On Monday night, we packed our bags again and drove back to LAX to catch our flight to Sydney. The entire security process took about five minutes—no immigration control, no passport stamp, bags were simply X-rayed and we didn’t have to go through the body scanner nonsense. Morale of the story—entering the US is hard but leaving the country is piece of cake.

At check-in, one of the Quantas employees had advised us to grab a bite to eat before going to the waiting room because there wasn’t much past the security checkpoint. She was right. Empty hallways reminded me of a hospital and the gates had nothing but seats. It was just strange, I thought LAX was busier than that.

We had learned at the last minute that we wouldn’t fly the A380 considering all the recent security issues. The aircraft was switched for a Boeing 747. Planes are never really comfortable and I was somewhat anxious at the perspective of spending 15 hours over the Pacific Ocean—not that I’m scared of flying but time can drag on forever on board. But hours went by very quickly. By the time we took off, it was already 11 p.m., and we both fell asleep after watching a couple of movies. I woke up when we went through very strong turbulences somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but I dozed on and off for about eight hours.

When I woke up for good, I realized we were only a couple of hours from the coast of Australia and I sighed with relief. Almost there.

The immigration process was pretty straightforward at the airport, probably because we had applied for the Electronic Travel Authorization from Canada. However, all bags were checked for food products because Australia has strict quarantine laws and that took forever.

We were eventually cleared and walked out under a clear blue summer sky. Sydney, here we are!

(Not) Fresh of the Plane

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  1. barbara December 11, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Hi Zhu & Feng,

    Oh to be in your shoes right now…
    I am happy that you arrived safely and I can see by the smile on Juliette’s face that she is thrilled!

    Have & great weekend. I’ll be checking in when my work permits me to.
    Bises 😉

  2. Gail at Large December 11, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    I also flew to Sydney from LAX, and it was the longest non-stop flight I’ve taken (14.5 hrs?). But I flew at 10pm after dinner and drinks with my friends, who I’d been staying with for a while. We’d been out a lot and I was ready for sleep. They sent a cheesecake with me in my cabin bag and that’s what I ate for breakfast in Sydney. Ah, the days of only semi-regulated flying!

  3. Linguist-in-Waiting December 11, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Hello Sydney! I agree, getting out of the USA is easy, no passport checks, no nothing. But I think Canada is the same too: even with crossing the border by car or bus: the checks are always at the other side. One can cross the Peace Bridge from the USA to Canada and the checks will be only on the Canadian side, and one can cross back from Canada to the USA and the checks will only be on the USA side.

    And yes, I never was impressed with American airports. It is true that shops are only outside of security: when you enter the airside part of the airport, nothing is there but the bare essentials. JFK Terminal 4 for instance has a nice shopping mall feel before security, but once you enter security, it’s nothing. It’s so unlike European airports. I am still impressed by Zurich International Airport, with all the wood and nice interior design, it didn’t feel like an airport at all. And this was behind security!

  4. kyh December 11, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Glad you made it, downunder girl! 😉

    Prepare to soak yourself in summer suns, seas, and sands! Ah.. Bliss!

  5. Tulsa Gentleman December 12, 2010 at 1:28 am

    I have always wanted to visit Australia and New Zealand but never made it. I will have to travel in your pocket as I did in your odyssey through central and South America. But Sue and I are making a nice trip over Christmas. Her son is a Lt Commander in the Navy and is stationed in Seoul S. Korea with his wife and two small children. We will leave Tulsa on Dec 22 and arrive in Seoul late Christmas Eve, and return on Dec 30. So we will have Christmas in Korea. How is that for an adventure? Is it possible that I am going where you have never been? I bet you have been to Korea too. I will take pictures and try to post when I can. Let’s wish each other safe travel. Hopefully the Korean war will not start up again while we are there.

  6. Nisha December 12, 2010 at 5:22 am

    G’day !! 🙂
    When I went to Sydney first time, I was carrying a lot of Indian food stuff including spices for my friends there who had asked for it.

    But at the airport I had a tough time. I was asked to either throw all eatables in the 2 giant sized trash cans kept for this purpose or eat them else they won’t let me in !!

    ha ha…

    After much persuasion a staff member of Indian origin came and asked me about all spices. He let me take spices but other eatables had to be thrown. 🙁

  7. Priyank December 12, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Heard at Australian border control:
    “Sir, do you have a criminal record?”
    “Why, do you still need that to get into this country?”

    I guess you didn’t answer that, so you are in! Have fun!!

  8. expatraveler December 12, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Sounds like it was a smooth ride so to speak. Glad you are enjoying summer there!

  9. Cynthia December 12, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Yay ! I’m looking forward to read about your adventures in Oz 🙂

  10. Imogene Love December 23, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Heard at Australian border control: “Sir, do you have a criminal record?” “Why, do you still need that to get into this country?” I guess you didn’t answer that, so you are in! Have fun!!


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