Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Journey

Traveler Bebe reporting here from Vancouver Island, BC!

Boy, I’ve been lots of places since I last wrote! I could write a book about it! But I won’t. You are getting the full story right here, and it’s not even copyrighted!

Packing. I got to see my cousins J. & M. lots on Monday and Tuesday. They played with me so Mommy could work and try to pack without worrying that she’d end up in the US with only one shoe out of all her pairs.

Here’s a photo of me helping pack, with underwear around my neck and Mommy’s Hawaiian shorts around my legs.
Experienced Flyer. I am an experienced traveler. We flew to Mozambique from the US when I was six weeks, and I behaved excellently! The only issue was when the Horizon Air pilot delayed takeoff from Eugene so Mommy & Daddy could change my leaky poopy diaper in the lavatory.

So Mommy was hoping for a repeat performance. But 12 months old is a whole different ballgame than 6 weeks, ya know.

The First Flight. We left for the airport around 1:30 p.m. The flight from Maputo to Johannesburg was just about right. I checked out the inflight magazine, made sure the shades and tray table worked, played puppets with the barf bag, and just when I was getting bored, we took off.

And just when I was getting bored with looking out the window, the flight attendant brought us juice and sandwiches.

And just when I was getting bored of shoving my straw into my box juice, we were landing.

So I survived the first flight – a whole hour long. Now we only had two more 10+ hour flights to go.

Now What? On to London. In Johannesburg, we found out British Airways had canceled our flight to London. I guess there weren’t enough passengers. There was a Virgin Airlines flight arriving in London 10 minutes later, so most passengers were switched there.

Typical African taxi story – Take two reasonably filled minibus taxis going to the same destination, and the drivers will transfer all passengers to one taxi and split the profit. Now there is no breathing space and people have to stick their butts out the window in order to fit.

But when Daddy tried to make the switch, there was no record of our tickets. Never mind that we had selected our seats and picked our special meals online last week.

To make a long story short, we (and our luggage) made it on the flight at the last minute – after a 4+ hour layover in Johannesburg. And I was very good and slept most of the flight, which was about 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. my time.

London Layover. We spent 5 hours at the London airport, which is a good thing or we would never have made it to the next flight in time. We had to find a bus which drove us to the other side of the airport a hundred miles away. Here I am on the bus with my monkey pack (which has a leash for a tail). Gotta carry my own weight, ya know.
And here I am shopping at Gucci. Daddy wouldn’t let me borrow his credit card, though I made a good attempt to grab at it.
After that attempt, I was tuckered out. Here I am sleeping before our final flight.
Final Flight. Our last flight was from London to Seattle. We left around 1 p.m. and arrived in Seattle around 4 p.m. Man, that was the longest three hours in my entire life! Something’s wrong with that equation!

Of course, I had no desire to sleep. I colored and cried and read stories and cried and ate and cried. I didn’t like the airplane baby seats – they are for babies – so I cried every time Mommy tried to put me in. And it was very crowded sitting with Mommy and Daddy, especially when I was trying to nurse.

And then when we landed, lots of the passengers told Mommy and Daddy what a good traveler I was.
American Soil. When we FINALLY landed, we had to go stand in a long line to get our passports checked. The computers went down, so we had to stand a really long time. And Mommy couldn’t even say her favorite “calm down” mantra: “This is Africa.” But we made it through and got our baggage without a hitch.

Food. Mommy LIKES airplane food. Maybe cuz she doesn’t have to cook it! I like it too. Everything is just my size.

And even though our special meals didn’t make it on the Virgin Airlines flight, they had vegetarian options the whole way. Yum yum.

Security. All airplane stories have to include a reference to security, Mommy says. So here’s the scoop:

My baby doll passed the security exam every time. I put her on the x-ray belt just like everything else.

In Maputo, the security alarm beeped as we went through, but they just waved us through – hakuna matata! And they didn’t mention my cup full of water or the scissors or nail clippers in our luggage. Great customer service!

In Johannesburg, they took away Daddy’s scissors.

In London, Mommy had to drink my water. They checked out Daddy’s clamps and nail clippers, but let them through.

Skateboarding. We took my skateboard with us. In Maputo, they took it away as we boarded the plane, telling us we could pick it up as we exited the plane in Johannesburg.

Of course, that wasn’t the case. Daddy had to go through immigration control and get it where the checked baggage came out.

But then I got to ride it in the airport. Good thing, cuz there were lots of references to “Boarding” all over the place. Everybody was very impressed!

Here I am by a boarding sign. That would be “Skate” boarding, right?

And they let us take it on the plane the rest of the way. In London, someone from British Airways had to come tell security that it was okay to let it through, and then I got to ride it in the airport there, too.
So we are finally here! And I have lots more to say, but we'll write about that later.


Anonymous said...

Hi sweet Esme! We miss you so much already! So glad to hear you had a safe trip to Grandpa and Grandma's - what a long trip, eh?! Have a wonderful time! Love to you and your mommy & daddy! Love all your trip photos and comments (especially skateboarding!) - it's been awhile since we traveled with one so young - sounds like you were a trooper! Love lots, Tia Susan

Sheila said...

Hey beautiful bebe! I have noticed some comments from you on my blog.
Thank you for the advice and support. 4 days without a diet Dr. pepper and I have survived. Glad that your travels have been safe.
toodles, Sheila

Wifey said...

What a wonderful adventure! Sounds like mommy and daddy behaved themselves pretty well - smiles!

Love the skateboard!

Talina said...

Ha! I love the thong around the neck, that is a priceless photo.

Sounds like you had a memorable time, can't wait to read more.