Jet lagged in Sydney
Trip Start Jun 20, 2011
17Trip End Jul 09, 2011
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Our adventure began as we all met up at the Fort Lauderdale airport at 1pm. My small group of eleven students was in great shape to pass through the checking process when suddenly another People to People group of over 40 entered the check-in line ahead of us. So after another two hours we finally completed that. The students then made their final teary eyed goodbyes to their families before we began to pass through security.
Our first flight was 2 1/2 hours to Dallas, Texas. Once there we had about two hours before our next flight. Waiting at the terminal to board the plane we had three full delegations each with over 40 students. This was the first time that my delegation of 11 students joined up with 32 other students and 3 leaders from Illinois.
Up, up and away we were on our way at around 10:30pm. This was the long flight that I was dreading but somehow the sixteen hours went by quite quickly as I somehow managed to sleep through most of them. It is so interesting that we boarded the plane on a Monday and exited the plane on a Wednesday. We left in the summer and arrived in the winter. We left in the northern hemisphere and arrived in the southern hemisphere.
However, after making it through that long, grueling trip and being ready to go, we encountered a setback. Due to the ash of a volcanic eruption in Chile, our flight had to land in Brisbane, Australia at 4:30AM local time and we were just stuck there inside of the airport terminal until 1:30PM. This turned out to be a longer wait than the international flight. At least the students had the opportunity to get to know one another better. As disappointed as we were with the delay there turned out to be a benefit of this long layover. Had we gone directly as planned then we would have arrived in Sydney in pitch blackness, but because of the delay we arrived in daylight. That allowed us an incredible view of Sydney out the plane window. It was an awesome aerial view of the Sydney Opera House, bridge and harbor down below. And the landing was quite unique too. Basically we flew past Sydney only to do a low u-turn just slightly above the ocean. The plane flew in closer and closer over only water until finally at the last moment the runway appeared and seconds later we touched down on it. We had arrived in Sydney, Australia, the largest city and capital of New South Wales.
Sydney, we made it!! After collecting our baggage and clearing customs, we met up with out delegation manager. His name just happened to be the same as mine! We boarded the bus for the first time and visited the Botanical Gardens. We had a nice walk through the park and had our first real glimse (from the ground) of the Sydney Opera House and bridge. We even enjoyed the view as the sun was setting. Couldn't have been planned better. Back at the hotel we had our dinner and a much needed early bed check time.