Thursday, September 29, 2011

Will we ever depart on time???


Our short trip to the United States was supposed to happen in April. Unfortunately it was cancelled 48 hours before we were due to depart.

New travel date was issued a few days later and the task of cancelling and rebooking began. This was a pretty painless process and we decided to add an extra couple of days to the trip. The only downside was the price of accommodation in the already expensive New York increased by 50% because the United Nations was sitting.

We set off for Canberra airport and on check in received our boarding passes for our 3 legs to Dulles in Washington DC. We appeared to have sufficient time between each leg of the journey and were confident we would arrive on time and with our luggage. (last trip to same destination our bags missed the last leg).Fingers crossed

We were settling down with our coffee when it was announced that due to congestion in Sydney our  flight would be delayed for more than 30 minutes Thumbs down

We eventually departed but we were put into a holding pattern before we could land in Sydney. As boarding time for our flight to LA drew closer I imagined us being the last to boardSad smile. We managed to immediately get on the bus to the international terminal, so finally some luck was with us. Next shock was when we entered the Immigration area…wall to wall people. We managed to pick a fast moving queue so no dramas.

We moved pretty quickly to our departure gate only to be greeted with another announcement re our departure.

We were only an hour late leaving but this meant it was going to be a rush in LA.

There is not much that one can write about 13.5 hours locked in a confined space with300+ strangers. The passenger behind me kicked the back of my seat at least every 5 minutes and the other 4 she coughed and sneezed and I was convinced I would have some deadly disease by the time we arrived. I won’t comment about the service provided on board by Qantas because it is hard to comment on something you don't receiveThumbs downThumbs down.

Not sure of the exact time we arrived in LA, and we had to sit and wait to cross the main runway and then wait to be taken to our gate to disembark. We were not confident at this stage of making our connection. As we were leaving the plane we were told that if we had a connecting flight in the next 2 hours we should collect an express card. We checked our name off list to prove we had a connection and our little orange card that we were been given was to be kept visible at all times.This card worked miracles. We were sent to a specific area to be fingerprinted and have an Iris scanSmile.

Next stop was to collect bags and recheck them for ongoing flight. Our orange card was really speeding things along. We then had to walk to another terminal for our flight, and once inside our card took us to the front of the security queue. Security is over the top...even have to take off shoes.We finally reached our departure gate and to our surprise we had 20 minutes to spare.

Departed on time and arrived early into Dulles. Caught a fast shuttle train to terminal and collected bags. The shock was when we exited the terminal. Hot and humid was not what we were expecting, but thankfully the hotel shuttle had the aircon blasting chilled air and we only had a short trip to our hotel in Herndon Virginia.

A great meal  from a restaurant across the road from hotel.


Pork Chops Chuletas De Puerco served with rice fried & beans



We eventually tried to sleep around 10pm but were wide awake around 2am. Internet and TV occupied us until breakfast. We spent a lazy day checking the area close to the hotel, and the one highlight was the assistant at the nearby Starbucks asking us if we were Chinese.

Sunday was supposed to be our tour of DC, but this was cancelled because of the high alert. It was the 10th anniversary 9/11. We instead visited the National Air and Space Museum nr the Dulles Airport. Check here


McDonalds…inside the Museum.



We left the museum and travelled to Leesburg outlets. After lunch we moved on to Winchester Virginia.

This would be our base while David took part in his Driver Training course.