Australia: Take 1
Once upon a time there was a young couple who loved to travel. When the wife was pregnant, they planned a dream trip to Australia and New Zealand timed to coincide with their child being 6-7 months old. Many people asked if they were planning to bring the baby along; and their response? “Yes! Of course! Why wouldn’t we?” So they booked plane tickets before they even knew the sex of the baby and over the course of several months worked on decided cities to visit, places to stay and what to see. The baby got her first passport when she was only 2 months old. The couple researched tips on traveling with an infant and took her on a few “practice” trips around the states. Then, shortly after their baby turned 6 months old, they packed their bags and boarded a flight to the other side of the world.
Sounds crazy, right? Well, that’s exactly what these crazy kids did. As you know if you’ve read any of this blog or know us in the slightest, we have the travel bug. We had been wanting to make the trip “Down Under” for years and had saved up a big chunk of airline miles to spring for business class seats. We figured the best time to take Hannah would be when she was not yet mobile or talking or when she was old enough to occupy herself for 14+ hours in a metal tube. So we picked the former because we weren’t interested in waiting until she was a teenager. We knew it was going to be different than our previous travels, but were excited nonetheless.
At the end of April we packed up 2 large suitcases, 4 carry-ons and a stroller then headed to the airport. Because we’d used miles we were in First or Business class the entire trip to and from Australia. We arrived to the airport early, checked in, then headed to the American Airlines Admirals club to wait out or flight. A couple hours later we boarded the plane, excited to start our big adventure. Well, we were going to have to wait a bit longer. A few minutes after everyone was settled, the pilot announced there was a maintenance issue and we would be delayed. Shortly after that announcement he came back on the PA system to inform us the plane would be taken out of service, we would have to deplane and they would either find us a new one or we would all be booked on new flights. We had a 12 hour layover in LA so we weren’t worried about missing our connection, but it was a bit annoying. After about an hour, we boarded a different (and older) plane ready to get going.
As we were sitting there entertaining Hannah, a nice gentlemen walked up the aisle, smiled at her and made some comment about how cute she was and touched her. C, Hannah and I smiled and said thank you as he took his seat in the row behind us. As he walked away I turned to C and said, “Is that…?” He smiled and nodded. We had just met Sean Astin who is most famous for his roles in The Goonies, Rudy and Lord of the Rings. We were a little dumbfounded, especially since Rudy is one of our favorite movies! As we taxied and took off C and him started up a conversation about Hannah and where we were headed. When he learned we were going to Australia and New Zealand he offered up a lot of advice of things to see. He was pretty interested in Hannah and they hit it off. We talked with him off and on during the flight and he was a really nice and personable guy. I wanted to ask him for a picture with Hannah (he was pretty smitten with her, as she was with him) but I didn’t want to be weird or annoying. Of course, now I regret that. It was her first celebrity meeting and I failed to get any evidence of it occurring! Ah well, she’ll just have to trust us.
We made the most of our long layover in LAX and spent time with my family celebrating my mom’s birthday. It was a great time and was nice to get out of the airport. And, while at my parents’ house Hannah decided to roll from back to belly for the first time. She was very proud of herself and did it multiple times while we were there. Finally it was time for us to head back to the airport and check in for the flight to Brisbane. We were able to enjoy some time in the Business Lounge for Qantas and it was fancy pants. After an hour it was time to board our flight. As I previously said, we saved up airline miles and redeemed them for business class seats. We were able score seats in the upper deck of the plane so there were only 20 or so other people for Hannah to harass.
Thankfully she did extremely well on the flight! We tried getting her to sleep in the bassinet which folded down from the bulkhead but it was so small that I don’t think she was able to get comfortable. So we traded off holding her while she slept or played. After 14 or so hours we landed in Brisbane before 7am local time. We took the train into the Central Business District (CBD) and made the short walk to our apartment.
Up next, 3 days in Brisbane!