Sunday, October 27, 2013

on the way to Merica

Hugh asked the night before we left for Seattle whether he would need a visa.

"Nah," I replied. "We're all Schengen states. We don't need visas to travel to each other's countries as tourists."

And he trusted me. Silly boy.

It turns out, I was sort of right. But also very wrong. First of all, the Schengen thing only applies to travel in Europe. Second, Australians don't need a visa to travel to the US. But they do need a visa waiver. "What's a visa waiver?" you ask. It's kinda like a visa. It's something you have to apply for and pay for, and it allows you to travel to the US for 90 days. But get this: it counts both Mexico and Canada as "the US." So if you spent 85 days in Mexico and then tried to spend 10 days in the US, you wouldn't be allowed to. I'm sorry, but since when were Mexico or Canada territories of the United States?

Anyway, luckily, you can apply at the airport and it only costs $14. Good thing we arrived early, though!

We flew Qantas, which is a pretty great airline if you can afford it. It was my first A380 journey! When I lived across from the Airbus factory in France, I got to see some of the first test flights of the A380s. They seemed to take to the air just fine, but Hugh doesn't like them. He has a fear of flying, and the larger the airplane, the more he worries that it'll fall out of the sky.

To be honest, we couldn't really tell we were on a two-story plane. The cabin felt just like any other airplane cabin (cramped, screaming children, queues for the bathroom). But the food was pretty good quality and the entertainment selection was fantastic. We watched loooots of films.

Our arrival was uneventful, and Mama, Amy, and D picked us up from the airport. It's always wonderful to be welcomed home! We introduced them to some emu and kangaroo jerky we picked up at the airport, and then we went for dinner with Pops and Michele. After dinner, even though we'd been awake for I-don't-know-how-long and the room was starting to shudder and spin around me, we met Mama, Amy, and D for cocktails in a bucket! I just can't resist them. I must find somewhere in Melbourne that serves such a thing...though it's unlikely, because Australia has rules to stop you from overdrinking and having fun.

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