Thursday, February 2, 2012

Flight from Auckland to Los Angeles beats the clock

   We arrived before we left.
   Qantas flight 25 departed Auckland, New Zealand, on Tuesday at 3:15 p.m. local time and arrived in Los Angeles 12 hours later at 6:15 a.m. PST the same day. Auckland is 21 hours ahead of L.A.
   After getting settled on the plane and checking out the movie options for an hour, I had a smoked salmon salad for dinner and watched a 3 1/2-hour documentary on George Harrison, "Living in the Material World." It was nostalgic (the Beatles era), harrowing (a knife attack by an intruder at the Harrisons' home outside of London) and touching (reactions to his death). In one of Harrison's more memorable comments, he lamented late in his life that he was "still trying to write a good song."
   Then I read for an hour, slept for 4 1/2 hours, had scrambled eggs for breakfast, monitored our flight path and chatted with the woman from Pasadena in the adjacent seat.
   Three other members of our tour group were on the flight. One of them watched more movies, four, than Richard Roeper does. Roeper, by the way, spoke in Sacramento on Wednesday night.
   Upon arrival in Los Angeles, the three of us from Sacramento went to the American Airlines counter to try to catch an earlier connecting flight. It took about 20 minutes to get through the short line as some agents went on a break and the remaining ones worked at less than blinding speed. American must send its employees to the United States Post Office School of Customer Service.
   When we finally talked to an agent, she informed us that it would cost $75 each to change flights. We declined. All things considered, it's no wonder American Airlines recently declared bankruptcy.
   While waiting four hours for our flight, we dozed and chatted with three other members of our Australia tour group, who had just arrived from Sydney after spending four days at the Great Barrier Reef. They were connecting to Monterey.
   Finally, we boarded our plane and enjoyed a spectacular view of the Los Angeles basin, California coastline, San Joaquin Valley and Sierra Nevada Mountains on our way to Sacramento.
   Our 15-day trip to Australia and New Zealand was filled with luxurious hotels, amazing restaurants and memorable experiences. Highlights included:
    —A Sydney Harbour Bridge climb.
    —A yacht cruise on Sydney Harbour.
    —Several days at the Australian Open, including one in a suite at Rod Laver Arena, in Melbourne.
    —Playing tennis on real grass, synthetic grass, clay and Plexicushion (similar to a fast hardcourt) in Australia.
    —A glacier hike and fjord cruise in New Zealand.
    —A breathtaking view from the observation deck of the 1,076-foot Sky Tower in Auckland.
   Throw in writing and shopping, and I was constantly busy. For a trip on which I had little time to sleep, work out or read, it was a great vacation.

No comments:

Post a Comment