Up around 8:00 and ate some breakfast. Headed out in the intermittent rain to look for that last souvenir. In the tunnels there were herds of dark suited people – male and female - and the only sound was the click and thump of hurrying feet. I stood out in my green rain jacket – and walking on the wrong side of the path. Did find a place that was pretty good but sadly, in retrospect, I did not purchase any kangaroo scrotal sacks – either with hair or without. I know everyone wanted one…
Anyway, back to the hotel and settled the tab, then the transport showed up – we spent over an hour driving around town waiting for additional fairs. At the last hotel the driver jumped out and forgot the brake, so we rolled into a cab behind us. Sigh. Anyway, after we showed up at the airport at about noon for our 1:25 flight. It worked out well though as we were directed to the business class check in as the line was enormous!
The flight back was a lot more full than the flight over – we sat over the wing. I sat next to a handicapped Japanese man who could not speak English – he was in the aisle seat. But we had three meals, two snacks, and free wine and beer. Alice slept some but I didn’t have any luck.
We got to Dallas on time but… Immigration was packed – we were diverted to a short line – but it was behind a large Mexican family that took over ten minutes. Then we got pulled aside for Agricultural inspection due to the horse/camel ride. Then the shuttle took us too far from the terminal because of construction and when we got there – it was too late for self check – in.
We got in the full service line and watched the minutes tick away… Our 3:25 flight… we got to the counter at 3:20. But, luck was on our side again – we got a 5:30 flight to Charlotte that will make the LB connection! We got to the gate and the plane was completely full – I guess we were lucky to get seats! Alice got dinner at Burger King – Hungry Jacks in Australia in Charlotte. We’ll have to get used to having to add tax to purchases – both PNG and Australia include tax in their prices. And pennies… both PNG and Australia have their smallest coin as .05 of their base unit.
Flight to Lynchburg was uneventful (and 2/3 empty). We got to the airport and another casualty. My new bag had lost a wheel. Sigh. Called a taxi and one showed in about ten minutes – then home at almost exactly midnight.
House looked in pretty good shape – the gerbil Brazil had died. The house smelled of dirty turtle water and there was a pile of mail a mile high. A branch had fallen on the roof and messed up a shingle. Some very nice person had left welcoming balloons and a bottle of wine! ET was all over us after initially running off. All was well. Of course, neither one of us was tired. Although it was midnight here it was really 2:00 PM tomorrow so we did some unpacking, a bit of laundry and some sorting out of junk from the trip.
We had a great time but it’s good to be back home.
Some travel statistics:
Total time away – 468 hours
Total flights – 13 (22 transports from/to airport)
Total distance by air = about 23,000 miles
Total time in the air – about 54.5 hours
Time in airports between flights – 24 hours
Longest single trip – May 31 at 12:30 PM to June 2 at 6:30 PM : Lynchburg to Rabaul - 38 hours.