It seems appropriate to begin our “travels” page with our travel from D.C. to Melbourne.  Let’s just say that when visiting us in Melbourne, by all means possible, fly first class. 

Our flight pattern was shortened by a brief stay in Bellingham, WA to visit with dad, grandma, grandpa, drew and annemarie. It was lovely to see everyone, especially grandma and grandpa, who are so well-traveled in the world one could only hope to follow in but a few of their respective footprints.  

On Wednesday (9/1) afternoon (local time), we set out from Seattle for the journey.  It would be Friday morning (local time) before we’d escape a sea of airports and airplanes.  The total flight plan included a 2.5-hour flight from Seattle to LAX, a 15-hour flight from LAX to Sydney, and a 1.5-hour flight from Sydney to Melbourne.  Needless to say, we’d not previously embarked on such a long flight and I was dreading it.  Loathing the thought, avoiding the thought, straight dreading it. 

As dad, drew and annemarie can attest, we left Bellingham chock full of carry-ons, each carrying a plethora of activities and entertainment to keep us busy during the long journey.  This included at least 8 books between the two of us (I fully intended to finish at least 2, and start on the third), two laptops, two hard drives full of files and pictures to reorganize, a 200+ page tome of materials on the Dodd-Frank bill, 7 or 8 other law firm-related work items or readings (mostly, intended for the moments when I couldn’t fall asleep without assistance), iPhones loaded with movies, TV shows, and hours of music, and beading supplies and my stockpile of beads-yet-to-be-assembled but next in the queue.  In reality, we managed to fully gorge ourselves on food and a few adult beverages, sleep for 10-12 of the 15 hours, and only finish the books we were each mostly to the end of when we boarded the flights. I actually fell asleep before the dinner service on our international leg, and almost missed my chicken l’orange and pinot noir.  Luckily, its first class, so when I awoke mid-service the flight attendant was more than happy to oblige.

At a few moments throughout the night/day (depending on your point of view), I would wake and attempt to read for a few minutes… quickly succumbing each time to the dark bed each time as quickly as the last.  I managed to complete two of my 10 to-do items during the flight–(1) finish the Tortilla Curtain, and (2) re-organize all our pictures (well, almost. two folders to go)–and this was only because at some point I forced myself awake and ordered a few rounds of coffee, determined to have something to show for 15 hours.  (Side note: after ending my long boycott of all things fiction, I’ve recently re-discovered the genre.  Tortilla Curtain offers an interesting take on the issue of immigration, juxtaposing the lives of two families:  one (American) living in sprawling home in a gated community in the hills outside L.A., the other (Mexican) camping out in the brush at the base of the hills, searching for odd-end jobs each day and trying to eek out a living.  The irony of reading about this dichotomy on my first-class flight was not lost (particularly in light of dad’s light-hearted reference to us as “yuppies” only a few days before).

(steve and I sitting in my seat, that's right, this whole space is my seat)

 This is a picture of Steve & I hanging out in my seat.  That’s right,  this is just my seat.  He’s actually sitting on my foot stool / storage area.  The seat I am sitting in reclines to a full, flat-out lie and a host of positions in between.  It had controls for the back, head, foot, angle and yes, even it even had a massage setting.  Figuring out what each button did and how to achieve the optimal comfort was a challenge in itself (control panel  for my seat below).  

The only bummer was that it was so spacious and well-contained that we couldn’t really see or talk to each other.  There were short walls around each seat, for privacy of course, and we were seated next to each other, but I actually had to reach up and over the wall and touch Steve’s arms to get his attention and talk to him… We missed each other, but since we slept most of the time it worked out ok.

In short, all hail the “cocoon” — fully reclining first class lodging rocks.