Uhuu, we survived, again! Bring it on, long haul flights, that now we are experts! Ok, just kidding.
When should I start from?
Let me start with the criticism, because I’m good at it.
Although everybody has a mother, even the CEO of British Airways, being a mother is not a great thing when it comes to travelling. First of all, no more upgrades for you. Neither the free ones (when they overbook the flight and they have to upgrade some few lucky passengers), nor the paid at the spot ones (when you realise that you cannot have another sleepless night seating on an uncomfortable chair with a baby screaming on your lap and desperately try to pay for an upgrade at the check in). Mr. C was travelling business (because his work paid for it) and we were going premium economy. He got an upgrade to First Class! Honestly, it would have been cheaper for BA to upgrade Laura and I to business. But, no, children/babies aren’t welcome in business or first classes. They are noisy. They disturb a potentially quiet trip. If you pay that much to travel business/first, you want to travel in peace. And if there’s something that you don’t have when you have kids is peace. I tried to buy an upgrade from Rio to London and the guy said it was fully booked. In the plane, I saw that there were at least 4 empty seats in business class. So, although I’m not 100% sure about this mum-with-babies boycott, everything leads me to believe there is.
Nevermind. The lady at the gate even said that they could try to put Mr. C next to me, in premium economy, but c’ommon, he (the company) paid for business class and will fly premium economy?? Without even getting the money back?! Plus, it’s not everyday that you have the opportunity to fly first class. First class tickets are twice the price of business class (not sure why, because I don’t believe it’s twice as better), so let’s (him) take advantage of it.
It was brilliant to have him on the same flight, it helped a lot and the trip was way easier than the trip to Rio, BUT, dear reader, if you have the option to travel with your hubbie, please arrange to go NEXT to him. Mari read on a blgog somewhere that if you are willing to pay a business class ticket to travel with your baby, it’s best to buy 2 seats in economy. I couldn’t agree more. The cot takes the space of two seats and if you are travelling alone, the airline will put you either on the window seat or in the middle. So, leaving your seat becomes a nightmare when you have someone big next to you (my case in both trips). Especially because generally whoever is next to you won’t be very happy to stand up so you can leave the seat. You will have to jump him/her (in my case, the three ways were men – very nice people I must say – next to me). I have a couple of purple bruises on my leg from bumping into the cot support.
Now the positive notes:
* I managed to watch 3 films (Mr. C watched 4, so you can see I did well): Clash of the Titans, The A Team and Date Night. I’m probably getting less critical about films, because I enjoyed the three of them. As long as it’s not a 3 hour film, I’m having fun. I guess it’s because it’s rare to be able to watch any film nowadays. Mr. C said Clash of Titans was very boring, full of cliches, etc. He is probably right, but I liked it nonetheless. I didn’t have to think during the film, if I missed something it was ok because who’s paying attention to the plot (what plot?) anyway, and I love mythology (fine, very superficial in this film). I got confused seeing Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes in the same film – I always thought that they were the same person. I watched the A Team because it was only 100-something minutes long I used to watch the TV series back in the 80’s. Mind you, apart from BA, I can’t remember a thing about the series. It was fun and time went really quick watching it. And guess what? Liam Neeson was in this film too. Or was it the other guy? Date Night was a very easy-watching comedy that made me giggle a few times and forget that I was without sleep for many many hours. Also made me scared a little bit. It’s so easy to become your husband’s best friend and only that if you’re not careful. But the film is not that good to make you question your married life or work as a wake-up call to all married couples that are too comfortable in the relationship. Especially because the film is not about that.
* I went to the loo in the first class cabin and – oooh – it’s so much nicer than the one in the poor (economy) area. Still small though.
* Laura managed to sleep a bit and was more well behaved than in the previous trip. We tried the sleepping mask and it worked (once)!! She cried a bit and was uncomfortable and (now this is me saying that, no scientific information here) claustrophobic. But I think this is normal and – probably because I knew Mr. C was there – I was more patient this time and could handle well her crying crisis.
* I took our pram this time – the base with the car seat, although I really thought about not taking it. Friend Flavinha was recently in Miami and told me that pushchairs were really cheap in the US and we could hire cars with baby car seat in it. But in our case, it was a good call to take ours, because: we had a car picking us up in LA to take us to Newport Beach and the driver didn’t know we had a baby with us, therefor he didn’t have a car seat. Newport Beach – at least were we are – doesn’t have cheap stores, just the nice boutiques, so no cheap pushchair for us. And finally, we are only renting a car for the weekends and for our last week here, when Mr. C will be on holidays. At the moment it’s just me, myself and Laura and I don’t feel like renting a car to drive around. I’m too scared. BUT it doesn’t mean that Flavinha’s suggestions aren’t good – I think they would be perfect if we were going to LA and had our car from day 1.
Not sure how the item above can be considered a positive note, but well. Now, a but of random notes:
Mr. C is not really convinced about the US being a great place for shopping – probably because the dollar is not low against the pound and because his two US experiences are NY and Newport Beach. Not the cheapest places in the US, I have to say. In his defense, I’m not sure how much cheaper things in Wal-Mart here are compared to ASDA (same store in the UK), and Toys R Us here and in the UK. I know that Apple Store prices are pretty much the same in the UK and US now. My shopping list is not so big. I just wanted to look if I could find jeans that fit me and maybe baby stuff. And boots are always welcome, if I like them. Other than that, all my items are huge – book shelves, tables… so this won’t be a shopping trip.
We arrived on a Sunday, totally jet lagged. We are 8 hours behind the UK and poor Laura was very lost with her schedule. We all went to bed at 7h30 pm but she woke up several times to feed (*) and by 4am she was wide awake. By 4.30am we were all planning our day, having shower, etc. I have to wake her up now, because she’s been sleeping for more than an hour. I guess she is thinking that it’s really 11pm, although it’s almost 3pm. Poor thing.
(*) The air in the room was quite dry, so I think she was more thirsty than hungry.
Last thing before I end this post: NEVER go on two long haul trips with your baby without at LEAST a 6 months gap in between them. In 18 years time I’ll know if it damaged Laura, but in short term it messed her sleeping routine completely and deep inside I don’t think that’s very healthy. And remember: baby’s sleeping problems = your sleeping problem.