We're coming to America, finally
After 11 months of waiting and planning, Rae and I are finally on our way to Austin. I've never before felt the mix of emotions that I felt on Sunday as we frantically caught up with people before we left. It's a strange and unsettling mix of nerves, excitement, sadness and fear. Once the last-minute dash into West End to see my close friends from UQ basketball was done, all those emotions gave way to a strange zen-like calm as we did the final pack.
I'm writing this from LAX as Rae sleeps beside me; the flight from Brisbane has left her exhausted and we have another two and a half hours before our next flight. I'm glad we left ourselves so much time between flights, as the line at the domestic security checkpoint was obscenely long. For those that know Terminal 4 the line was out the door next to the escalator and a good 50 metres down the drop-off lane, which is easily the worst I've ever seen it.
The flight over was with V Australia, instead of the usual Qantas for business travel, and I can highly recommend them. It was a newer plane (Boeing 777) with a better fit-out, it had wide-screen monitors (albeit with a smaller selection of movies), the food selection was good and the hostess was really helpful in calming Rae's travel nerves. To be honest, I don't know why anyone would choose Qantas for the economy-class BNE to LAX trip any more.
Immigration was painless too, which has been my experience on my last two trips. The upgrades at Tom Bradley International Terminal have really helped bring the lines down, as has the simple math of adding more immigration officers. Ours was extremely helpful, even going out of his way to see if he could stamp Rachel's passport for a 12-month entry on her B2 visa instead of the usual 6 months. Turns out he can, and he did; he also had some good advice about what to do when we need to get it re-stamped in a year's time.
So... one more flight to go. Next stop -- Austin, TX!
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