checked into the Green Tortoise Hostel at 105 Pike street. I fell into my bed at about 8:15 pm and slept for 12 hours straight.
Due to the magic of crossing the date line in reverse, my day had been over 33 hours long (Seattle is 17 hours behind Townsville).