Back to BrisVegasJuly 14 in Australia
After travelling through five continents, 30 countries and over 92 cities/towns for 11 months, 14 days, it was time for these two Aussie boys to fly home, like homing pigeons, to BrisVegas. Our flight didn't leave until 10:30pm so we had the day to tour around LA before heading to the airport to kill a few more hours; that is, after killing a few hours going through the numerous security checks. Welcome to the USA! Except now there is no sign of immigration on the way out. It's self-auto check-in and check-out. This meant even more time to kill at the gates.
We waited and waited for what felt like an eternity. Neither of us were particularly looking forward to the journey and we just wanted it over. Then came an announcement in a thick New Zealand accent (because we were flying Air New Zealand to Brisbane via Auckland). We were advised that there might be a wee bit of a delay to our flight. Half an hour later, we got the call that boarding was about to commence when Jason realised that he had left his tablet, loaded with movies and entertainment for the flight, at one of the security points. We had been practically asked to strip down to underwear to go through scanners, so it was no wonder one of the ten tubs of items sprawled out for customs to inspect went unclaimed. We thought that the point of the body scanners was that it meant that you didn't need to get intimate with customs, and you could just walk through and let technology do the work. But now, it was too late for Jason to go back to retrieve the well-used, cracked-screen tablet. Well, that's what we thought – we weren't aware of events to come. Although Jason did try to make a last minute attempt to find it by retracing his steps, until boarding was about to close.
Again, we waited and waited for what felt like an eternity. Then came an announcement in a thick New Zealand accent advising us that one of the engines failed to start and that we needed to be towed back to the gate. Half an hour ... an hour goes by. We start thinking that our connecting flight in Auckland may not happen and we will be stranded in New Zealand. We only had a two and a half hour stop-over and this was fast starting to look like it wouldn't be enough time. The pilot informs us that the engines are now working and that we had to wait to be towed back out onto the tarmac, and being LA that this would probably take half an hour.
Meanwhile on board, we were entertained by the Air New Zealand crew. The more senior female cabin crew member was a particular favourite of ours. Always worried about the safety and comfort of the passengers, she was quick to remind everyone before each dining service to ensure that everyone's shoulders, elbows, legs and feet were tucked in to make way for the dining cart. We thought she was going to break into the Hokey Pokey. You put your right hand in, and you shake it all about! She even tried to make the garden salad with chicken sound like it had been prepared by a three-star Michelin chef, with its juicy tomato and succulent chicken breast.
Apparently, there were too many people on the flight to Brisbane to reschedule. Either that or they didn't want any more Aussies in NZ. So, Air New Zealand were determined to get us to Auckland before our connecting flight was due to leave. We just hoped that we got there in one piece and didn't end-up like MH370. We landed in Auckland with half an hour to get through customs and to our gate. All you could see was a mob of Brisbanites madly racing through Auckland airport, out of fear of being stranded in New Zealand. We navigated through the crowd to get to the international transfer section and got to the gate just in time for boarding, and just before Jason was deported. Half an hour was probably still half an hour longer than Jason cared to be in NZ.
Eventually, we made it back to little old BrisVegas. It felt like we had just closed our eyes for a nano-second, experienced an intense dream and then had been jolted back to reality, as if the last 349 days had been spent in a parallel universe. Now, only the memories will live on in our minds. Forever, we will look back on all the great times that we experienced and the great friendships that we formed, as we start planning our next destination. It may be the end of this trip but Brisbane will not be our final destination ....Read more