My life has been an absolutely whirlwind storm from Monday at 11:30pm (LA time) when my flight left LAX until now (Wednesday at 6:40 pm Melbourne time) as I sit in the lobby of the Westin Hotel in the heart of Melbourne.

I made it! I cannot believe that I am in the Land Down Under where cars are driven from the “passenger seat” and money is colored, plastic, and comes in various sizes.

My flight was fantastic. Since the longest plane flight that I have been on was 6 hours to Washington DC, I was quite nervous to be in the air for that time plus an extra 10 hours. 16 hours? I’ve never done anything, not even sleep, for 16 straight hours. However, I survived.

View from my window once the sun came up. Just off of the coast of Australia.

The red-eye was key because by the time I got onto the plane, was fed a delicious salmon and rice dinner, and watched the beginning half of The Vow, I was exhausted and it was around 2 am in LA. I slept for over 8 hours, waking only briefly during some gnarly turbulence. In my sleepy state, I decided that it would be easier to keep sleeping than to start freaking out over the jolting plane. And on I slept. I woke up to finish my movie, eat cereal for breakfast, and read some of Under the Dome, a book I’ve been reading for several weeks, until we touched down in Melbourne at 8:30 am.

A picture of the “Tail View Flight Tracker” option on my TV

Customs was not the pain-in-the-butt that most people say it is. The line was long, but moved quickly. The customs attendant was friendly and quickly and efficiently added my middle name to my Australian Visa. As I walked through the stall, all of the lights went out. I was the very last person to cross the customs threshold before the entire Melbourne Airport, all four terminals, lost power….two hours later, we were still standing around waiting for our bags. Without power, the baggage claim doesn’t work. Who knew! By noon, we grabbed our bags and met the Melbourne Collegians Vice President and Board member outside of the airport. They were so kind and immediately gave us both a hug in greeting.

Once Steve’s car resembled a clown car packed to the brim with our luggage, we drove to the Westin, where we are staying for the night. It is an incredibly nice hotel! Talk about luxury! I have a walk-in shower with glass doors and the most cloud-like bed I have ever felt. Man, I’ll sleep well tonight!

The Ultimate Shower – walk in glass doors, slightly sunken floor for no overflow, “rain” shower head in the ceiling and hand-held shower head options.
(Plus water temperatures in Celsius!)

Between arriving at the hotel and my cheap chinese dinner (curry chicken and rice (Ben, it didn’t taste like FruitLoops) for $10 which is apparently almost unheard of for a Melbourne meal), I went for a run through the Botanical Gardens across the Yarra River. The river has clean water, but is said to have been made “upside down” because it stays a very constant, delicious muddy brown color. Needless to say, I’ll never be taking a morning swim in it. The gardens were gorgeous. Flowers, exotic birds, and statues gave me continual reasons to stop during my run. Oops! I wish that I could run through the park everyday. There is SO much to explore!

A working clock displayed over flowers!

For now, my bed is calling my name. (1:50 am LA time, 6:50 pm Melbourne time) Talk about an early bedtime!

One thought on “Whirlwind

  1. Karen Began says:

    Alicia, I can’t believe you are half a world away! We love our “Alicia’s adventures” so keep writing…everyday! We followed your plane via a website and were so relieved that you made it safe and sound. Funny to hear the Aussies refer to cell phones as “your mo-bile”. You dad, brother and Ziggy send lots of kisses and hugs. I can still feel your good-bye hug. Counting down the days ’til you are home. Wow, Ben is half way around the world on one side and you are half way around on the other side. Be safe, have fun, write alot!
    your momma

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