"Yesterday" was a very long day. I'm sure I'm going to lose track of which day
is what somewhere along the line...
I had one of the best night's sleep I've had the night before I know I need to
get up early for travel. Usually I spend the whole night telling myself to
hurry up and get to sleep because I have to get up early, and thus fail to do
so and sleep terribly. I slept well, and was showered, dressed and breakfasted
before Zoe woke up naturally herself.
We were all packed up and downstairs with our luggage before Sarah arrived to
take us to the airport.
We had a comfortable amount of time at Brisbane airport waiting for our flight
down to Sydney. I haven't flown Qantas for a while, and they now have iPads in
all of the seat pockets as their in-flight entertainment. That kept Zoe nicely
amused for that flight.
In Sydney, we transited over to the International terminal without incident.
Zoe's a great size for her Trunki
now, and dragging her along on that allowed for us to cover distance at pretty
much my walking pace, which was perfect.
We got to the International terminal and cleared Customs with enough time grab
some lunch before we boarded. They were boarding a flight to LAX and DFW at
adjacent gates at roughly the same time, and in conjunction with the additional
round of document checks that they like to do for flights to the US it was
total bedlam. We got to the gate just as they were starting the pre-boarding
for people with children, so that worked out well, and we got to jump the
Zoe did absolutely fabulously for the flight from Sydney to Dallas. She watched
some movies and then went to sleep only a little bit later than her normal bed
time and pretty much slept all the way through until I had to wake her up for
breakfast, which was at about 3:30am Brisbane time. She didn't sleep again
until we got to Atlanta, but wasn't the worse for wear for it. My head cold
also didn't give me much grief. I didn't need to resort to any drugs on the
Our arrival into Dallas went pretty well. The only thing I could have done
better was figure out where the car seat had been put a bit sooner (it wasn't
put with where the signed oversize baggage was) so we burned a bit of time
finding it. They have a new electronic self-service kiosk thing for their
border control. It was pretty cool, but it still bounced us to a human for
processing. I'm not sure if it was because I had declared food, or because I
was traveling with a minor US citizen, or some combination of the above.
The US border control did a better job of handling the fact that I was
traveling on my own with a child than the Australian passport control did on
the way out. The Australian departure passport control didn't seem to care at
all that I was traveling on my own with Zoe, but the US guy wanted to know
where her mother was, and what my wife did. It wasn't until I said that she was
almost my ex-wife that he wanted to know if she knew I was traveling with Zoe,
and I produced the letter I had brought with me as a precaution. That was the
extent of the questioning I received (aside from how I planned to support
myself for my stay).
That said, even though I had planned for that level of questioning, the
interaction still left me feeling a bit unsettled. I can expect at least that
much scrutiny for any travel I do with Zoe from now on. I guess it's a good
thing, but I don't like the default assumption that I'm possibly an
international child abductor. It also left me wondering if the same level of
scrutiny would occur if Zoe was traveling with her mother, or if it was just a
We cleared immigration to then get stuck in a longish line for Quarantine,
which went fine. I had hoped that we could recheck our luggage immediately on
the other side, like I believe you can do in LAX, but that was not the case. We
had to schlepp all our luggage over to the Delta terminal on one of the
shuttles. We possibly missed a shuttle while I was figuring all this out.
By the time we got a shuttle and got to the right terminal, we'd just
missed the bag check deadline for our flight, so we had to get bumped from the
3:45pm flight to the 5pm one. It wasn't a big deal, but it delayed our pick up
in Atlanta, and made for a longer day of traveling. Delta was really nice and
waived all the baggage fees though, since we were coming from an international
flight. That was nice.
That said, it did give us a more leisurely time in the terminal in Dallas. I
had time to call Chris and Briana and let them know of our delay, and get Zoe
something to eat.
The flight from Dallas to Atlanta was uneventful. Zoe entertained herself with
her tablet on the flight.
When we arrived in Atlanta, Zoe remembered the inter-terminal train from her
last trip with Sarah. We collected our luggage and rendezvoused with Chris on
We had a hasty dinner and Briana gave Zoe a bath for me, and I put her to bed,
and went to bed not long after her. It ended up being a mammoth day, in the
order of about 32 hours door to door. I was so incredibly impressed with how
well Zoe handled it all. Not one single meltdown. The only time she was really
sad was briefly when she managed to overbalance on the chairs in the Sydney
International terminal just before we boarded our flight, and landed on her
head, all while I was putting our passports away and not watching her.