After a breather of a couple months, Mrs Bear and I are back on the world travel paths… This time, we are visiting Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii over a seven-week journey.
I will begin with a few notes about getting to Australia. We live in Central Pennsylvania, USA, and chose to fly out of Newark, NJ, which is one of the New York metropolitan airports. Newark is about four hours for us by car, and it includes the benefit of family living close by. This allows us to leave our car at their house and get a personal drive to the airport
Our travel started on a Sunday at noon with a drive to the airport for a 3:00 PM flight to Los Angeles. United Airlines operates a hub in Newark. Our plane had come in from Dublin earlier in the day… And this meant we had the luxury of boarding a plane set up for international travel for a domestic flight. Due to Mrs Bear’s fantastic long term planning, we fly Business Class, and had full reclining seats. I took advantage and got in a nap on the way to LAX.
On a side note, I was not impressed with United’s terminal at EWR. They are renovating the gates with high seats at recharging tables, which lets you order food and play video games, all at an exorbitant price!! They wanted $10 for a soda!! And this seating arrangement does not provide enough chairs for waiting passengers. It felt like a real zoo!! AND, all of the stores and food spots were set up to pay only by credit card at computer stations. You want a local newspaper?? Put in your credit card and work the coding systems. Maybe it’s just me, but I like the personal service and ability to pay cash. So they lost out on my sale.
We made it to LAX, which is a major gateway for flight transfers from the East Coast, if you are heading to Hawaii or Asia. We lucked out here. Our flight arrived on time at about 5 PM, California time. I always set us up with a 2-3 hour lag between flights in case of delays. This also lets us walk a bit and stretch out before getting back in an airline seat. Our flight arrived two gates from our next departure, and our United lounge was super close as well. The food at the lounge was great, so we ate dinner there before boarding the plane. This way, we didn’t have to eat mediocre food at a late hour on the plane.
We left LAX at 9:30 PM, PST, which is after midnight in NYC where we started. Our flight to Melbourne was 15.5 hours nonstop, so the advantage of flying Business Class with the fully reclining bed-like seats is a pure luxury. I have gotten much better at sleeping on planes, and drifted off four times for a total of about five hours. Mrs Bear is the pro. I thought she might sleep the whole way. Anyway, three movies, a bunch of almonds, and enough alcohol to contribute to my sleep cycles, got us to Melbourne.
This is where the trip gets a bit weird… 15 flight time hours got us to Melbourne on a Tuesday morning, despite it still being Monday back home. I haven’t really got this International Date Line figured out.
So we made it to Australia after 20+ hours in the air. We got to our hotel around noon local time, ate lunch, took a two hour only nap, and went for a local walk. This will put us on track to go to sleep somewhere around 9:00, local time, and begin to acclimate to the day/time change. All in all, not a bad transition.
Tomorrow, I’ll start writing about Australia.