Project Pura Vida – From the Top…

Ok, lets start the story from the top before I forget some of the finer details and have to start making stuff up to keep you entertained… I have done so much yet feel like I have done nothing at all, it’s a wonderful kind of bliss to experience. So here is the experience from the start and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed living it and now writing about it.

Due to sheer exhaustion (and sleeping tablets) I slept for three quarters of my flights but still managed to meet some really interesting and like-minded people along the way. Some I never even learnt their names as our encounter was simply a few minutes lining in a queue resulting in a momentary connection.  There were others I connected with in a special kind of way and exchanged contacts to keep in touch and a few somewhere in between.

I arrived at the Brisbane International Airport early on Thursday morning 26th April courtesy of my gorgeous Aunty Libby. Over the years we have done a lot of airport runs together, some successful and some not so successful. Thankfully this was one of the successful occasions as has been the last several trips. I met only nice and helpful flight and airport staff where ever I went. When I required assistance, the people I asked went above and beyond to assist me. I guess you could say I had an awesome trip despite not all of my flights being on time and a few delays.

Ok, so it sounds like it’s all too good to be true but I have had so much fun discovering all kinds of random and interesting people along the way. Have you ever just looked at a journey as half the fun of getting to your destination? The interesting people and situations you encounter each with their own message to share. Each person enriching your life just a little more for having shared some of theirs with you, even if it’s only for a few moments in the ridiculously long line up for Star bucks coffee at the LA Airport.

I digress…

I was eating my breakfast at the Brisbane airport; you know the overpriced oily option from Hungry Jacks with a tepid coffee that is far from enjoyable. You then realise that it probably would have been better to pay the extra $2 for the healthier grilled Panini option and not been so stingy. Never mind, I justify it by thinking food hasn’t any calories when you are travelling anyway…

As I am thinking all of this I meet Dennis sitting across from me, an elderly gentleman, he is even dressed like a gentleman with his vest and tie ensemble. A widower from Brisbane, Dennis has a gentle grandfatherly nature about him and is on his way to Sydney for his 40th year school reunion. We talk candidly over a cup of coffee and breakfast about all sorts; my trip, travel, his involvement in assisting youth centres in South Africa, legalising marijuana, politics and the Australian health system. Then his flight is called and our brief and enjoyable encounter comes to an end.

Once on my flight, I am seated next to David, a tall well-dressed man in his 40’s with a feminine energy that has me questioning his persuasion. He is a teacher, happily married to his childhood sweet heart and proud father of four daughters (I’m still not convinced). The book in his hands tells me straight away his is a Christian. We chat for the entire trip from Brisbane to Sydney about education, travel, schools, family, history and all other general matter. We eventually discover we are also on the same flight to LA.

Turned out David is also a Christian minister and our conversation eventually comes around to spiritual beliefs. I was surprised at David’s reaction when I told him that I like to believe in reincarnation. I had no idea that the Christians didn’t believe in this concept and that some people were so fearful of the alternative. It didn’t take long after this part of the conversation for me to realise that David would not be seeking out my company once we disembarked this plane. For David had cast his judgment upon me based on a difference of belief because it made him uncomfortable.

I flew with V Australia and once again I was very impressed with the service, I still haven’t manifested a business class upgrade but I will have my moment. Once we left the plane, we were told another flight of five hundred passengers had just disembarked so we would have to wait. As tiresome as it is to wait in a line, it is always really interesting as well. As you either know or can tell I absolutely LOVE people watching and line ups like this really do showcase some interesting personalities and attitudes especially after thirteen hours in the air.

When I made my way to the head of the line I found myself next to David the minister, he either didn’t see me or pretended not to as he looked around the room averting me every time. This was ok, as I really didn’t have anything to say, instead I just mused about human behaviour in my head. Before I walked through the doors David was forced to make eye contact as I said my goodbye to him he gave me a genuine and warm smile and he was gone. By the time I got to the checkouts, I was waved pretty much straight through by friendly staff and finally I managed to get out of the terminal. My first point of call, an ATM machine.

What? What do you mean $47.00 on my travel card? Ok, so I might have left it a little late to transfer my money. On the upside, I mustn’t have spent all of my money from my last trip like I thought. Just enough to get by I hoped.

Once outside, the reality of carrying three really heavy suitcases and a computer bag was kicking in. I just kept imagining what it would be like to have a set of those really cool hard shiny four wheeler models I keep seeing around… I make a promise to myself, next trip I take, I will have a new travel set. Walking out of the Terminal I was pleased to have brought some warmer clothes as the day was warm and sunny, but the breeze was fresh.

By the time the courtesy shuttle to my hotel arrived it was about twelve noon and the sweetest little Mexican man came out to greet me. His name was Trini, and I had the good fortune to have him as my drivre to and from the hotel. Trini had lived in the States for thirty-eight years and still spoke with a strong accent. He was short, almost dwarfish with a hair-lip and an energy that was endearing. He was excited about bringing his father and sister to the states for a month’s holiday and was as proud as punch to be able to do this for his family.

Arriving a little early I was checked into the only available room which had a spa only to be asked not to use it. I agreed, and made my way to my room with all my bags stacked on the luggage trolley. By the time I reached my room I had made the executive decision to leave the trolley in my room unless they asked for it back. I had intended (ok, half-heartedly) to catch a bus and check out Hollywood Boulevard, looking around my room I decided to check out the 7/11 across the road instead.

I really struggle with American food, and my trip around 7/11 was fascinating and scary all at the same time. Fatigue suddenly washed over me so I bought a drink and returned to the hotel room. Switching on the telly, I flicked through what seemed like hundreds of channels or sheer rubbish and eventually settled on “Auction Houses”.  Getting comfy on the bed I just closed my eyes for a moment and…. What? 4:45pm!!! How could I possibly have slept for another 4 hours after all the sleep I had on the plane? No Hollywood Boulevard for me, might be a 7/11 dinner yet. After the world’s best shower, I opt for a frozen Mac and cheese for dinner whilst watching an omnibus of Auction House, clean and snug in my PJ’s. Life is good!

By eight thirty I am fortunately ready for sleep again, it doesn’t take me long to drift into a deep slumber once more.  Another big day of flying and travel ahead not to mention my thirty-first Birthday well at least in Australia. I managed to squeeze an extra two days out of my thirties with this trip and the leap year, pretty clever I think.

Love and Joy to you and all your families,

Until next time, Pura Vida!

Janie xo

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