24 Hours of Hell

For some. Not for me though as I had a lovely 10 hour or so snooze on the first flight and then a solid 3 hours on the second flight.

We left Brisbane Thursday morning and hopped on a QANTAS Dreamliner flight. 12 hours of flying would take us straight from Brisbane to LAX. The Dreamliner was lovely and comfortable. I was seated next to Kylah and Jasmine in the prime window position. This was so I could not be disrupted by children wanting to get up and down to visit the loo’s or the snack bar. My impressive bladder control (one of my finest strengths) means I would not need to get up and down so it’s only fair that I occupy the seat of least disruption. Besides, any snacks I would need could be obtained on Kylah and Jasmines frequent visits.

The motion of the plane immediately sent me into a deep and restful slumber. Unfortunately this was not the case for all members of our troop. Unbeknownst to me, my poor old mother was seated next to a hyperactive Isabelle who I had forgotten to tell to go to sleep/ drug her to sleep. Then there were other members of the troop for whom the motion did not lull them into a peaceful slumber, but instead sent them into a spiral of motion sickness and headaches.

Jasmine and Kylah politely roused me for meals so I did not miss out on the food part, although I have to say – the food was quite ordinary. All in all of the 12 hour flight I was awake for 4 episodes of Modern Family, which I watched on the interactive screen that QANTAS have on the back of every seat.

Arriving at LAX was when the Hell started up for me. Friggen customs takes FOREVER to get through. By this stage it was 9pm Brisbane time and Isabelle, having not slept a wink, whinged and complained loudly. The queue snaked around and around for what seemed like kilometres. To give people the illusion that they were moving and progressing in the queue the customs people thoughtfully kept opening new parts of the ribboned off walkway to herd us through.

Angry that they were trying to make me walk further and wanting to show them that I was not dumb enough to fall for their wicked psychological tricks, I ducked under one of the ribbons to avoid a 50m walk. This enraged Jasmine and Kylah because even though I technically hadn’t pushed in front of anyone, I was breaking a rule.

Customs was similar to England. Kylah had dutifully filled out customs slips for everyone while I was sleeping and no one checked them. No one asked to open Kylah’s bag to inspect what the 6 bags of white powder was (it was laundry powder – I have a specific brand I like so bought it with me in little snap lock bags). I was fully prepared, and somewhat excited, for a full interrogation on the contents of my 6 bags of white powder. No one batted an eyelid. I was almost offended.

After getting through customs at LAX we checked our bags on to JFK and then went about preparing to kill 4 hours in the middle of the night (breakfast in LA). Isabelle was beyond tired and the Airport designers failed to accomodate tired children in to their design plan as there was not a single bench seat to lay on. All the seats had arm rests to prevent people from laying down. Bastards.

I ordered the kids some breakfast and paid an eye watering amount for a few sandwiches which were not eaten. Kids were either too tired/too grumpy/not hungry so I might as well have gone and flushed a crisp $50 American bill down their stupid toilets that have WAY too much water in them. Honestly, if you had a big enough backside you would totally touch the water with your rear when you use them. LAX is not like Singapore airport. There were no day spa’s where fish can suckle on your foot skin or reclining lounges. Just a few terminals with a few overpriced shops in them.

The wait was torture. There was so much whinging going on it totally ruined my well rested demeanour. Isabelle finally was able to get comfortable and fall asleep. Unfortunately it was just before we had to board our next flight. Bloody Murphy!!

Our second leg to JFK was on American Airlines. My mum, having wised up to Isabelle’s habit of frequently getting up and prancing around the plane under the guise of going to the toilet (and forcing all the other people in her row to stand up to let her through) refused to sit with her again and selected Kylah as her seat companion.

Jazzy and Isabelle were terrified of getting on the AA plane as Kylah, our resident aviation expert, regaled them all with tales of the many times AA has had crashes during our layover at LAX. So I was sat with the two terrified members of our party of 5 whilst mum and Kylah smuggly sat behind us.

AA was not a great flight. The service was crap and the food was extremely ordinary. They even had WATER rations. Every time Isabelle would ask for water (pronounced wa-ter) the exasperated hostess would correct her and say “waugh-ter” in a condescending voice before presenting her with a plastic cup full to the brim of waugh-ter. This would then spill everywhere, due to the turbulence and we would be back to needing to ask for more and the eloquotion lessons would continue. I did ask for them to put some H2O into Isabelle’s drink bottle, but they responded that they did not have enough waugh-ter to fill everyone’s bottles so no they could not. Instead we got another cup full which promptly spilled everywhere.

The best thing about the flight was a loud American bloke who was sat next to mum and Kylah named John. He gave us all tips on things to do and places to visit and even gave me his ex-wife’s phone number to call because apparently she knows how to have a lovely leisurely time in NY (on account of all the alimony he has to pay her which frees up all the time she would otherwise have to spend working). Whilst it was very kind of him to give me her number, I’m not quite sure his ex-wife would like strangers her husband met on the plane phoning her so I haven’t put it to use – yet.

We arrived at JFK all in one piece and there were no crashes or emergency landings in the Hudson River. Everyone was (sort of) happy. By this stage it is now Friday morning (Brisbane time) but Thursday night, NY time. Kids had only slept a few hours so I was very keen to get them to the hotel, showered and into bed.

Our tour guide had organised a bus to pick us up but it took two buses and 1 car to fit us all in. Mum, girls and I were put in the car which the driver proudly told us was a limo. It didn’t look like the limo’s we have in Australia but it did look a bit fancy so I’m rolling with that name. He also proudly told us that it is the exact same make and model of car that Donald Trump is ferried around in – like we would be impressed or care about those matters. I was slightly surprised that Donald Trump is ferried around in a black limo instead of a solid gold one but other than that was not impressed at all (well maybe a little, I did find the time to brag about it after all).

The route from JFK to our hotel, Staybridge Suites near Times Square, was a mere 30km but according to our driver would take well over an hour. “Impossible”!! I thought to myself. As predicted the drive did take over an hour. I was following along with my gps and at one point it said the hotel was 1.2km away but we still had 9 minutes till arrival. I can totally walk faster than that. Even lugging suitcases and whinging children!! I do not think driving (or being driven) is a good idea in NYC. Every time I put a destination in my GPS driving is always the LEAST effective mode of transportation in regards to time.

Staybridge Suites are lovely. We have a mini kitchenette and an ensuite. It’s very small but compared to the hotel we stayed in in Paris, it’s a mansion, so I just keep comparing it to that. The beds are lovely and comfortable so that’s a bonus.

Kids, mum and I were all showered and in bed by 11pm NY time after a very LONG and taxing journey (for everyone bar me).

Thanks for reading!! I am very behind. So much to write and so little time!!

B xx