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We set off on our first 11 hour flight – Heathrow to LA. The movie “The Way” was listed which I was excited about as I’d been wanting to watch it and thought it appropriate. It stars Martin Sheen, is directed by Emilio Estevez and is all about walking the Camino de Santiago – an age old pilgramage from France over the Pyrenees to Spain. Not that I particularly fancy it myself, but lots of backpackers do it, so it seemed appropriate at the beginning of our adventure. Great film, and managed to fit in another 3 or 4 to help the time go – but I had to draw the line at “Cowboys and Aliens” which even Mark thought was dreadful. I always try not to watch the route map which shows where you are on the journey and was rather disconcerted that they had it up on the main screen through out the journey so it was difficult to not glimpse it, only to realise we hadn’t even reached Canada.
Still, we made it through that first flight and got to LAX for our 6 hour stint at the airport before catching flight number 2 onto Fiji.
We had thought this would give us some time to sit quietly in some airport corner, get some wifi and re-cuperate before boarding the next plane.
After coming right out of customs etc to move to the other terminal, we were slightly miffed to realise we couldn’t go straight through even though we had no bags to check. We had to line up with everyone else. The queue wasn’t moving and it seemed checkin didn’t start for an hour or so, so
we decided to grab a bite to eat and mark opened his cards as UK time had ticked over into his birthday (it was never actually the 7th in any of the countries we were in though, which was a bit odd). After our meal we headed back to the check in for Air Pacific and to our horror the queue had grown huge and was looped right around the airport. When it eventually did move, the pace was slow, to say the least. We were there for a good hour which was not the most fun after a previous 11 hour flight – we were a little wobbly by this point. We passed the time chatting to a lovely girl from New Zealand who had been living in Vancouver and was travelling back to New Zealand to get her UK visa to go live there for a while. I tried not to question why on earth she would want to go at this time of year. We also met an impressive lady from bexhill, in her 60s, who had travelled to the US on a cargo ship for 30 days, in apparent terrible sailing conditions, had spent some time in Los Angeles and was now off to further her adventure in Fiji – all on her own. As I say – impressive lady!!! Both these women re-assured me that we were definitely doing the right thing.
I won’t go into details of the second flight and the hour and a half delay, most of which was spent on the plane. Lets just say we tried to sleep through as much as possible but the flight was trying and by this point it felt like the journey would never end.
I will never again book 2 long flights like that in one stint – at least one nights sleep in between is a must. We were like vegetables when we reached Fiji and a long wait in baggage reclaim and another wait for the other passengers on our airport transport pretty much had us dribbling and rocking. Driving to our first hostel I could, however, see how beautiful Fiji was and was looking forward to having my senses back to appreciate it.
First hostel was pretty basic but really chilled and relaxed. I experienced my first cockroach (dead at least) and first cold shower – neither of which bothered me so I figured I was going to be ok!