Friday, January 21, 2011

toronto to brisbane & first half day there.

We did not sleep well.
I took forever to get to sleep and then woke up everyone 15 minutes. God damn.
Mum didn't sleep well either.
It's currently 5.11 and we're off to catch the 5.20 airbus back to the airport.



Sitting in gate 193 waiting to board my flight to san francisco. There's no wifi here either, much to my chagrin. I mean really, how's a girl supposed to update her blog if airports have no wifi? I am in a really remote bit of it though. I'm not entirely sure what time it is either. I think I may have an hour and a half until my flight. You see, I could have sworn when I said goodbye to mum she said it was 20 until 7 and since boarding for my flight starts at 7.25 I figured I'd be golden. But now my watch/the clock by the gate/my laptop clock are all saying it's 6.15. So I really have no idea what's going on.
Anyway so far it's me and two other people waiting, in this sad corner of the airport. Right in front of me, a ways away is a small "relay" store which is selling magazines and chocolate bars and deodorant. Working in it is the most depressed looking filipino lady I've ever laid eyes on.

my little slice of heaven
Slightly behind me and to my right is a lady who looks like she hasn't let go of her cheerleading days. too-high ice blonde ponytail, ugg boots, leggings, hideous wrong-shade-of-blue purse. And she's probably around 45.
Farther behind me and farther to my right is a man, it's harder to get a look at him without being weird. Seems normal enough, though I'm sure he's got his quirks.
Glasses, dark hair, jacket, on his laptop typing away just like me.

As just as I wrote that a few people came and joined us in this little slice of heaven.
A rather large bearded man just came and sat directly behind me, but not back to back. So he's facing the back of my head. How bizarre to choose to sit there.
And now they're pouring in, which makes writing about them less fun. Plus it no longer feels like we're waiting to be interrogated for murder like it did before.
my (not very) delicious breakfast of 'banana loaf' and 'leaf tea' 
I think I might go find a bathroom now, while I still have 45 minutes until boarding. Because I'm just going to assume all three clocks are right and I misheard mum.

Actually first, let me tell you about checking in etc.
We got everyone checked in, my bag's going all the way to Brisbane which makes me happy. Then we figured out where I was going and mum helped me fill out the US immigration forms. Then we had to say goodbye, which is terrifying. I teared up a little, not going to lie. But once I was through and in line for security it got better because I just had to deal with the present moment.


I'm currently about an hour and a half into the flight to san francisco. Which left at half 9 instead of 8. Thank goodness I have a nine hour layover before flying to auckland!
Basically we boarded on time and then I quickly fell asleep since I was simply exhausted and I slept for about 15 minutes and then the cabin announcement woke me up to tell us that they're found a slightly loose screw in one of the doors into where the checked luggage is kept so they were going to check that and possibly every other screw on the plane (obviously they didn't say that, but I think that's what they did) and then we had to have the anti-ice stuff sprayed on and then we'd be golden. So I fell back asleep and woke up an hour later and we were still at the gate, just being sprayed with the ice stuff.
I slept for a little longer then watched the 1948 movie Lulu Belle, it's about a lady who bankrupted her husband with her lavish spending and then left him to become a broadway singer. It was lovely, I love old black and white movies.

Let me tell you a little about the people near me.
I'm in 26C, which is an aisle seat and there's a girl in the window, luckily no one between us. At a guess I'd say she was 23-27 but she seems young. She was clearly very uncomfortable asking me to move when she boarded and she's closed the blind on the window with annoys me a little. She also watched that movie "Legend of the Guardians", you know, the animated one about owls. The synopsis on here is "When a young owl is abducted by an evil Owl army, he must escape with new found friends to seek the legendary Guardians to stop the menace."
She just ordered coffee though, which surprised me. Milk and two sugars. A nice double double on her flight to america.

Behind me there are two people, a guy around 60 and someone who I assume is his wife but she's pretty out of it. It's super sad actually. But he's being so sweet, even when she's really confused. Like when we first got on she was trying to put her seatbelt on and he kept telling her to just stand up so he could help her because she was sitting on it and it took him a good 5 minutes to get the point across. She kept being like "what do you want me to do?" and then when she stood up she stumbled a little so I just put out my arm to steady her and she looked so surprised and she thanked me a few times and when she sat back down she said to the guy "That lovely young lady helped me!" and patted me on the shoulder.

Then across the aisle from me are two empty seats with a guy in the window, who looks like the guy who raped and murdered Suzy Salmon in movie of 'The Lovely Bones'.
Not exactly reassuring but at least I'm not alone in a wheat field with him.

And the guy in front of me leaning he chair just far enough back it's it's a bit rude. Mental. And he wasn't nice to the stewardess, so no brownie points for him.

I can't get the song San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers In Your Hair) by Scott McKenzie out of my head, what with my destination. So here you go, listen to it and it'll be like you're here with me.

