We left the house with happy little smiles on our faces, prepared for a quick little jaunt across the South China Sea. What eventuated was not that...
We decided to take some old, out-of-date advice and hope for the best, and not take some reliable advice from one of our mates here that Exit Clearances for little expat babies could be obtained at the airport (it's something to do with people smuggling). As it turns out, our obsolete information was just that, and our mate's new information was spot on the money. Obviously trying to get the Exit Clearance at the airport was much less effort than the three day process to get it at the Bureau of Immigration, and we paid for our laziness.
Initially, the Immigration officials refused to let us take her out of the country, arguing that the process had to be followed. After about an hour of negotiating, they allowed us through because of the medical necessity of our trip. We got through, and escorted by an airline rep, were hurried through security & down to our gate to board. It would've been even better if our flight wasn't delayed 90 minutes.... So with a hungry, screechy baby on her first trip, we waited in the departure lounge, then on the plane at the gate, then on the tarmac.
Once we got airborne, though, it was a different story. Ava was a complete angel! Take-offs and landings always gave me the most intense pain in my ears as a kid, but she handled it like a champ! It goes some way to prove my theory that babies who fly a lot in utero handle flying much better when they're out utero. Also I know that's not a word.
The rest of the trip I'll write about later, but if her first plane ride is anything to go by, Ava's going to be more of a jetsetter as both of her parents combined!