We made it to AUSTRALIA!!
This blog comes to you from Brisbane Australia! We ended up flying out of LAX airport, so we drove with Shannon's parents from Kingman Arizona to San Diego California, and stayed with relatives there for the 2 days prior to the flight. This gave us a chance to relax in CA after the long drive, which turned out to be an awesome idea. Our direct flight from LAX to Brisbane was not bad at all, since we took off at midnight, and were able to sleep a bit during the 13-hour flight, plus they had free in-flight entertainment (you could pick what TV show or movie you wanted to watch). We were a little apprehensive landing in Brisbane, but it couldn't have been easier - we were directed to a little-used kiosk to do an auto-scan of our passports, which meant we could bypass the huge line and use the automated passport picture live scan machines. We then attempted to go through the Customs Declaration line, since we had some medical prescriptions and bamboo utensils, but they spoke to us for about 30 seconds and then told us we could bypass customs and exit. :o)
We are now at our motel, which is in Wynnum, a beautiful neighborhood along the waterfront. We landed so early in the morning that our motel room wasn't ready, but they let us leave all of our luggage there and we took a long walk while we waited for it to be ready. In the span of an hour we saw pelicans, lorikeets, penguins, huge orb weaver spiders, and a colony of bats roosting in the trees! Everything is just so different from what we are used to, and even though it is supposedly winter here, the sun is out and it is warm enough to wear shorts and t-shirts. For people who suffered through near-constant winter rain and gloom in Washington it is an ideal winter environment.
Tomorrow we go to the shipping offices to make sure all of the paperwork is complete, and check on when they think Reggie will be available for pick-up. Everything else is going really well, and we were surprised how easy it was to purchase an Australian SIM card for our iPhone (Woolworth's), which gives us telephony here in Australia, at a much cheaper price than we are used to in America. Many thanks to Paul, who we met on Instagram, and who met up with us today in person to answer all of our crazy questions about Australia. :o)