Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | November 10, 2014

Adventures on the Other Side of the World #20

Well, my adventures on the other side of the world have come to an end, and I am back in Canada, though not quite yet at home. My lovely cousin and her boyfriend are letting me stay in Vancouver with them for two nights, while I get back on the timezone and get a little more acclimatized to colder temperatures before hitting the -22C weather (or even colder!) that I’ll get back in Yellowknife.  I’ve had a lovely time, and though I’m glad to be back in my home country, I am going to miss Australia, and especially miss being on vacation.  Not working has become normalized, so being back at the office is going to take some getting used to!

I don't really have any photos from these days, so here's one of me blowing a kiss to the Sydney Opera House!

I don’t really have any photos from these days, so here’s one of me blowing a kiss to the Sydney Opera House!

I didn’t want to stress out about cramming last minute adventures into my Australia trip, so my last day was very chill.  I did get out of the house to shop for some souvenirs and explore the lanes and arcades in Melbourne’s CBD, but only for a few hours before coming back to Alexander’s to cool off (as it was up in the 30s my last day) before we went out for dinner with his friend.  We started with wine and cheese at Milk the Cow, then went to an Italian place called Rococo, then to Cold Rock for ice cream. It was a very, very good last night.

The next day it was a trip to the airport, a trip back to Alexander’s to get my coat with my house keys in it (whoops!) then back to the airport, where I checked into my flight.  I was able to check my bags in all the way to Vancouver even though I had an 18-hour layover in Beijing, so that was great. In addition to my purchases, Alexander sent Christmas gifts back for his family, some of which were bulky (but still under the customs value limit, woo!) so two big bags would be a lot to haul to and from the hotel in Beijing.

A pretty sunset picture, fitting for journey's end.

A pretty sunset picture, fitting for journey’s end.

The Melbourne business class lounge was fairly quiet, so I drank my coffee and ate some breakfast before heading to my Air China flight. The flight to Beijing went fairly smoothly, though the movies and television programs were the same as on the way over and you aren’t allowed to have your mobile (with your iTunes) on, even in airplane mode, so I made a playlist of albums on that plane and managed to sleep for about half the flight. I made the stopover in Shanghai alright, and in talking with another passenger about what we needed to do to change planes and it turns out we were staying at the same hotel in Beijing, the Crown Plaza International, and had been so knew how to get there.  That made finding the shuttle easy as pie.  It was late by the time I got to the hotel, but the room was lovely, comfortable and quiet, and I was able to get some sleep, then have a nice bath and relaxation in the morning before shuttling back to the airport.

The business class lounge in Beijing was busier than in Melbourne, but they had lots of food and drinks. I think I ate my weight in what I think was called wife cake.  Everything was pretty smooth sailing from then, even though there was a noisy child in the business class plane who kept shrieking.  I managed to sleep with a little help from a sleeping pill, ear plugs, ear phones and Chinese folk music (the only music on this particular plane), so Vancouver arrived quickly. The pods in this plane narrowed at the end, but were still pretty comfortable for me.  Then it was through customs, where the declaration cards are done through  machine by yourself, just like self-checkout in a grocery store. The rest of my visit is just family time, so I’ll leave off until the next time I travel, but I hope you enjoyed reading about my time down under… I certainly had a fun time being there!  Until next time!

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