I'm currently directly north of chicago, so hello to all the lovely people I know there. I'm not entirely sure how far north, I'm at a the top of whatever lake that is. Lake Erie? I'll look it up. I also have no idea what time it is. It's 11.05 am at home and 7.05 in san fran.

As I've discovered I might really be doing this blog well. It's funny because before yesterday I thought it'd be mostly photos and I'd make myself write things but it'd be a struggle and as it turns out, I was a tad off in my hypothesis. I'm really enjoying writing  about the mundane so far, hopefully the thrill while last my whole trip.

I'm thinking about watching Get Him To The Greek to pass some time. I'm not sure, I rented it and have heard very mixed reviews. I do love Russell Brand, so I'll give it a try.
Only 1,781 miles left!

there are a lot of photos of the on screen map.
Directly after I wrote that my commuter died so I wasn't able to tell you moment by moment what was going on.
I'm now about to board to my flight to New Zealand, after 7 or so hours in the san fran airport.

Before landing I watched most of The Social Network, which was mostly interesting because Jesse Eisenburg & Andrew Garfield are cute. I mean, it was ok, but nothing special.

After landing I went and 'freshened up' aka doing the least classy things on the planet; brushing ones teeth and retainer (the retainer was the only that really tipped the scale) in the airport bathroom sink. Followed by re-applying my makeup.
I always used to think people I saw doing that were ridiculous, like why wouldn't they just wait until they got wherever they were going? answer is because it could be proper ages before they get there.

my (not very) delicious lunch of cucumber sushi & bean curd/rice-y things.
I got some sushi, which was pretty bad. Sadly, since I was rather looking forward to delicious sushi not gross sushi. Have I written the word sushi enough? Sushi sushi.
Anyway, ate that then went and bought a brownie and a bottle of water. Skyped with Da & magnus (mostly magnus) for around an hour. It was really nice to talk to them. Mum wasn't home yet because she, too, was delayed in toronto.
Then I talked to Sarah a little bit, and surfed the net/read by book for about 2 hours. Went and thought I found my gate, so I came back to were I was before and got a manicure in the "Xpres-SPA" it was so bizarre. I mostly got it to kill time and luckily I had no expectations because it's not exactly amazing. It's not bad and I really like the colour but it's no perfect paintjob. Not the end of the world though.  I went back to going where I thought my gate was, found out it wasn't there and then, on my way back to find it for real I spotted Jade, just chilling. For those of you who don't know, Jade is a friend of mine from Not Back To School Camp who I haven't seen since September, both of us live across the country and neither of us had any idea the other was traveling today. It was surreal but awesome. So I chilled with her, her mother & her stepfather (both of whom were delightful) for an hour or so before their flight boarded.

I love her!

Then at half 5 I actually went and found my gate, with a little help from my friends at the Info Desk. Turns out it was on a completely different level with was not marked well, so it's lucky I gave myself so much time to find it. I'm in gate 93 now though, all safe and sound. She lady printed out my boarding pass from Auckland to Brisbane for me and confirmed that my bag has indeed been checked all the way to Australia. Sweet!

Then I took a little walk, resisted buying San Fran merch and bought myself some skittles, a chocolate bar & the newest copy of Inked Magazine instead since I just now my blood level will dip during this flight. Which is 12 hours by the way. Thankfully mum booked an aisle seat for me, but I'm in the window from NZ to Au. Which I'm ok with, it's not too long a flight and I'll have good photo opportunities since it's be daytime.

I feel kind of shitty. A little woozy and a little sick to my stomach.
Also every time I close my eyes I feel like the world's spinning.
I'm assuming it's jetlag, not some terrible illness I didn't know I had.
I think it's partly my lack of eating, I find it hard to eat in airports/on planes to all I've head today was my tea & banana bread this morning and my sushi & brownie at around 12.

In other news I've had two people tell me "how much they like my bracelet" and "how unique and awesome" my bracelet is. Which really doesn't mean anything until you're my mother or William. But for you two: HA.

I think Justin Bieber may have just walked past me, but given the lack of screaming I'm assuming it's an wanna-bieber. See what I did there?


Now about 3 hours into my flight and it's official; I am never ever flying anything but Air New Zealand again. They were friendly at the gate, a nice bearded man greeted me at the entrance to the plane with a handshake and told me where to go (it's one of those huge planes, with another three seats in a middle row), the steward asked me if I felt ok when I said I didn't want water, the food was delicious (especially since my truly amazing mother booked me a special vegetarian mean, which I was not aware of even though she probably told me. You're the bomb mother dearest!), the safety video thing involved members of All Black (rugby team) and singing. The bathrooms are lovely too. I know, that may seem a not-so-important thing and it's not too important but it's just so delightful when, after sitting down for practically ever, you go and can stretch out and not feel like you're in an upright coffin. Makes me happy anyway.
The only downside, which is admittedly a big one but has nothing to do with the airline itself, are the people I'm sitting next to.

