Friday, September 09, 2011

30 Days of Blogging: Day 9

This is a guest post by Kelly St-Laurent....

Kia ora everyone, it's Kelly, I have just arrived in Vancouver from Auckland, New Zealand via Fiji. For those who don't know me, aka everyone, I'm a friend of Karina's who goes back to her New Zealand days. She's actually the reason I first moved to Canada in 2004. I got fed up with New Zealand, she suggested Canada and it's all been sunshine since then...

Today I thought I'd blog a little about how to survive long distance travel. My husband and I left Auckland on Sunday September 4th at 12:50pm and got to Fiji three hours later. It was an easy flight and we were heading to a booze filled four days in paradise so we were just eager to get there. I have to give a big shout out to the staff at First Landing Resort in Lautoka, Fiji. If ever you go to Fiji, and I suggest you do, go stay there, it's reasonably priced, the staff are amazing and a beach front bure offers everything you dream Fiji to be.

Leaving paradise however is never easy...

On September 8th we left the resort for Nadi Airport. We arrive there to find the whole place filled with sirens and firemen walking around. We then spent an hour and a half waiting in line in a tropical airport that hasn't heard of air conditioning. At 10pm we flew from Fiji to LAX on Air Pacific. I foolishly thought that flying late at night would mean we could easily fall asleep, wake up 8 hours later refreshed and be ready for the next part of our journey. Unfortunately I was wrong. Instead we had a screaming baby close by, an entertainment system that seemed to be on island time and hardly worked, and I had the joy of an over excited child sitting in the seat in front of me. During the 10 hour flight I got about 1 hour of broken sleep. And just when I reached a good sleeping point they turned all the cabin lights on and started serving a wonderfully tasteless breakfast.

Arriving in LAX, jetlagged and exhausted I comforted myself in knowing we could just go through to the transition lounge where I could sleep. We got through LAX customs quickly (yay) and waited forever for our luggage (crap). Then I had to go declare my kava from Fiji (look it up, it's amazing!) Then we get to the luggage area for transition flights and they look at my bags and shake their head. For a quick recap, Air Pacific told us we could have 23 kgs of checked luggage in any amount of bags. Auckland Airport told us we could only have one bag each. I had one, my husband two (in all fairness one of his bags was my shoes)In Fiji we got the two bags wrapped together, problem averted right? Wrong. We get to LAX and they say each bag needs a label. So we had to leave the luxury of the transition lounge and walk 20mins to the Air Alaska counter to check in our luggage separately. Then after all of that we have to go through security. I can finally say I know what those violating TSA machines feel like. Finally after 2 hours we reach the transition lounge and I'm no longer tired enough to sleep.

At 6:30pm, almost 24 hours after we first left Fiji, we got on an Alaskan Airways flight that took us to Vancouver. We arrived at 9:30pm and I had to proceed to the immigration counter to get my Canadian Residency. There I waited half an hour while people tried to dodge the system and bring in birds nests from China.

Let's just say it wasn't the easiest of traveling. However, I'm not one to dwell on the negative. I got four days in beautiful Fiji and now I'm a resident of beautiful Canada. I also (finally!) get to live in the same city as my beautiful best friend Karina.

Thanks for letting me vent. And for those off to see the rest of the world, happy travels and good luck!

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