Saturday, 06-09-2014. Day 18.
One Long Flight
Wait ... Sydney? Aren't we going to New Zealand next?
Yes, that's true. But the funny thing is, to get a good price on the ticket to Auckland, we had to go through Sydney and spend the night there. Weird, but such are the paradoxes of international travel it seems.
But first, we had to depart Santiago. Even though we spent only a short time there, we really enjoyed the city and were a bit sad to go. We plan to return someday for a longer stay.
We took a shuttle to the airport at 9:45 a.m. This was our fourth and last time through the Santiago International Airport. We cleared immigration with no issues.
International Travel Tip: If, when upon entering a country, the immigration official gives you a piece of paper, keep that piece of paper with your passport — you're probably going to need it to leave the country. We kept the one we got when we entered Chile almost by accident, and we were fortunate we did.
We were invited to board early because we had children, so we took advantage of that. And once we got on the plane, we left the Spanish language behind us for at least seven months (about when we'll visit Spain). For the next six weeks or so we will be able to communicate in English.
The flight itself was long, of course, but after our experience on the 16-hour bus ride to Costa Rica, a 14-hour plane flight is no problem. We were kept fed and hydrated (free beer!) for the entire flight. This, along with the massive selection of free in-seat movies (120 or so) and TV shows, made the time go by pretty quickly,
We crossed the International Date Line (link) at 12:30 a.m. (Sydney time), and a lot of passengers snapped pictures outside the window. The flight took us on a path a little to the south, so we were also inside the antarctic circle.
But aside from this event, the ride was unremarkable and soon enough, we were preparing for landing. We left Santiago at 1:30 in the afternoon and, after crossing eight time zones, arrived in Sydney (on Father's Day, which is observed on the first Sunday of Spring) at 6:00 at night.
To get into Australia as a citizen of the U.S., you need to acquire an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) that iselectronically attached to your passport. To clarify, the ETA is not the same thing as the free e-visitor (subclass 651), which is not available to U.S. citizens. You can obtain an ETA online for a small fee; we bought ours online for $20 (Australian) each before we went to Easter Island, so we were able to clear immigration with no trouble.
Customs, though, took a little longer. Australia is mighty serious about bio-contamination, and because we'd been in forests and jungles in Central and South America within the past 30 days, we had to answer a few questions. Nothing too serious though, and we left the airport about 7:30 p.m. and literally walked across the road to our hotel and checked in.
- Customs & Immigration forms completed: 4
- Number of in-flight meals consumed: 8