Monday, March 28, 2011

The Travel Side plus the Great Barrier Reef

First, the Great Barrier Reef is still the most amazing "wonder of the world" I have ever seen. It ruins all future snorkeling forever.  And Hamilton Island is one of the best ways to do the reef.  Pouring rain for part of the time there, including getting to the airplane (we were soaked when we finally got onboard), but still as amazing as I remembered it. Cue the slideshow.

Dan Fogelberg, in his song "Same Auld Lang Syne," said about his career that "the audience was heavenly but the traveling was hell."  That also describes this journey.  Indeed, the destinations are heavenly, but the travel part is hell.

I don't know how anybody did this pre electronics.  Thankfully, bad parents though we sometimes feel, the boys can spend hours and hours on airplanes as long as they have the Ipod Touches and/or the Laptops.
A Gadget for All on the Airplane
However, it also makes things much more complicated.  We are constantly trying to keep track of all of our equipment, and we have already lost or broken the following:

1. Micah's MP3 player (lost)
2. Jonah's battery extender (broken)
3. One of our two Kindles (broken)
4. Two of our suitcases (still useable, but one ripped and the other's rollable handle doesn't work).
5. Ipod Touch Case (lost)
6. Slingbox (something that allows us to watch our home DVR and TV), though through our tenant's help, it still works).

Obviously, none of these represent any great tragedy, but they are annoying and stress-inducing.  And this is just for Fiji/Australia, the easy, familiar part of our trip!

Another modern problem is keeping our suitcases within the weight limits, which can be as low as 40 lbs. on some of our flights.  When you're traveling for 5 months, that's pretty hard to do, and it requires a constant moving around of objects to make each suitcase work.  We can't just each have our own and put our stuff in it, or some would be too heavy.  So it takes much longer to pack in each place than you might think.

Despite Yelp, Trip Advisor, and other sites, some hotels do not work out.  The Hotel Formule One in Sydney by the airport is one such example.  We stay in "budget" accomodations in lots of places, but not only is this the sparsest room ever (no closet or dressers and a bathroom where the shower is the bathroom like in a motor home).  But the worst part is the lack of amenities.  Even though it is only a 10 minute walk to the airport, with luggage you have to take a shuttle, which is $6 per person.  Plus we couldn't store our luggage there, even though we were staying there twice (both before and after Hamilton Island), so they make you rent lockers, and I ripped one of the suitcases trying to get it in the locker. 

Still, who am I to complain?  That's part of the travel adventure.  And worth it when considering those three magic words:  "Great Barrier Reef."

Now, off to China, where the real adventure begins. 

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