The first leg of my trip, from Honolulu to Sydney, is a pretty good way to jump into flying solo overseas for the very first time. The ten-hour direct flight on Hawaiian Airlines really allows you to take it all in.
As I mentioned before, I got to the airport early and had no problems getting checked in or finding my gate. Oddly enough, the guy who helped me check in didn’t know that you needed a tourist visa to go to Australia. Luckily, the woman he passed me off to knew what she was doing.
My gate didn’t open until about an hour prior to leaving. Most people were lingering nearby taking in their last moments of Hawaii. I did the same.
Once inside I found a nice corner near the window and actually managed to take brief cat naps here and there. You see, the night before I had a major freak out and stayed up past 2 am. I was double checking my bags when I couldn’t find my backup credit and debit cards, traveler’s checks and US money. I spent an hour looking for them and had to unpack everything only to find it was well-hidden in the first place I looked. Apparently I’m a master hider but only a so-so seeker.
As it got closer to boarding, I noticed that Bethany Hamilton was sitting nearby. Perhaps she was attending the opening of Soul Surfer, the movie about her life, in Sydney? It had just opened the week before in Hawaii.
Then bad news struck. A woman from Hawaiian got on the PA system and announced that there would be a delay in boarding because engineers were taking longer than normal to check the plane. An update 20 minutes later revealed that they had found a mechanical problem and were fixing it. So much for on-time service right? But I’d really prefer them to find and fix the problem than take off with it still there.
In the end, we lift off about 90 minutes late. The flight was smooth most of the way with some bumpy patches here and there. In my section, there were a bunch of empty seats so many passengers spread out and took the three middle seats for a bed. I had two on the left side of the plane and that was good enough for me.
I was pleasantly surprised by the food service during the flight. I think a half hour after wheels up the flight attendants came around with drinks. Then, it seemed like they were already coming around with our meal – either chicken or pasta. I took the pasta but didn’t realize it was sans-meat. Good thing I still had two spam musubis to tide me over should I get hungry.
Toward the latter half of the flight, there was a snack of turkey and cheese sandwiches with a drink. I had already been munching on a musubi and had some chocolate so I skipped the sandwich. It looked okay from what I could tell though.
During the flight, they showed three movies (Gulliver’s Travels, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and The Tourist) and a bunch of tv shows. I only managed to watch The Tourist as I don’t really care for Jack Black and I already saw HP-P1. The movie was entertaining and a good change from Jack Sparrow for Johnny Depp.
The first thing I see of Australia are the lights. We finally touched down in Sydney about an hour late at 8:45 pm on April 14th. I followed the mass of people (and the signs) toward Customs and waited about 15 minutes before it was my turn. The guy at Customs didn’t ask me any questions. He didn’t say one word to me even though he chatted up the couple ahead of me asking about their plans in Australia. Maybe I just don’t look like the drug smuggling type huh?
I found my way to the McDonald’s at the airport where I met Eric, my friend’s nephew. I would be staying with Sharon, my friend’s sister, during my time in Sydney. They actually live about an hour outside of the city in Rooty Hill.
Before going home, we took a quick drive through the city and they showed me many of the famous landmarks like the opera house and the bridge. Unfortunately, none of them were lit up so they were essentially just shadows.
By the time we got home, I took a shower and went to bed, it was after 3 am Hawaii time. Except for a few hiccups along the way, Day 1 of the adventure had been a success. I’m looking forward to seeing more of what Sydney and Australia have to offer.