AUSTRALIA — Day 11

Normally I wouldn’t post a separate entry about my trip back home, but this one took FORTY-THREE hours! Here’s a quick rundown, and then I’ll share some photos:

1) Getting to the Alice Springs airport and sitting around (1.5 hours)
2) Flight from Alice Springs to Sydney (3 hours)
3) Layover in the Sydney airport (5 hours)
4) Flight from Sydney to Dubai (14 hours)
5) Layover in the Dubai airport (3 hours)
6) Flight from Dubai to New York (13.5 hours)
7) Baggage, customs, long taxi line, insane traffic from JFK Airport (3 hours)

Now that you know that, here I am on a bus to the airport in Alice Springs:

883_zack_sad_to_leave_australia

Boo-hoo. It was time to go back home.

On the way to the airport, the bus stopped at a golf resort/casino to pick up two dozen passengers. This is what I saw out the window:

884_brief_stop_at_a_golf_resort_and_casino

In the photo above, did you notice the birds perched under the corner of the awning?

Here’s a closer look at them:

885_pretty_birds_under_the_awning

I’m not a bird connoisseur, but c’mon, those little guys are beautiful.

Wanna see something that wasn’t beautiful? Here you go:

886_zack_walking_to_plane_with_fly_on_face

Why was I making that stupid face? Here’s a closeup with the answer:

887_zack_walking_to_plane_with_fly_on_face

As you can see, there was a fly on my face. (Do you remember all the flies that prompted me to wear a net over my face on Day 10?) No matter how many times I shooed it away, it came back and crawled on me, often with several of its friends. Yuck.

This was my skimpy meal on the Qantas flight to Sydney:

888_shitty_ham_sandwich

After the flight landed, I made sure to buy some Tim Tams:

891_tim_tam_purchase_at_the_sydney_airport

Here’s where I sat for the entire five-hour layover:

894_zack_enjoying_a_five_hour_layover

I spent most of that time working on a blog entry about the first game of the Opening Series at the Sydney Cricket Ground. I also spent a little time eating this:

895_fried_chicken_sandwich

That was my second of what felt like eight thousand meals on the way home. Here are the two main courses I ate on the 14-hour Emirates flight to Dubai:

896_two_meals_from_sydney_to_dubai

The flight was awful because there was an infant sitting two rows behind me, who wasn’t just crying. It was WAILING. And. It. Kept. Doing. It. For. Fourteen. Hours. The baby made it hard for me to sleep, and when I decided to stay awake, it made it hard for me to enjoy my music or focus on my writing or do anything worth a damn.

I took a photo of the flight tracker as the plane approached Dubai:

898_flight_tracker

Here’s what I ate at the Dubai airport:

899_hummus_and_falafel_wrap

That was a hummus and falafel wrap, and it sucked. The airport was super clean and fancy, but the food options were crap.

You can imagine how tired I was by the time I got on my next flight — a nice little 13-and-a-half-hour jaunt. And guess what? There were crying babies EVERYWHERE. I’m not kidding. There was one in the row in front of me, another close behind, and another on my left. I was surrounded! Here’s how I was feeling:

902_zack_on_the_13_and_a_half_hour_flight_to_jfk

I suppose I shouldn’t go on the record publicly as wanting to punch a baby, so let’s pretend I didn’t say that. Let’s just say that I was very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very VERY annoyed. And that I now officially hate babies.

Here are two more meals that I ate on the flight:

903_two_more_airplane_meals

Now, obviously I couldn’t take a selfie while I was sleeping, so here’s my attempt at staging the scene:

904_zack_attempting_to_sleep_despite_being_surrounded_by_crying_babies

Did I sleep?
Yes.

Did I sleep well?
Yes . . . briefly.

I had an aisle seat, so before I planned to attempt to fall asleep, I made a point of getting up and walking around for about 20 minutes. (This was a huge plane with more than 500 people, so there was lots of space.) I figured that the folks on the inside of my row would take advantage of my not being there by getting up and using the bathroom and stretching their own legs for a bit. I had it all planned out perfectly. I was going to sleep for the final six hours of the flight, and when the plane landed in the early afternoon in New York, I would magically be back on track with my sleep schedule. Jet-lag is for babies, I thought. And speaking of babies, I was so damn tired that the whole plane could’ve been filled with them, and I still would’ve fallen asleep.

