It is a bit of a shock to wake up a little discombobulated and look out the window and see snow falling. It took me a moment to figure out where I was, then the long 36 hour Monday flashed before my eyes.
After a frantic week in the garden, making sure everything was in order and easy care so Hubby the Un-Gardener can look after it easily I put away my tools, not before pulling out my mustard cover crop to stop it going from to seed before I get back. However I didn’t have time to dig it in. So I just left it lying on the top. I remember last time I tried to dig it in, it wasn’t as simple as it seemed, so maybe if I leave it lying there long enough the worms will do the work. I won’t need the garden again until October so I can wait.
Anyway, I fell into bed, barely able to sleep because my bags were packed at the end of the bed and the alarm was set for 4am. The adventure was about to begin.
Travelling on your own is a strange situation as it is easy to second guess yourself, so you have to work hard to stay confident. Especially if you don’t travel often. The first leg of the trip (look at me using travel terminology – and like a leggy tomato – travel legs are generally long and have you reaching out trying to figure out where the sun is.) Well it was ok. There was a promise of free wifi on the plane, which I took to be endless internet surfing. I was wrong. It meant there were no screens in the headrest in front, and so you had to use your own device. I had two problems with this – my battery life was precious to me. I didn’t know when I could recharge again and even if I did want to watch their movies on my phone, the fancy noise eliminating earphones I had borrowed wouldn’t work. Or more accurately I couldn’t get them to work for this experience. So I read a book. With the earphones on but unplugged.
I can’t remember the last time I read a book without major distraction. It was lovely. The 3 hours to Sydney were lost on the farm of Kristin Kimball in the pages of her book The Dirty Life. A memoir of farming, food and love. Such a great book.
Transiting through Sydney airport was easy enough as I had my boarding passes for everything and my baggage was checked all the way through. Although I did get checked for explosives at the transit counter. Good news – I’m explosive free!
Airport food isn’t all that great either. I wanted to avoid McDonalds so I went for some cannelloni that looked nice but was microwaved, so it had hot spots. I bought a bottle of water for the next flight and then joined my flight to LA. I do love having a good few hours between flights as I saw many very anxious people along the way.
This flight was much better. There were screens! Out the window I saw the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. But as the flight was to land at 7am the air hostesses helped adjust body clocks by closing the windows and making it dark. So shortly after having lunch of cold cannelloni, I had chicken salad for dinner. I needn’t have bought a water, because we were given a bottle. I watched a movie, and then decided it would be too hard to sleep as it was really uncomfortable so I picked up my book again and slowly drifted off into a crooked sleep.
And as Monday restarted again, I felt like I could possible manage another few hours curled up on odd angles sleeping as my body craved it and I seemed to be stuck that way. But breakfast was being served… French toast. I watched the sun rise out the window as we approached America.
Flying over Los Angeles was impressive. It was a lovely blue sky day. It is so vast and flat, but tucked under some snow dusted mountains. But the immigration process I’d been dreading was ahead. The form was daunting and everyone I’d spoken to had said don’t make mistakes on it. The thing I want to know is Why would anyone want to bring snails into the country? And is it a big enough problem that it needs to be on the form? I know they are a problem in the garden, and I have heard they can come back if you throw them over the fence – but taking them to the other side of the world is a bit over the top.
The immigration guy was lovely, and the customs was confusing and they really didn’t seem to want to check anything. Ours is much more on to it. Mind you we did put a large part of Auckland into quarantine for finding a fruit fly. Then suddenly I am out into the throng of folks in the airport.
The information boards were different too as they were in alphabetical order. I’ve only seen chronological before. Once I figured that out, then my Gate number had an A on it. Some of the actual gates had an A on the sign, but not mine and so until I actually saw my flight number come up at the gate I was concerned I was in the wrong place. It hadn’t been long since I’d had breakfast and the memory of the cold cannelloni fresh in my mind, I didn’t buy any food or water…
The flight had been oversold and so they were offering people increased amounts to fly later. Yeah nah… not for me. I was nervous enough as it was. So on this domestic flight there was actual wifi – internet surfing, but by now I was hooked well and truly into my book, so I didn’t even look at the movies. I set the screen on the map and opened my book and kept an eye out the window as we raced across America. I saw the Hollywood sign, Malabu Beach and a lot of towns and communities that on the map were names I had heard. American culture is surprisingly pervasive in our culture.
As we travelled across country the weather deteriorated from the blue sky days of LA to thicker and blacker clouds. And the day turned to night in four hours. I think I missed lunch and dinner. And as we descended below the clouds into Atlanta this vast city of lights were revealed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so big. Ever!
And once we got off the plane we had to take a train to the baggage…. Past two stops! But I found my bag easily and the shuttle was easy too. But boy it was cold. 4C. I got my gloves and beanie out. The hotel is fabulous and the bed very welcoming as my long 36 hour Monday drew to a close.
Come again soon – after a day of rest, the Garden Bloggers Conference will be awesome!
Sarah the Gardener : o )