Of all the trips, in all the years I've been traveling, this was very high on the list as one of the most challenging. Lost luggage, missed connections and an outdoor swim meet, hosted on the tail end of the Australian winter. Yea.
The first snafu was our missed connection out of Atlanta, due in part to storms but also because our flight out of Baltimore was delayed. The late arrival in meant running from one end of the airport to the other, with two carry on bags, one of which housed a lap-top, a few magazines and an iPad, which hit my hip over and over again so hard that it left a bruise. I was sweating, hot and my feet hurt from running in thin-soled flats.
Planes, trains and automobiles, we flew out of Atlanta that same night and made it into Los Angeles, where we spent the night until the next flight out, which was 24-hours later. Most of the following day was spent in at LAX, where I did some shopping and found a LAMILL! The L.A. based coffee house recently shuttered it's doors in Baltimore's Four Seasons Hotel, which meant it had been months since I'd enjoyed the cafe's brew. I enjoyed a cappuccino and a Hong Kong milk tea before boarding the transpacific flight.
Arrival in Australia meant that we had landed in our final destination, but it took three days for the luggage to arrive. The (only) positive side to the downpours were that it really didn't matter what we wore, because the last layer every one put on was a white plastic poncho. Once we checked into our hotel, we did walk into the shopping district to pick up some items such as t-shirts, Lorna Jane and a fabulous pair of tennis shoes that were $8. The price was right and it didn't matter that we walked through mud and wet grass each day, because we weren't ruining a pair of nice shoes.
The families of the athletes develop a bond, just as the swimmers do, so it was fun to reconnect with some of the families that we've spent time with on past trips and get to know some of the new parents. A LOT of commiserating over sitting in the rain and being cold, but the best part was when there were a few of us standing under an awning as a brief reprieve from the downpour. We were asked to leave and return to our seats because it was a fire hazard. Keep in mind, at this point it's raining sideways, so the likelihood of a fire was quite slim. No one moved, the police came and all was good. They let us remain standing until the end of the heat when we returned to our seats to watch the final prelims heat of the 400IM.
We tacked an extra day on the end of our trip and spent some time with Michael after he was finished swimming. The day was a relaxing and long lunch at our hotel and then walking down to the beach to enjoy the sunshine.
All in all, the trip was an adventure. MP swam well, I enjoyed some delicious coffee, tasty Tim Tams, brought back some Lorna Jane, held a koala bear and fed some kangaroo. Until next time Australia!