They're an old, chubby couple and at first I was hoping they'd be awesome and tell me cool things about being old. Because really, they seemed the sort. But then that bubble was burst pretty quickly. Until we took off they played cards, but he was trying to turn so she could't see his cards to the point where his back was to me. and not he's taking up all of the arm rest and a little too much of the leg/foot space. God damn.

I watched the second Nanny McPhee movie. other than the fact that Maggie Gyllenhaal looks gorgeous it was predictable. Not that I watched it looking for a thrill.

According to the on screen flight map (another thing that is highly superior to the ones on other airlines I've been on) we have 7839 km left with is 4,870 miles. We'll be arriving in Auckland at around half four am local time. and we have 8 hours and 56 minutes left on board.

Well, I've been sleeping for the past 6ish hours. I don't know how I managed it since normally I find it so hard to sleep on planes. We're currently about to fly over Nuku'alofa and we're due in Auckland in about 2 1/2 hours.

I may have misjudged the people next to me, while they're not fantastically welcome human beings they were really polite when they had to wake me up to get past to the bathroom and sometime around 1 am or so they decided they needed some chips and offered to buy me some. So as it turns out maybe they're the the only two people in the world who get nicer and nicer the longer they're on a plane for?

I seem to have misplaced my left shoe. I mean, it's got to be under the seat in front of me or in the near vicinity but right now the lady is front of me had her seat too far back (bitch!) and it's still darkish since everyone's just starting to wake up since they're serving breakfast. Well, speak of the devil miss I-need-to-be-fully-reclining put her seat up.

I am intensely sore. All the way from the top of my neck to my tailbone is sore, so are my hip area and shoulders. I've been trying to stretch a bit, but it's not easy.

I also need a bottle of water so I can go brush my teeth after breakfast since the water's "Not Fit For Consumption". Another thing I liked, they're clear. Not that I'd drink the water from airplane bathrooms ever, but it's nice to be up front.

Sorry if I'm rambling, I'm a but out of it.

And guess what? I just crossed the International Date Line. It's Friday! Less than 2 hours of Thursday January 20th 2011 for me. I don't feel I'm conveying how exciting I find this. I really am feeling a but giddy. That might be the bag of skittles I ate before napping though.

Almost there.
But disastrous news. Not really in the big picture but seriously upsetting to me.
I have lost my favourite ring in the world, the big silver one with all the spirals that I always wear on my right ring finger.
I know I had it when I got on the flight, and I'm 96% sure I had it before I fell asleep. I just noticed it was missing a few minutes ago after I came back from the bathroom after brushing my teeth. I also put on face lotion to I thought maybe it had fallen off since my hand was slippery. But it's a pretty heavy and eye catching thing so I would thing I'd have noticed. I went back to the bathroom and checked the counter, floor and what I could see of the rubbish with no luck. I'll ask the steward before I get off in case someone gave it to them but I'm not feeling overly optimistic about it.

My hand feel so light.

Anyway, in other news, before that disaster the old people next to me, Jonathan and someone (It's like Mabel or Esther or Hazel) started asking me questions and got all friendly and it turns out they've travel 'extensively' in nova scotia (most cape breton, where I have never been) and been to bermuda and just generally think my life sounds amazing. I bet he was a teacher, he was quizzing me about my life in a teacher-y way but then seemed oddly confused when I asked where they're from.
They're off to Wellington to 'see what it's like' which is a perfectly delightful reason for going anywhere.

Only an hour and a half left, then a few hours in the airport and then, really, I get to ausralia.

Still so bummed about my ring though, I'm wearing four other that that's the one that had to go missing? god-fucking-damn.

I am officially very very far away from home.
In the auckland airport, no free wifi here either. bleb.
I just realized I don't smell that fantastic but there's nothing I can do about it so oh well.

Earlier when I had first arrived there was this girl who looked to be about my age but sounded like she was from here or australia was on the phone, bawling, saying stuff like "I don't even know where to go!" and I felt so so bad for her. It was awful. She seems to have disappeared though, so hopefully she's found her way to wherever she was trying to get to.

Another lady (this one worked in a perfume store) told me she loved my bracelet and asked where I got it. I'm officially keeping a count now. We're up to three.

My flight's on the board, we leave in 3 1/2 hours but my gate's not posted yet so I might go buy some more lipstick.
Do I really need another red lipstick? No.
Maybe I'm refrain.

I'm also going to find some food.

