After eight days in Staunton, VA, it was finally time to fly out to Australia to see Jeremy after two months of long distance. Excited is an understatement. All that stood between uswas 36 hours of traveling…… let the saga begin.
Part One: The Airport
After happily making my way to the luggage drop, the woman asked “Can I see your Visa?” My stomach dropped and my heart started racing. How could I have missed the fact that I needed a Visa? I must have looked just as panicked as I felt, and a worker told me to apply for the Visa online, and that I had until 9:25am to check-in. My brain immediately went into problem solving mode, if I couldn’t get the Visa quickly, I could fly to Bali, Thailand, or anywhere else closer to Australia than Washington, DC. Delaying the trip a day simply was not an option,
My shaking hands managed to enter all the information, and I got a message saying “your payment and visa have been approved. The message didn’t calm me down as I got back into line. As I checked my luggage, all parties involved (mostly me) were skeptical of whether or not Australia would let me in. However, she entered the visa numbered and handed me my boarding passes. I made it to my gate right as boarding began, and my heart was still pounding at 90 bpm.
Thirty minutes later and I was in my comfy window seat thrilled to find no one was next to me. I guess I made it!
Part two: DC to Dubai: 12 hrs 45 minutes
It was my first time flying Emirates, and I was impressed from the moment I sat down. I was immediately handed a little make up bag filled with an eye mask, ear plugs, socks, and a toothbrush. There was ample leg room, tons of movie options, and even a menu handed out for the flight ahead.
Meal one came about an hour after take off, and it was, dare I say, good! There was a pasta salad with peas and cheese, a roll, cheese and crackers, and a chicken entrée. The chicken was shockingly tender with a flavorful sauce that wasn’t too salty coupled with boiled potatoes and simple steamed veggies. Dessert consisted of a chocolate dish with layers of mousse, brownie, and ganache that was decadent and tasty.
I occupied myself with scrolling through my movies options before settling on “I Love You to Death”, a drama about a mother putting on the façade that her daughter was sick. The old, tiny yet plump Indian woman sitting in 47i (I was 47K, with 47J free) was quite entertaining. She didn’t touch the TV once, and every so often she would flop her head down on the pillows she propped up in the free seat. I wasn’t the least bit annoyed that she decided to take the free zone that separated us. I found her endearing, and rather enjoyed the fact she would freefall to a horizontal position all of the sudden.
The stewards brought around water and pretzels before the next big snack that came half way in. A cute little box filled with a slice of piping hot pizza was presented to me, and I was surprised by the quality. There was ample cheese, good flavor, and tasty bread, what else could you ask for? My one gripe was that there was no soda water available.
Two hours before landing, breakfast was served. I opted for scrambled eggs that came with a hash brown, baked beans, and sautéed mushrooms alongside fruit and a roll with cream cheese. I wasn’t mad about it! The eggs didn’t taste powdery and the mushrooms had a nice flavor. The fruit was a bit under ripe and the roll tasted like paper, but overall, it was a decent enough meal.
13 hours later and I welcomed the sight of skyscrappers in the distance as the plane landed in Dubai. The airport was massive, and I dashed all the way to the other end to make the next flight just in time. On the journey, I had to go through three security screenings and I scored three free chocolate samples. I wish I had a longer layover to stretch out my legs and get a Dubai keychain for my parents, but who knows, maybe one day I’ll be back.
Part 3: Dubai to Melbourne 13 ½ hours
My strategy for the flight ahead was to stay awake until the first meal was served, pop a couple sleeping pills, and hopefully sleep. Just as with flight one, I was greeted with a nice goody bag and a menu for 13 ½ hour flight ahead. I wasn’t thrilled by the plethora of little kids around me as well as the fussy overweight Australian woman sitting next to me.
For lunch, or maybe dinner…., I got chicken with a sweet potato mash and vegetables that came with a quinoa salad, cheese and crackers, a roll, and an apple caramel moose. This entrée wasn’t as good as the chicken dish on flight one, with the primary flavor being salt. Salt dominated the quinoa salad as well, and one bite was sufficient. The best part was the dessert, which consisted of a vanilla moose topped with a caramel apple compote and cookie crumble.
I immediately took two zzzzquills, put on Zombie Land II to drown out the crying kids, and hoped for the best. I don’t know how long I slept, but I woke up to the end of Zombie Land, restarted from where I last remembered, and proceeded to do that same thing three more times. I committed to being awake when the next snack of pizza came along. It was the same as flight one, and it helped put my growling tummy at bay while I actually finished Zombie Land (which turned out to be hilarious! I’d recommend it!)
I groggily watched another movie, drifting in and out. By this point, my whole body was aching from sitting down for too long on top of a brutal gym session two days prior. While a window seat is the only feasible way for me to sleep, it does mean I am trapped and unable to get up and down at my leisure.
Stewards came down the aisle with cereal bars that were incredibly tasty before dishing out breakfast. My egg omelet had far too much cheese and was overly salty, once again. The potato hash, sausage, and mushrooms were perfectly edible, and the fruit plate was actually ripe. Breakfast also came with a raspberry yogurt and chewy croissant that I took a couple bites of before discarding.
The food on my flight to Dubai was superior, but overall, the food served on Emirates is a notch above competitors as it has more flavor, the food is less rubbery, and it tastes a bit fresher. The service was good, the seats had a descent amount of leg room, and there was a great entertainment system. I will absolutely be flying Emirates again!
Part 4: Melbourne to Hobart
My flight arrived early, and I was on track for getting on the same 8:15 am flight as Jeremy as oppose to my original 11:30 am flight. Then disaster struck, I was detained by immigration. A nice officer started drilling me with questions, and I’m sure I looked guilty with my pounding heart and sweaty palms. As to what I looked guilty for, I have no idea. He asked me why I was coming to Australia followed by a series of questions about Jeremy, our relationship, and how long we had been planning the trip. In typical Katie fashion, I didn’t know Jeremy’s birthday and got a couple facts wrong, but after checking all my IDs, taking vigorous notes, and a finger scan, I was released. I guess getting a Visa 5 minutes before checking in and getting two flights out of Melbourne were fair reasons to put a flag on my passport.
I collected my boarding pass and flew through security. 20 minutes later and I saw Jeremy walking towards gate 3 and we embraced in a delirious state.
One quick, simple 60 minute flight later and we were in Hobart. Let the adventure begin!