I managed to fall asleep fairly easily, and let me tell you, I was OUT. I normally can’t sleep on planes (or anywhere that isn’t a very comfortable bed), yet somehow I fell into a *deep* sleep with full-on dreams and no tossing or turning. And then I felt someone tap my shoulder. I was so out of it that it took me a while to wake up and realize what was happening. The woman on my right, evidently, hadn’t used the bathroom earlier, and NOW she had to go. Unreal. I looked at the flight tracker. I’d only been sleeping for two hours. There were still four more hours to go, and I was never able to fall back asleep.

But you know what? It was worth it. Being inconvenienced on a luxurious plane is not so bad in the grand scheme of things. And this really *was* the trip of a lifetime.

16 Comments

Those Arnott TimTams. :)

Australia is FAR, but you took the scenic route! When you are finished with Tim Tams, go to the nearest Cost Plus World Market (or online) and get Arnott’s Original, which is how Tim Tams are sold in the US.

KSLO69-
I didn’t get the joke until I saw the next comment.

JAMES LEE-
I wasn’t aware that Tim Tams existed in any other form. Thanks for letting me know.

Funny i read your post from 4/28/05 and you said “I Love Yankee Stadium”

It’s hard to believe that I ever said that, but I *was* talking about the old stadium.

Zack , those birds are called ” Galahs ” , which is also Australian slang for an idiot. Enjoy those Tim Tams . Remember all those different varieties you saw when you nearly got us kicked out of the supermarket for taking pictures ? Glad you had some fun in Australia. Guess you wont miss the flies , huh ? Looks like we`ll probably be in the US in February and March . We can all crash at your place OK ?

I was hoping you’d chime in here. Thanks for IDing those birds. Yesterday, Hayley and I ate the last of the Tim Tams, but that’s a good thing. I need to take a break from all the sugar. And yes, of course I remember all the varieties. I like them all except the Turkish jelly kind. Bleh. If you all crash at my place, it’s going to be VERY cozy. Hurry up and visit. I miss you guys already.

I’m not sure if you’ve already heard this or not, but the Indians are providing a new Wi-Fi network to help out fans. So if you go to an Indians game, you could upload a blog right there and then.

Is that really the shortest route from Sydney to NY? Seems like Sydney/ Honolulu/LA/NY would be quicker. I share your distaste for babies, especially on airplanes.

CALEB CALDWELL-
I had not heard. Very cool. But do they allow laptops? Yankee Stadium doesn’t (of course), and I would never post anything from my phone. But anyway, I would never bring my laptop to a game, so there you go.

LIZ MERRY-
No, it’s the longest route, but when I booked my flights months earlier, it happened to be the cheapest option.

Thanks for sharing your story.. All that travel, too bad you couldn’t have overnighted in Dubai to at least break up the trip and get a prospective on that country… But that trip sounds like a trip of a lifetime for most! :)

Will you be going to Citi Field this week for Mets/Cardinals? I’m 99% I am going on Thursday and I would love to get my copy of The Baseball signed!

RICH-
I thought about staying for a day or two in Dubai, but it seemed like a big hassle, not to mention super-expensive.

PJ-
I was there last night. I might be there tonight if the rain holds off. I’ll probably be there tomorrow. But I definitely won’t be there on Thursday. Sorry. I would love to sign your book, but we’ll have to do it another time.

I’ll be at a ton of games this year so we will meet up at some point. How early does Citi Field open this year? It doesn’t say on the website. And how are the Cardinals at throwing balls into the crowd?

Ooohhh. I see you also chose the “crying baby” option. They should pay you!

PJ-
The Rotunda Gate opens two hours early — sometimes randomly earlier on weekday games when school groups are there. The Cardinals aren’t great about toss-ups. The whole team seems to have an attitude.

LIZ-
Seriously.

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