Cover Photo: Approaching Sydney, Australia.
13th July 2018
Only Freddy Krueger could have made this day worse. It all started well, with us getting up at the crack of dawn, literally! Up at 12:15am, and getting in Marie’s car at 1am . Qantas advise us to arrive at the airport 3hrs before departure, since we have big bike boxes, we think this is probably the right thing to do.
A quiet and easy drive to a very quiet airport. Hmmm, this is unusual. We wave goodbye to Marie, and push our trolley over to the doors, which won’t open. There on the door is a sign, stating that the terminal opens at 3:30am. It is just after 2am. Poop! A nice transit worker told us the Jetstar end was open and we could wait down there. Fair enough, we did that. An hour and a half later we wander down to the Qantas terminal, now open, and hop in the queue for check in. Standing in the maze, we look up at the check in desks, which say closed! What the hell Qantas? They open at 4:15am, 1 hour before departure. That is 2 very precious hours of sleep I’m already deprived of. Thanks for the heads up you numpties.
Eventually check in is done, we discover we can check our small bags in too, so we do that, making it very easy to move around and board. We get through to the oversized baggage drop off, feeling relieved, only to be asked to open the boxes for checking. Oh gees Louise, really? Yes, and we have to retape them. They had tape, and security Will made sure he used a good half a roll to re-tape the kiddies. The rest was straight forward, and the flight to Sydney was the usual. A slight delay in Sydney, before we head off to San Fransisco on the long section of the journey.
About 14.5hrs into our Friday 13th, we crossed the International Date Line, resetting us back to the beginning of it. Here we go again…mmmm. Sleep was hard to get, so it was movie night/day, what ever it was. We both got a few hours at a time, here and there, but were feeling pretty shattered by the time we landed in San Fransisco at 9.30am on Friday 13th July. This is mind numbing, truely! Here we had to collect our baggage and check it in with WestJet, who are aligned with Qantas. This was easy enough, and the ground staff were very helpful. Next we go to get our boarding passes, and hit a little hurdle. The very nice lady asks us if we have our Canadian ETA’s? Wha wha what? That would be a big No! Oh shit, we had read that Australians don’t need a visa, we can stay for six months. But actually, everyone needs at least the ETA. It is done online, and costs $70 each. We have 2hrs to apply and have it accepted, or we are stuck here. Luckily, it was an easy process, and within 20mins we had our ETA. Phew, how did we miss that one? Crisis averted, we get on our last flight leg, feeling worn out and totally over this shit.
A real cheap arse Charlie airline, we are jammed in like sardines, and they are fully booked, which meant that there were too many bags. Some were not loaded, and they did warn that the last 10% of passengers to check in may have their luggage delayed. Was that us? Fucked if I know, just let me off this cattle truck. We arrived into Calgary (Called Cow Town by the Locals) after flying over the Rocky Mountains, which looked spectacular, and the Border Control, Customs guys were really nice and laid back. At last, we have no more flights today. Still Friday 13th, which has been going now for about 28 hours. Off to collect the bags and the kids, find a taxi and lay down.
We are looking and feeling quite exhausted by now, and just want it all to be over. Looking down there on the tarmac at all the luggage, where the bikes are waiting.
Spotted the bright coloured Ortleib bike bags, straight away, and then headed over to oversized baggage. Car seat, pram, car seat, car seat, golf clubs, pram. Hmm, where are the kids? We wait, and wait, they close the shutter. Oh! No kids? Next stop, lost luggage. Dwayne was nice enough, but could not locate our bikes. Why the fuck not? They are huge boxes, they can’t just duck into a corner and not be noticed. But alas, the kids have taken a detour for an adventure of their own, bloody idiots! So reports filed, promises of information tomorrow made, and assurances of finding them spoken. We jump in a Taxi and head to our AirBnB. No issues getting in, and a sense of relief washes over me. So does a deep desire to sleep, it is about 6:30pm, still Friday 13th. That is over 30hrs in one day.
The views coming in to Calgary were stunning. The mountains were amazing. It did make me a bit nervous, seeing them in real life, face to face.
We wanted food, but that was deemed too hard, and our eyes were closing, so we showered and layed down, that is all I remember. It was so nice to lay flat. My legs were swollen and sore, and if Freddy Krueger did appear, I wasn’t caring. Zzzzzzzzz.