Friday, October 23, 2015

Belgium, Pt. 1- Australian surfboard upset

A photo posted by Garth Hamilton (@garth_hamilton) on

A second round of Australian surfing just wasn't meant to be.  And to make it worse, Australian Surfboard Upset sounds more like a crowdbreaker game I'd devise for my church youth group than a respectable blog post title.  It can be hard for a youth pastor's brain to switch modes.  

Just prior to this month's Hamilton family European vacation, I had sent my parents to Australia for a few weeks.  My plan was to meet them in Sydney for a couple days, fly home to the U.S., and then bring Kathy and the kids to Europe the very next day.

In Sydney, I would do the tourist thing with my folks, visit some Aussie friends while I'm in town, and finally hit Bondi Beach for some surfing.  Australia boasts the BEST surfing I've had in my life, hands down.

Long story short, I screwed up my visa.  Everything got fixed... But after all that hassle, the flight from L.A. to Sydney was oversold anyway.  Ironically, a solid year of scoring a ton of Business Elite seats for my Delta buddy pass riders had lead to me getting stuck in L.A.

Thankfully, one of my favorite buddies Joseph saved me from an overnight stay in LAX airport by letting me crash in one of his rental houses in Hollywood. After a post-midnight nosh at In-N-Out Burger, Joseph set me up in a room so I could write my most recent blog post (see link to that previous "Salt Lake City- Delta Velvet 360" post) and get some sleep.

I'd make one last attempt to fly out to Australia the next evening.

Open air breakfast of paleo coconut pancakes and coffee in Hollywood, courtesy of Candace

None of my photos with Joseph are really worth sharing here, but my Instagram followers may remember this photo collage of my most recent Hollywood visit:

A photo posted by Garth Hamilton (@garth_hamilton) on

The next evening's L.A. flight to Sydney was also oversold, so I flew home to start our family European vacation a few days early.  Sadly, little Lena was ill when I got back.

Rather than flying to Europe early, we spent those extra few days waiting for Lena to get better.  I even stayed home on Sunday to take care of Lena, so Mommy could watch Levi in the church nursery.

Other than getting out to climb or seeing the occasional friend, most of my remaining week of Delta vacation was spent at home.

Climbing intro lesson for my friend Gwen, just to get her belay certified at Stoneworks Climbing Gym

A few days later, Mommy finally gave Lena a clean bill of health.  We scooped up Lena and Levi, hurried to PDX Airport, and loaded those little Ls on the very next departing plane.

Economy Comfort seats for all of us: That's airlinese for Fancy Coach

Coming next, after leading a NW Wilderness climb to the summit of the South Sister volcano and our thrilling scramble/ rappel down the Mystery Trail...

Belgium, Pt. 2- The story finally begins!

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