Oh, hey! We’re finally in Sydney! It took us seventeen long days to get here from Baltimore, but it was all worth it. Sydney is wonderful!
We arrived at the Sydney airport early on the morning of August 1st after a fourteen-hour, fifty-minute flight from Los Angeles, which was preceded by a short hop from San Francisco. Honestly, the flight wasn’t as bad as you might think. They served us dinner once we’d been in the air for an hour or so (with complimentary adult beverages, by the way,) and then the lights went out and it was time to sleep. If you elected not to sleep, you could use the personal touchscreen monitor in front of you to watch a variety of movies, TV shows, documentaries, etc. There were also games and music channels and other forms of entertainment. Rusty and I were both loaded up with games and books, but we ended up sleeping for most of the flight. They served breakfast a couple hours before we landed. Qantas was fantastic about getting me vegan meals on the flight, and both my dinner and breakfast were awesome!
It’s weird that you’re only on the plane for fifteen hours and yet it’s a full day and some change later when you land, but it helps if you think about it as just one really long night. We took off around midnight, landed around six in the morning, and it was dark the whole time in between. One night, right? Nevermind that July 31st just sort of disappeared for us…
Despite us both getting a decent amount of sleep on the plane, we were still tired and exhausted when our Boeing 747 pulled into Sydney. It had been a long seventeen days! Luckily, no one was waiting for us and we had no plans, so we were in no rush at all to get through immigration and customs, which makes it much easier to handle.
Once we got off the plane, all the arrows pointed us straight to immigration. Note to travelers who may be coming to Australia soon: If you have a new passport with an RFID chip and you fill out the immigration card on the plane like you’re supposed to, you can go through the express lane at immigration. We didn’t realize that until we had already waited in line for ten minutes. Either way, immigration was pretty quick.
We then picked up our bags at baggage claim and got in line for customs. The line for customs was incredibly long; our flight landed right about the same time as a couple other big flights from Europe. If you have nothing to declare, it goes pretty quick. Unfortunately, we had to check the “yes” box for the question, “Have you been hiking in the last 30 days?”, so we had to get our bags examined.
Now, if you saw us some time during the seventeen-day journey to Sydney, you probably heard us whine about how we couldn’t bring anything into Australia with any dirt on it and how we had to be meticulous about cleaning all of our things before we left. Going through customs, however, they appeared to be concerned about only one thing: Beef jerky.
Whatever. We had to lay our bags on the ground and let the cutest beagle ever sniff our bags for beef jerky. When the jerky doggy detected nothing, we were happily on our way. We took a taxi to our guesthouse (booked in advanced by Rusty’s new employer,) and we were done with all of our plans for the day. We then proceeded to sleep for about 4 days.