Getting To Australia

Seattle to London - Feb 14

We started our journey to London via British Airways today. Steve was sick the week before with a terrible cold, and went to see the doctor on the 5th. If you know Steve well, he doesn't go to the doctor much so it had to be something bad to get him to go. At that time, his cold was in the getting better stages, so the doctor felt he would be fine by the time the trip to Australia was going to start. The added stress and pressure at work trying to wrap everything up didn't help much, but he's feeling much better now.

April however has been sick since the 9th. Possibly due to the same cold that Steve had, but her symptoms seem (or at least sound) much worse. She went to see the doctor today, and he gave her all sorts of medication to take before flying. Decongestants, nasal unblockers and eye drops. April unfortunately has a case of congenitus (sp?), or pink eye. Actually two pink eyes! She said she looks like Frankenstein's monster earlier today - poor sicko :-( I feel so bad for her because she's all drugged up and can't get the full enjoyment of our first flight out of North America together.

Well, enough about us starting off sick, and on to what's happening on our trip of a lifetime! After packing frantically today (hope we didn't forget anything important), we were picked up by our Shuttle Express town car. That's highly worth it by the way - our driver rocked, and was able to get us to the airport just in time to see our 747 taxi into the terminal. That was a pretty cool sight to see, knowing that we'd be on that very plane in a few short hours!

After checking in and getting to our gate, we made our way up to the First Class lounge. The lounge was pretty small, but was fully stocked with all sorts of beverages and snacks. Champagne, wine, beer and soda as well as smoked salmon sandwiches, chips, cheese and crackers. Not a bad start to our journey. Both of us appreciated the quiet space we were given.

At about 6pm, we decided to board our plane. A sharp turn to the left as we entered the 747's main door, and a short walk to the front of the plane. The First Class section is certainly something to behold - not more than 14 seats in total, and today half of them empty. We have a number of attendants to help us, but for the most part Jonathan has been our main contact. Michelle, the head attendant came by a couple of times to let us know that whatever we needed she was here to provide. Well, anything within reason that is :-) Before take off, Steve and April both had a glass of some very nice champagne.

Take off was the quietest I had ever experienced. Not surprising since we were well ahead of the engines of this massive plane. It was kind of eerie actually - I'm not used to not hearing the roar of engines on take off. As my dad would say, the whole sensation was "smooth".

After take off, Jonathan came by and handed us our travel "BAg". First class passengers are provided with a bag that contains a number of travel accessories - cotton socks / eyeshade for sleeping, facial mist, eye gel, lip balm, toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash. All the things you need to feel refreshed during a long trip. The BAg is of course, ours to keep.

Next, we were asked if we would like sleeping PJs. Of course we both took them. It's nice to be able to get out of your regular clothes and into something more comfortable to sleep in. And since our seats turn into full beds, these will be very nice indeed!

Then we were handed our dinner menu. We had a choice of some great things to eat and drink:

Starters

Fresh Lobster with wasabi dressing

Aubergine lasagne with Pomodoro sauce

Old-fashioned tomato soup

Fresh salad leaves with choice of dressing


Main

Grilled fillet steak with black peppercorn butter, beans and fingerling potatoes

Chicken korma with saffron basmati rice, sauteed spinach and pine nuts

Braised lamb shank with char-grilled courgette, baby aubergine, roast garlic and olive oil mashed potatoes

Grilled salmon Nicoise salad with balsamic olive oil dressing


Snacks

Bacon roll served with tomato ketchup

Old-fashioned tomato soup with a side salad

Penne pasta with fire-roasted red pepper sauce or alfredo sauce topped with fresh Parmesan cheese

Duchy of Cornwall biscuits

A selection of cheese and fruit


Dessert and Cheese

Chocolate mousse

Warm Scottish fruit tart with whisky and topped with vanilla ice cream

Cheese plate with Westcombe Chedder, Herbed Goat or Stilton cheeses

A basket of fresh fruit Espresso, cappuccino, coffee or tea

Steve and April both had the same dinner, in italics above in the menu. We were able to have dinner together in the same booth. There's a table that opens up and a seat that faces backwards that Steve sat in. That seat is a little crampped but easily doable - not as bad as if we were in economy ;-). During dinner, Steve had a glass of some really good white wine and another glass of a chardonnay. Given that he had previously had a glass of champagne, and had taken an Advil, this led to some witty dinner conversation. Unfortunately, April made Steve stop making funny remarks for fear of causing her uncontrollable laughter, leading to uncontrollable caughing.

After dinner, Steve went back to his more comfortable surroundings and started writing up that days adventures. While everyone else in the cabin started turning their seats into completely flat beds, Steve wrote into the night. That is, until everyone else was asleep and his light was turned off by the flight crew. Time for bed - we'll write more tomorrow.

Sleeping through the night was interesting. I wasn't able to get much sleep on either side I lay on, but finally found out that sleeping on my back did the trick. The problem with sleeping on your back, or at least my problem, is that you're far more likely to snore. One thing to note for the next time you fly BA First and decide to sleep on your side - if you sleep facing the outside of the plane, you're likely to turn your overhead light on/off all night with your elbow without ever noticing! I woke up after about an hour of sleep to see April hovering over top of me and my light shinning in my face. The first words I uttered to April were, "Why did you turn my light on?" - as the words left my mouth, my brain woke from it's slumber and realized there was no way she'd be able to reach the switch so it must have been the flight crew messing with me - since I wouldn't do it to myself :-)

At about 9am London time, I decided to get up and walk around a bit. The crew was starting to make breakfast for us, and smells of morning started to fill the cabin. It was 10am by the time everyone got up and we were served our scrumptious morning fare. On the menu this morning:


Breakfast

Chilled fruit juice

Mango fruit smoothie

A selection of fruit, plain yoghurts and cereals

Fresh seasonal fruit plate

Warm breads and breakfast pastries

Scrambled eggs, grilled bacon, pork sausage, sauteed mushrooms, grilled tomato and hash browns

Cheese omelette

Pancakes with maple syrup or blueberry compote


Finally, after breakfast, we change out of our PJ's and get ready for landing in London. We're running about 45 minutes early. Something I noticed as I wrote through the night - as we crossed over Iceland we had tailwinds of 125mph! That certainly had something to do with our early arrival. When we finally got to our gate, April asked the attendants if it would be possible if we could go up to the cockpit and meet the pilots. Unfortunately, rules don't allow me to take pictures, but imagine a grin on April's face from side to side when she got to sit in the pilot's seat of a 747!



Poor sicko April - can you see the pink in her right eye?

Poor sicko April - can you see the pink in her right eye?


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