Thursday, February 11, 2010, lasted for two days; maybe that makes up for December 16, 2009, that we lost on our way Down Under.
We arrived at the airport in Nadi several hours before our 2250 departure for Los Angeles. The heat and humidity kept us inside the air conditioned terminal and we spent most of the time at the snack bar where we had some food that was called “pizza.”
After checking in and clearing security, we settled into the departure lounge happily discovering that we could get on line with our iPhones via a free wireless system. We soon noticed many white-shirted security people arriving in our vicinity and soon security barricades were being stretched around the lounge. We had noticed a large white “room” in the lounge that had not been there when we passed through in December. On one side of the room were two curtained doorways labeled “Male” and “Female.” We were all herded into two lines and, when called, went through the proper doorway. Inside all of our hand luggage was pawed through, and, courtesy of the “underwear bomber” last Christmas, were given the mother of all pat downs!
The 747 was not full so no chance of sitting up stairs and getting the pseudo-business class treatment this time. RA and I usually get aisle seats across from each other and I had the center section. Only two of the four seats were occupied which made for a more comfortable journey. Nine hours and thirty minutes after take-off we were back on American soil; it always feels good to hear the immigration officer say: “Welcome home.”
A short time after checking into the hotel, a friend, Paul Snyder, picked us up to give us a little tour of some of his favorite riding roads north of LA. We first met Paul four years ago in the mountains of Idaho north of Boise. I had hit a rock in the road which split the sidewall of the front tire and dented the rim. Paul, being the good Samaritan he is, stopped to help and then got RuthAnn settled in at a pull-off while I took her bike to ride back to find a phone to call for a tow. We again saw Paul at the BMWMOA rally in Vermont a few weeks later and have kept in touch by e-mail since then. We drove up Topanga Canyon and Mulholland Drive to the Rock Store, a popular motorcycle hang out. After several more twisty roads that did remind us of NZ we headed back to LA and had a nice dinner at one of Paul’s favorite restaurants. Thanks for the tour, Paul.
Everything went smoothly the next day and we were home in Green Bay right on time. Jerry Vanden Hogen was a welcome face at the luggage carousel and took us to his home where Mo had a nice welcome home dinner of delicious soups for us. We had a great time talking about Australia and reporting back on their two sons who live there! We even called Brian (LB) and had a nice chat with him despite the bad connection.
We finally got to our house a little after 2200 and were met by our two tuxedo cats who pretended that they had not missed us at all. They were both on the bed waiting for us to crawl under the comforter and turn off the lights. All was well; the dog would make his appearance in the morning and our little family would be complete once again.