Surprise! I'm in Australia! So you might be wondering why I'm here. First it was a bit of a secret as to why I was coming, though if you knew I was traveling on vacation and put two and two together you might have guessed that I was visiting Anson on a port call. If you guessed that then you guessed right.
Brisbane is the first port call that Anson's carrier, the USS George Washington, has made on it's tour so far. Tomorrow there is going to be Australian news coverage on their arrival and a ceremony as well. All sorts of welcoming events. I'm just happy my sailor is here!
I began this little secretive adventure, yesterday, on the 27th of July. To get to the Narita airport where we live in Japan takes about 2 hours total by train with usually 1 or 2 train switches. I caught the very nice NEX (Narita Express) JR train from Shinagawa in Tokyo. When my dad was visiting a few weeks ago this was the train we returned to the airport on as well so I got a chance to try it out before this trip. Checking in and screening was no big deal. I travel light and with one free checked bag I only had a small backpack and purse with my valuables in it. After so much US travel it was a refreshing change to only have to go through a metal detector and not the full body scanner that most US airports now use.
First flight was from Narita to Seoul Korea. Not really anything worth mentioning, just a nice short, quiet flight.
My layover in Korea was a bit long. Roughly 4 hours. We were sort of greeted with a little procession of traditionally dressed Koreans. They were preforming at one of their little cultural centers they have set up for tourism and learning. Quite a fantastic idea I think. There you can paint masks or fans, sit in a tatami room and watch a slide about their culture. A great way to spend a layover if you have kids. The rest of the airport was packed with all kinds of duty free shopping. Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton were just a few of the stores there. Sadly with all the upscale shopping it felt like there was a lack of food options. I had drink from a Starbucks and did a lot of walking for the exercise and entertainment. The airport is thankfully quite extensive.
The next flight was 9 hours I think. An overnight flight with two meals. It certainly has been quite a long time since I've been on any flight that served meals or gave out slippers and tooth brushes.
First stop in Australia was to get a phone at the airport Vodafone kiosk, and next, to exchange my yen for Aussie dollars. My flight got in early, I was at the hotel by 9 AM, so after leaving my bag at the hotel front desk I did a bit of wandering in the city. Brisbane is beautiful. Our hotel looks over the Story Bridge, a rather picturesque steel bridge that nicely frames the tall downtown buildings behind it if you're on the far bank. Here is the balcony view.
Just a short walk down the riverwalk that runs the length of the river area in downtown is where I took this next photo. Some of the tall office or apartment buildings that line the river. This path was full of all kinds of runners and bikers when I arrived. I never felt so unfit being the only one to not be jogging.