Back in the US (SR!)

Trip Start Jun 24, 2012
Trip End Sep 21, 2012

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, September 18, 2012

After a great last day in Sydney at an awesome hotel we said good bye to Sydney early in the morning and headed to the airport for our first stand by attempt. They wouldnt even let us past security, we had to wait next to the check out counter to find out if we'd get on. We waited and waited... with a whole big group of people. It wasn't lookin good. Not sure if you've ever flown stand by before but its stressful, and everyone else who's flying standby makes it more stressful. Obviously we could have just purchased tickets and we wouldnt have to be dealing with this at all, but for $3000 we were willing to deal with a little hassle. One by one they were calling people's names and handing them tickets. That lucky person would jump up with the joy of knowing that they would be getting on the plane - its like a winning lotto ticket! Its funny, when you fly standby - you and all the other standby people are sort of like a group - working together to figure out if you're gonna get on, how many open seats are left, when the next flight is, or deciding to go a different route all together. However, as soon as you get your ticket - its like you were never friends with these people. You enter another class - a special class of people who actually have tickets and are moving on and leaving all the standby losers in the dust to rot in the airport. Its quite amusing.

So there we were..waiting and waiting watching one person after another getting their lotto ticket and leave. It was not lookin good. Jason was looking at purchasing flights for Thursday and finding the best route. He did have time to strike up a conversation with the older woman next to us who was just waiting for her family to arrive. What to talk about? Politics of course! She was cool though. My favorite quote of hers was "And what was with that dreadful woman from Alaska - Pailin? That was embarassing!" Much agreed lady :) So, as it was looking more and more like we weren't getting out, we were planning what we were gonna do and where we were gonna go, because obviously we had no plans if we didn't get out. At one point, we were thinking of purchasing a ticket through Fiji and spending a day there before we went on to Taiwan and then to San Francisco. Then the thought of what to do if there was only 1 ticket available came into our head. Who would go and what the plans would be then? Who would get the phone? How would we communicate? We decided to hold on off on thinking about that plan. And of course just as it looked like it was completely over - they called Jason Porter. Then Katherine Winborn!! Our lotto ticket arrived. We joined the ranks of winners at the ticket desk and left all the other losers behind! We actually felt bad for this one kid - it was his 4th day trying to get out of Sydney and it looked like there would be a 5th day in his future. Oh well - we were going to LA!

And the best part of all- We got business class!!! Thats right, not only did we get on - we got the super fancy seats!! Thank you Sean!!!! We arrived to our seats and got our mimosas. We had the seats that folded down all the way to a bed. There were 2 pillows, a big comforter type blanket, really nice headphones, a whole grooming kit with tooth brush and slipper socks. It was awesome. Then we saw the menu! A 4 course meal was coming up. Do you know who the executive chef of Delta is? Michelle Berstein. That may not mean much to you guys but I watch lots of Top Chef - I know exactly who she is, so I was stoked. Wine was a 'flowin - it was great! We even got dessert wine with our desserts (choice of cheeses, chocolate tart, or ice cream sundae with choice of toppings). We went with the sundaes. We also had another touch screen loaded with a million movies, tv shows, etc. We slept a little but our plane left at 10am, so its hard to go to sleep for 8 hours at 10 in the morning. We each watched 4 movies and several tv shows. My favorite movie was The Artist. Jason watched Prometheus and was a little underwhelmed. I think his favorite was Hangover 2. My surprise pick for the day was "Jeff, who lives at home" It was great - rent it. So all in all a very luxorious way to end our trip. I will never fly overseas in anything less than business class :) Yeah right - it was $7000 a ticket!!

We got to LA at 7:30 AM which was actually about midnight our time. LAX is our least favorite airport in the world. We have spent over 2 hours going through customs before, but today was a breeze since it was so early and we were free Americans again. We got in touch with our favorite people in LA, JT and Mia who moved out of the rain in Seattle about a year ago for a sunnier change in LA. It was so great to see them. They were so wonderful to us too. JT was working and Mia was at the doctor but they gave us the code to their house and told us to go make ourselves at home. So we took a snooze and a shower at their house and they got home a few hours later and we got to spend the day with them and their adorable little baby Liam who is a little over 7 months. It was so nice to just relax and chill with some familiar faces. The perfect intermediate between world traveling and the total reality check of being home. We had a great time with them and headed out the next day back to Seattle. The trip was almost over..unbelievable how time flies. We were both kind of anxious about going back home. Lots of emotions after this amazing trip and really amazing to think of everything thats happened in the past 3 months and now we're almost back to our regular lives.
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