Sat 12-1-13 to Tues 15-1-13 Adelaide> New Zealand> Los Angeles
Well it's hard to believe we ever made it onto the plane but we did and here we are in destination 1-Los Angeles. Could never have left without the enormous help from both sets of parents over the last month. Was up till 2am almost the entire week prior to going trying to pack and sort out last minute things. All sorts of little hiccups in the last few days too...
- found out we only had half the luggage limits/no of pieces we thought we did so had to go out and buy bigger bags and some scales!!
- found out we needed car seats to ride on our transfers in the USA that were all already paid for and spent a few hours ringing international numbers to try and sort it out only to give up and just hope for the best
- Michelle stubbed her toe and possibly has broken it so had to be taken to Dr for assessment (loss of key babysitter!)
- Dad fell off ladder a few feet but onto his bottom and barely able to walk (but refusing to go to Dr!!)
- drove down drive at Carrickalinga to go to airport and car dash flashing that only 2 km worth of petrol (I think as it had been parked on the slope- it wasnt registering the petrol in it) so had to go and get petrol on the way!
But despite all this... we made it!
Mum and Dad couldn't make it to the airport due to dads back but we were waved off by a teary Dee Dee, Grandad, Anna and lovely Bisi. Again many hands made light work of checking in with our 11(!!!!)peices of luggage!
Was very emotional saying goodbye to my little mummy, poor invalid dad, beautiful sister and all the greys. The airport too was hard but all the jobs of getting through customs etc a helpful distraction. Bisi kept saying "be strong for the kids" which I didnt understand at the time but now reslise meant don't cry in front of them...oops!
Australian customs a complete piece of cake- no line- just got our stamps and off we went- the official start.
We boarded the 4 hour flight to New Zealand armed with all the carefully planned kids play bags and an emergency surprise toy pack from me. Got some extra story books to be sure. Kids wriggly but generally good. Certainly no time for movies or magazines though!! Had to sit 2 in front and two behind but worked out perfectly as no one sat in the spare seat so we each got a row of 3 to stretch out in. The kids ended up using the spare seat as a tunnel to crawl back and forth from parent to parent! Zac did his usal trick of getting very overtired but refusing to sleep until 5 mins before landing and thus pinning my arm down at the critical pack up time. Oh well, some sleep better than nothing.
The 4 hour transist in New Zealand was far better than anticipated. The hardest thing was carrying all the bags and the kids without a pram. Found a great parents room with a play pen where we ate Michelle's fantastic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches then a spot where there were some couch bench seats and colourful light displays. The kids loved them and they also befriended all these other kids in the area and ended up playing chasey and doing acrobatics and slippery sliding down a wall for a few hours. Great was to use up their energy! It was so cute to see Zoe talking to another older little girl (Summer) and telling her she was "from Australia".
Next was the big 14 hr flight Auckland to Los Angeles. In the departure lounge though was a fantastic wall of games for kids so they had a ball there. We got on the flight and set up their "sky beds". Had talked up that Zoe would get to SLEEP (sleep being the operative word) up in the sky with the moon and the stars.
All went well untill we tried to get both kids to lie down and then there was kicking and pushing and crying whilst they both sorted out who was going to lie where. Finally, we put Zoe down first and then moved her around to fit Zac in. All seemed perfect until Zoe woke later in the night (of course once the plane was all dark and most others asleep) and kicked zac in the head as he was in the way and then proceeded to cry at full throttle as she wanted to stretch out and couldn't. Of course, Zac crying loudly too now as he had been woken by a kick in the head and then a grumpy thrashing sister. This certainly brought the air hosties running but soon had them resettled with bottles of warm milk. Phew!
Suddenly, we were being woken for breakfast (which the kids slept through looking super cute) and were were descending. On landing a very excited Zoe called out "we are in America!!" which was very cute. The plane was mostly quiet plane so it got a lot of smiles and laughs. Was completely unprompted too.
All over. Again things went like clockwork once we landed. Had heard horror stories of USA customs but it was a breeze- short line and just a stamp and some fingerprinting and we were through. Zac charming all the staff probably helped! Got all our bags onto 2 trolleys, no quarantine checks and just walked right on out! Our transfer was easy to find and we didnt need car seats afterall (all those calls for nothing!).
A 40 min drive on which Zac slept and Zoe gave a running commentary and we were at our hotel. The lovely Hotel Peppertree. Adam had done such a good job of finding this one... rustic with lots of lovel Mexican influences like cermaic plates on the walls, tiled door arches, terracotta tiles and dark rustic furniture. We have a little kitchen, bath, lounge, a great sunny courtyard, stacks of room for luggage and unlimted internet. Best thing for the kids is the little fountain in the courtyard which the kids have played in for hours with the bath toys. Only catch is they keep getting saturated and cold.
We walked to local restaurant for a celebratory Thai dinner. Staff fantastic with kids and they loved the flowers on the table, the ice and straws in their drinks and the way the vegies were all decoratively cut. Walked to the supermarket across the road and stocked up on the basics- so interesting as all the signs in the aisles in Spanish and English.
Settled down to bed for the night- thoroughly exhausted and we all slept for 15 hours!!!!!!!!! (minus milk feeds and toileting). That's almost as much sleep as I'd had in the last 5 nights. Bliss!!
Had a recovery day in the hotel on the Sunday 19th with books, toys, long bath and take-away subway dinner. Researched for the big Disneyland day befor bed. Sadly- the blissful nights sleep from the first night was not to be repeated and we were up for ages with our 2 bright eyed little night owls. Australia is 18 hours ahead in time.