On Monday 29th May, arriving at Perth International Airport at 3am for the start of a five week work/holiday. My first big trip like this ever. Excited I was most definitely.
Part One: Perth to Dubai connecting to New York.
Duration from Perth to Dubai was approximately 10 hours. In flight movies times 2, breakfast and lunch served, four hours sleep with approximately 1.5 hours of turbulence which I did sleep through most of it. Arriving in Dubai for a two hours stop over, which most of that time was spent walking to departure gate from arrivals and yes it was hot in the terminal. Now I had been checked over, bag and body when leaving Perth IA, well it happened again at Dubai, which looking at it, everyone got checked over. Was a bit scary when your passport is taken by one of their ‘federal officers’ and you aren’t 100% sure of what happens next. So once checked over and allowed through to boarding area, I could relax just a little before we headed onto part two of our trip, New York. I was super excited to be going to New York for many reasons.
I was able to finally meet face to face with a Facebook friend for the first time in two years, with so much to talk about and learn about each other and to see in New York in one day. I managed 10 hours sleep on the plane to NY which was wonderful and we arrived around 9:45pm New York time, so by the time we arrived at the hotel I had been in transit for approximately 29 hours, yes it was a very long day and a bit. Time to put my head down and be fresh and ready to hit the ground running in the morning. With 24 hours to see as much as possible, I headed out for a look around near the hotel, Knickerbocker Hotel which was next to Times Square. I came back to the hotel and waited in the foyer for Lori.
Lori and I connected over our love or marathon swimming over the past couple of years, and as a newbie to the sport it was wonderful to be encouraged by someone who is a master at long distances. We headed off for lunch of burgers, cheesy chips and a coke, and good conversation about everything New York and everything Australia and swimming and more. After lunch our first port of call was Barnes and Noble bookstore, which took my breath away. As a reader and writer to see three floors of books, journals, music and so much more was like a child walking into a candy store and not knowing which way to turn first, well I started at the beginning. A new book in hand “The Weight of Ink” by Rachel Kadish jumped at me and called my name. Historical fiction it was to be. I could spend an entire day and a lot of money at Barnes and Noble, but as time was short and money well, needed to stay within budget, I wondered a little more and found a beautiful journal for my daughter for when I returned home. Time to pay and head to the next destination.
Ground Zero Memorial, a sombre and moving part of New York that I feel will forever hold so much emotion for thousands of people not just in New York, but for around the world. I didn’t get a chance to go down into the museum, but it was enough to be outside in the drizzle of rain walking around the waterfall that held the names of those whom lost their precious lives on 9/11/2001. I remember the day myself on the other side of the world in Australia where my patio was to be installed and my children were four and six years old. Lori explained the events of that day to me as she was in amongst the people on the streets when it all happened. I could feel her unease as she spoke and in her eye, so with only a short time there, we headed back to my hotel as I was to be attending a function that evening and time was definitely getting away from us. The time we had was just not near enough to sit and talk about everything, so I made a pact that I would visit again, in the near future (maybe a trip in 2018 is on the cards). With a hug goodbye and see you soon, I headed up to my room to get ready for a work function at a local bar for drinks, nibbles and conversation as this was the start to the work side of the holiday (conference). Drinks and nibbles a little conversation and it was time to head out for a feed. We found Red Lobster just near our hotel for dinner, headed up stairs to be seated and order. With a couple of tense moments in conversation and making sure others were going to eat their dinner, we could hear laughter coming from next to and behind us. Three gentlemen were tucking into their desert as we were starting on our wine and mains. We invited them to join us and the night was more relaxed and new friends were made, three young guys from Trinidad. They loved the Aussie accent and wanted to know as much a possible about Australia. With full bellies and the night coming a close time to head back to the hotel, slumber and ready for a bus trip to meet the Queen Mary 2 at the Docks to sail away to London for seven days.
Wednesday morning, waiting down in the foyer for the bus to pick us all up and head to the docks (port). On pulling into the drop off point of the port there she was, and huge stunning lady of magnificence and luxury. My first ever cruise and to be lucky to have the opportunity of sail on this majestic cruise ship was going to be an amazing adventure. Heading into the big shed to check in, boarding pass given and guided to the seating area, ready to be called in to board, the ladies calling the numbers were funny and exciting and kept the atmosphere a happy one, while we waited, which was a brief wait. Our number was called and it was time to party on board and get ready for a wonderful adventure out on the open water. Directed which deck and in which direction to go, I found my room and was introduced to my floor supervisor. I dropped my hand luggage into my room, unpacked my suitcase and made myself at home. I then headed out on to the outer decks and had a look around the ship to see where I could spend my days, pending the weather. The staff were super friendly and exceptionally helpful.
I took myself on a tour of the ship from deck 6 (my room) to deck 7 where the buffet was (yummmmm) and the Kings Court where you can sit and relax with a drink and nibbles, while looking out over the ocean. An beautiful area to relax and meet new people from all walks of life and countries. I headed out onto the outdoor deck and walked towards to the rear of the ship, finding a pool (heated), plenty of sitting room and a beautiful view of New York, before we were to disembark. There was a delay in leaving New York as we had the FBI on board doing an investigation of a previous passenger (London to New York). After approximately three hours we were informed by Captain Wells that we were to be leaving New York and on our way across the Atlantic Ocean for our destination of Southampton, London, England. So I look forward to seven nights of relaxation, good food, excellent service and much, much more.
A head, part 2 of my trip of a life time…More of Queen Mary 2 Cruise and arriving in Southampton, England.