“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
In an attempt to see the moon shine (not to be confused with ‘moonshine’) on the other side of the world again, I had to get ready to go, again. Leading up to the big day I seemed to lack the motivation to pack and get organised. Why? Still tired from the last big trip maybe? The thought of experiencing my third winter for the year? I really don’t know, but it seemed a huge effort and I have no idea how it all came about, but there I was on departure day, packed and sitting at Gate 82 Brisbane Airport waiting to board a flight to Seattle.
Departure Day – Seattle Adventure
The day I left was interesting to say the least. I’m usually in the city of departure on the night before an International flight, but not this time. I broke all my own rules by agreeing to stay on the north side of the city. It seemed feasible at the time, but it wasn’t without its moments of absolute terror as I contemplated what could go wrong in the process of getting to the airport on time. The biggest fear was relying on others to get me there. I normally travel under my own steam, but the generosity of Ricky and Sally prevailed and I succumbed to the offer to stay the night and have them drive me to the airport the next day.
To take my mind off what could happen, I spent the morning at the local cafe with my two granddaughters, sharing girl-talk over coffee and a late breakfast. By the time we got home there were some chores to do, another attempt to know exactly what was in my backpack and more importantly, which pocket it was stowed in, and finally another shower before putting on the semi-warm clothes I’d need for my arrival into cold Seattle. Before I knew it Sally had arrived to help me load my luggage into the car and start the journey. First stop, meet Ricky at Nundah railway station; second stop, the Royal Hotel at Nundah for a superb Italian dinner; third stop, the airport. It all worked like clock-work so I needn’t have worried.
Luggage – Safely Delivered!
With my bags safely labelled and whisked away on the conveyor belt, I made my way to the next challenge – the part that alerts the Government to the fact that you are about to leave the country, which country(s) you are defecting to and how long you will be away.
I miss the face of Customs and Immigration – the human element that would smile as they stamped your passport with place and date of departure, but I certainly don’t miss it at the end of the journey as you made your way home. No matter how much you declared every wooden souvenir you were bringing home, you still lived in fear of having missed something that the ever-alert Customs Officer would so easily find. I worked very hard at not having that ‘guilty’ look that Custom’s Officer’s are trained so well to detect. Interacting with a piece of paper is so much easier. Fill out the form, declare everything, and smile for the camera – Welcome Home!
I love that you leave the Customs area via the Duty Free area, but I still can’t get used to seeing a packet of Tim Tams sell for four times as much as in the supermarket – all in the name of Duty Free – no doubt. It seems the humble Tim Tam has acquired equal status to Vegemite as the quintessential Australian icon.
Seattle, Here I Come!
But first, a two-hour stopover in Honolulu – that turned out to be a lot longer than I anticipated, but you’ll have to read about that in the Sequel to follow….