There are also a lot of ruddy, burly men who look like they've been playing rugby their whole life about. And they all seem to be at least 6 6 and over 300 pounds.
I feel outnumbered.

this appears to be a stuffed horse, but please, take a close look at the belly button. Which is weird in and of it self but it's get's weirder when you realized it's not furry. It's like a naked belly button. On a stuffed horse.
I didn't buy lipstick! I went and had a not-that-delicious veggie sandwich and some raspberry sorbet instead. Then I just hung around for ever since they didn't post our gate until like, 25 minutes before boarding.

there was a lot of stuff I wanted from this store.


taking off from the auckland airport.

The flight was a nightmare.
Firstly in the gate there was this girl who kept talking about how sick she was and how she was going to throw up so I had a bit of a panic attack there, but talked myself down off the wall somehow. Then there was the fact that the flight was fucking full of children. All of whom, it seemed, were screaming. Then since I forgot to request a new seat I was on the window next to someone who looked like Bliss' father in Whip It. Except he wasn't awesome at all and heavy sighed every time I moved.

somewhere slightly off australia.

I slept a bit and ate about 25 hersey's kisses. Not such a great idea but I was on the verge of tears and they made me feel a little better. Briefly. Until I started feeling ill instead.

Finally got into Brisbane and took the train to the Roma Street station with no hitches but then it took me proper agggges to find the hostel. Firstly it's blue. Not yellow like they tell you. And second it's absolutely not "in your sight" I had to walk around 7 blocks. And there were two corners! Sorry for whining, it's funny now but I was not pleased in the moment.

that rail on the left is what my train ran on and the thing on the right is a bit of the airport.

Anyway, got here, checked in fine and ended up with a top bunk with is a bumper but I'll live. Met these two girls, Daisy from Wales and Steph from St. Martin. They seem like good friends, I think they met here though.
Went a took a shower with was super amazing since I haven't changed/washed since I left Toronto.

I'm feeling a bit sick/headache-y/jetlag-y but I'm going to call Kiz to see what she's up to since I don't feel like sleeping but I also don't was to just go out by myself right now.

Now I'm going to go upstairs and put my (few) photos on the computer/come back downstairs and get all this (with the photos) onto my blog.

I'm sorry, the internet here's a bit on and off. Anyway I went and hung out with Kiz a bit but only took like 1 photo. This camera bag isn't that useful since it's such a big deal to actually get to the camera. We walked around to the West End, I think, and I got some of the biggest blisters I've ever seen. They're on the bottom of my feet and about an inch across. Awesome.
I'm going to go meet her at the market tomorrow I think, after I Skype with my wonderful family.

Anyway, I feel like I should only be saying nice things but since this is a 'real person's experience' blog I won't.
-  I really don't much like Brisbane, from what I've seen of it.
- I feel really dirty. I (yes, you can quote this. I mean it) really miss the clean Nova Scotia air right now.
- I'm homesick. I'm definitely feeling a little out of my depth. I know I can handle it, but I'm really nervous.
- hostel living kind of sucks. Everyone wants to get super drunk and party all night.
- All in all right now I'm not feeling so hot. Hopefully once I feel less like I'm still on a plane I'll feel better.


  1. what is a "comuter?" where can i find one? are they expensive? what book are you reading? what is so cool and unique about your bracelet? i am sure i will have more questions, but i figure i might as well take a break from reading this blog, scroll down, type a bit and then scroll back up to cont. reading!! very exciting stuff!! Aliki

  2. Hope you're feeling better, Signe, Nova Scotia's clean air is missing you, too, even though right now it's not so clear, in terms of being full of snowflakes and raindrops.

  3. Don't worry Signe-the beginning of a grand adventure solo is always tough-homesickness is to be expected!! It will get better-especially once you get your bearings, find some good wholesome comfort food, get over jet lag a bit and meet some non drunkards to hang with....also, a suggestion: there might be a more suited for signe hostel in brisbane. My sis in law (she's 25), in her travels, oooops====babe just spit up gotta go----Aliki

  4. she just fell asleep! sarah in her travels, stayed at a hostel/ashram type hostel, in mexico?? yeah mexico...and she loved it!
    much love,
    ohhhh-now a poopy diaper too!

  5. 1. You are awesome, and doing an awesome thing.
    2. You will forget all about your ring.
    3. That being said, can you post a photo of your bracelet and provide details? I want one.
    4. Queensland is all about going north. Get up there. Find some friends and get a mote thing and go croc and snake hunting. There are trees up there that will change your life.
    5. Also, get out on the reef.

  6. signe, i am loving your blog. and also, i so remember that kind of lonely sick homesick feeling from when i backpacked around europe at 18. there are moments like that but they become fewer and the highlights so outweigh them. you will see! what an adventure. i am so proud of you. sounds a weird thing to say, but i just remember seeing you the day you were born in london, and now - wow!
    also, i just read what kat wrote and north sounds amazing, but also if you go a couple of hours south you are in Byron Bay which is one of the coolest most beautiful places i have ever been. so..... i guess which ever way you go you can't lose. much love xx i will stay tuned.