I said I'd write here often but this is the first time. You'll need to forgive me my ramblings now, I'll try to remember the stories I wanted to tell you at the time. Backtracking: The trip was exhausting. Fred and I spent the night before in Sydney at the domestic airport. We had a small box with a bed and a window overlooking the carpark of the Krispy Kreme.
We went out to Darling Harbour and enjoyed all the bling Sydney had to offer, along with a beautiful meal and some wine. We taxied back to the hotel and set our alarms for 6am..... lay there listening to the rain, almost too nervous to sleep.
In the morning we returned the rental car to its rightful owner and headed inside. We went to our separate check-in counters and said we'd meet at a McDonalds on the other side of security - only because there was bound to be one and it would be easy to find. I went to check in for my Sydney-L.A-NY-Montréal flights only to find that the US had not authorised my visa. The sympathetic Qantas girl sent me to the one internet-ready pc in the terminal armed with a url where I could complete and print the form again. After a tedious wait I made it back to the check-in counter and was told the plane was full, that this was perfectly normal and that if we waited a bit they'd shuffle things around and find me a seat. After about an hour I was free to take my mac up to the end of the terminal to check it in as fragile, oversized luggage. And then I was through security and wondering where Fred was, how long he'd waited for me at McDonalds, and whether we should, in future, rendezvous where the food is edible.
It's now obligatory to pass through Los Angeles (or possibly SF?) when you're going anywhere else in the States, collect your baggage and go through the security screening again. This tends to make connecting flights late and I arrived in New York almost an hour later than expected. I ran to the air train to get to another terminal and was immediately approached by a young black guy wearing a funky hat and a rolled up magazine in his pocket. He asked me where I was going, which airline I was flying with and he told me he'd get me there. He said, "I'll take care of you if you take care of me, dig?" I nodded, unsure as to whether this was the time to relax or start panicking again. He then led me outside the building, taking my bags from me and walking at a pace I had to jog to match. We raced passed the arrivals pick-up area and across the carpark. I thought wow, so this is where my trip ends - in a carpark, with no bags, no wallet, possibly no passport. But my charismatic guide was true to his word and had led me to a door I would never have got to in time had I made my own way there. I paid him his $20+tax+tip fee and bolted to the counter as the PA announced that my flight had been closed. Another sympathetic check-in girl called ahead and told them she was sending me through. I made it, sweating ferociously, stinky with the not-so-subtle fragrance of panic.
And a few hours later I landed in my new home. Seeing no familiar faces in the airport, I wondered if Fred had made his flight. He had, and was outside in the balmy 27C evening smoking a ciggie with Roxanne. He cried a little as he held me, saying, "We're home now cherie, we're finally home". I wondered, does this home have a shower?