On the plane to London, we thought we weren't going to have anyone next to us, but someone switched seats at the last minute to sit next to us - booooo! To add insult to injury, the lady in front of us seemed to have ebola. [In hindsight, we really hope she didn't have MERS.] We slept for the first half or so of the flight. The plane seemed to have a bit more legroom than many of the other planes, perhaps that was because there were no bars separating our respective foot areas. We landed in London around 6:40am local time. Although we were staying in Terminal 5, we were going to the A gates, which were in another area and required a tram. There was a long queue for A-gate transfers.

There was security yet again, and Justin promised Crystal he'd do his best not to get thrown in jail. Again, what's the point if you don't trust your colleagues to adequately perform security. Also, what's the point of a "transfer" - we basically did all the same stuff as if we'd left the airport and come back in. At least they didn't make us empty out the blue bag for a third time. It was over an hour from leaving plane to getting through security, which is ridiculous, and made us glad we had a long connection. We'd gotten from gate to gate on an international to domestic transfer in Kuala Lumpur - complete with going through immigraton - in 10 minutes just two years ago. Maybe we should just stick to SE Asia, South America and Australia for our international travel.

We went over to one of the pubs, hooked up to wi-fi for a bit, and then got a Pimm's Cup to take our malarone, in something that is now a bit of a tradition. We went to find our gate, and we found out they had moved it from the A-gates to one of the B-gates, i.e., where we had come from 90 minutes earlier. Thankfully the Pimm's Cup kept us from completely losing it. When we finally got to the (correct) gate, we noticed it looked like the same gate where we went from LHR to LAX last fall, when we had a 3-4 hour delay after boarding the plane. We hoped for better luck this time, and we got it.

On the flight to Los Angeles, we got a little sleep, but not much, making us think we had a good shot to get past most of the jetlag if we could just manage to stay awake until 9pm or so back at home. Crystal read and listened to podcasts, Justin watched a couple movies. We were in the middle of the middle section again, so we could get up whenever we wanted, and no one was trying to climb over us to get out. We should really book these seats more often. For our trip to Palau next year, we booked our own flights, so we should be able to just go on United's web site and hand-pick our seats.

Back at LAX, we noticed they'd completed even more of the International terminal renovations, as we had a jetway, and there were long hallways leading us to a cavernous immigration area that seemed to be 2-3x larger than before. Compared to last year, everyone was far friendlier, and everything went much faster. The line in immigration was only 5-6 people. We actually had to wait for our bags for once; usually it takes so long to get through immigration the bags are already on the carousel. We dreaded the customs line, first because Justin almost got arrested last year, second because we had a ton of stuff, even if small and inexpensive, and third because we were just tired of dealing with security, lines, etc. and wanted to get home. The customs line was 2 people, and they didn't ask us a single question, just stamped our form and wished us a good day. On the way out we saw the customs agent that threatened to arrest Justin last year, so apparently our complaint that we filed as soon as we got home didn't do much good (then again, maybe he was suspended 6 months, who knows).

It was early afternoon, and the drive back to Vista wasn't too bad. We stopped in Orange County to get lunch - for our last vacation meal we went very healthy, Popeye's fried chicken. It was great to be able to order a soda and get ice from the machine without having to worry if we could eat the ice or not. Back at home, the pups were happy to see us, especially Lola and Debo (it takes a lot, or a bowl of food, to get Omar excited).

All in all, the trip went extremely well, as good as we could have hoped for. If we had it to over again, we would have done the India part first, then gone to the Middle East, since while the stuff in Khajuraho, Agra and Jaipur was nice, it really couldn't hold a candle to the things we saw - and the frequency in which we saw them - in Jordan, Egypt, and Istanbul. So if anyone is planning on doing this exact trip, we'd recommend going basically the reverse of what we did - Jaipur, then Agra, then Khajuraho and Bandhavgarh, then Istanbul, then Jordan and Egypt. But that's a (very) minor nit on a great trip, and we're glad we did everything we did. We saw stuff from biblical times, stuff from way before biblical times, original wonders of the world, current wonders of the world, six wild tigers, and lots of people who were very happy to have American tourists visiting them. There was a ton of travel and moving around, and a lot of late nights and early mornings, but now that we're home we can get some sleep. Next year's trips to Palau and French Polynesia (separate trips) should be much, much, much more relaxed.