A Travellerspoint blog

Still in this &%&^% airplane!

Wow is this a LONG flight! Does any one know if a 747 is capable of mid-air refueling, because it feels like we’ve been up here forever, which I know is impossible due to a simple mass/energy balance. (Nine years of engineering school, baby, and not a minute of it wasted!) It is now 13 hours in, and I think we have a couple of more. According to the little timeline on the menu they gave me, breakfast is served about three hours before landing. I just finished slurping Raisin Bran and a quite tasty little muffin, so I’m figuring we’ll land in two hours or so. To sum up, I have watched two movies, The Proposal and My Life in Ruins (which was quite cheesy and I am not at all disappointed that I didn’t see it in the theater), four episodes of Two and a Half Men, three episodes of M.A.S.H., and listened to the Eagles, Elvis, and U2 on the music channels. I will say, the in-flight entertainment is pretty comprehensive. The lady sitting beside me told me that I did, in fact, sleep through dinner, and apparently distribution of snack bags. I kept looking around and all these people were snacking on stuff out of these little bags, and I didn’t have one and I was hungry (I have grazed my way ‘round the world!), so I leaned over and asked her where she got that (you know I am not bashful where food is concerned!). That’s when my little aisle mate friend told me she put mine under my seat.! That was sweet of her! Oatmeal cookies, M&Ms, and a bottle of water.

I’ve also almost finished Robert Parker’s new book, too, bringing the to-Australia total to three. (Parker’s book is just okay--if you’re already a Spenser fan, it’s worth checking out, but don’t get it to start out your Spenser worship.) It’s also finally daylight…I didn’t realize it was physically possible to fly in the dark for that many hours, although I guess it is due to the relative motion of the sun and flying toward the date line yada yada yada. I’m sure I could find an equation and do a calculation, but I fear I am suffering brain fry. Why, I can barely remember the structural differences between Kevlar and Nomex!

I have thus far resisted the duty-free shopping, but there are several very cute things that I can always pick up on the way home (again, trying to minimize schlepping stuff all over the country)! David and I aren’t sitting together, and a couple of people who will be on our tour are sitting with him. Hopefully they are nice.

First order of business when we get to the hotel is a huge bottle of water and a shower! For a woman accustomed to showering two times a day, I am now on hour 36 of yesterday (?) morning’s shower and I am grody. Ick Ick Ick.

Posted by hidburch 10:41 Archived in Australia Tagged transportation Comments (1)

En route to Australia!

Sometime Friday, somewhere over the Pacific Ocean

I have no earthly idea what time it is right now. The computer clock say 9:00 am EDT. My watch says 6:00 am, and I haven’t changed it yet from when I set it to Pacific time. All I know is it is dark and I’m awake. The sleeping pill got me about 6 hours of fairly restful sleep--there may have been dinner served, I’m not sure. I took it as soon as I got on the plane. The menu the flight attendant handed out said something about Cadbury hot chocolate. If so, I am quite sorry I missed that, as you know my fondness for hot chocolate. Wonder if I can score a cup now?

We are on an absolutely ginormous 747, one of the ones with the upstairs cabin. Unfortunately, I am not upstairs, but in the cattle holding pen downstairs. Seriously, I am in seat 65G, with three more seats to my right (that’s 10 across, for those of you doing the math) and several rows behind me. The guy in front of my has his seat reclined, (apparently HE can sleep), so this computer is basically squished into my (thankfully) flat chest. There is a very nice American-born Chinese lady and her son sitting to my left. They too, appear to be sleeping just fine. There is just no justice.

It does not appear to have that tracking software that we had on our Japan trip that showed us how much more water we still had left to fly over. Perhaps this is a good thing, because by my calculations we still have about 8 more hours to go.

I really could use a snack….that hot chocolate would surely hit the spot right now.

Posted by hidburch 10:38 Archived in Australia Tagged transportation Comments (0)

A communist plot is afoot in Texas!

I have to say that, all things considered, I truly expected better from the Dallas Fort Worth airport. It had such potential--we landed at Gate C21 and I only had to walk to Gate C24, a huge plus since this is a multi-terminal airport with connecting buses. Given that I have a two hour layover before my flight to Los Angeles, I decided to walk around the terminal and scope it out, keeping an eagle eye out for food options. This is rather where Dallas is a dud. Wendy’s, McDee’s, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, some place called Urban Taco, a couple of frozen yogurt places, and a Haagen Dazs. Not a single scoop of Bluebell to be found anywhere in this blasted joint! What is wrong with these people?? Is there not a law that requires a Bluebell scoop shop in every airport, bus terminal, and train station in the state so that all passers-through can become indoctrinated in the ways of the one true ice cream? If not, there should be. Texans, I urge you to support an amendment to your constitution to this effect, or, barring that, start a civic uprising. It is your duty to the nation.

What DFW did have in abundance, and for which I am willing to at least consider darkening their doorstep at some point again in the future, is Diet Lipton Green Tea (citrus, of course, because, well, you know the problem with the other…) I cruised the entire C terminal (Gates C1 to C39 and back again--the walk was probably good for me) before settling on yogurt (regular, not frozen) and a chicken wrap from my old Beantown favorite, Au Bon Pan, to go with my tea. I very carefully inspected the yogurt, as several in the case were the dreaded strawberry, but detected no such vile interlopers in my pristine vanilla yogurt. It was not until I stirred in the granola that I found them (or more accurately, evidence of their presence, not unlike the slime trail left behind by a slug): blueberries! ABP defiled my yogurt with blueberries! Fortunately, they were few in number (three to be exact), and through careful mixing (at which I am literally and figuratively an expert, given my grad school expertise), I managed to avoid them and their purple slime trail. I’m saving the chicken sandwich for the plane…since my stomach has no sense of what time it is supposed to be on Bucky’s meal schedule given the rapidly shifting time zones, I must maintain a stash.

I already finished reading one book on my e-reader (love that thing:--six new books weigh in at nine ounces and take up as much room as a Reader’s Digest!): Confessions of a Closet Master Baker by Gisene Bullock-Prado. It’s a memoir of how Ms. Bullock-Prado (Sandra’s sister, by the way) left the glitz and glamour of Hollywood behind to make vacherins in Vermont, and it comes with recipes! There’s a very yummy looking one for cookies called Starry, Starry Nights that sound like amped-up chocolate macaroons. If you remind me, I will make them for you. There’s also a Devil’s Cream Pie recipe that might be worth dipping into the stash of the good stuff to churn out. (By the way, for those of you who are aware of my affinity for Christmas cookie magazines, you will be so proud that I passed up the Fine Cooking cookie and little cake special issue currently on sale at the airport newsstand. I wanted it, BAD, but couldn’t justify dragging it literally halfway around the world and back. But fear not, little campers, I’ll pick it up at O’Hare on my way home!)

Gotta go now…they are getting ready to board my flight to Los Angeles…10 minutes early no less! These American Airlines people are people after my own habitually punctual heart!

Posted by hidburch 17:22 Comments (3)

T-44 hours and counting!

It is now officially less than 48 hours until I leave for Australia, and I say I since David is leaving from Houston and he actually doesn't leave until almost 6:00 pm Central Time, just to be completely technically anally accurate about the whole thing. I can't believe it's almost here! We've had this trip planned for so long (it's actually been booked since December 30, 2008--I checked my bill from the tour company!) that it was unreal for most of that time. But I am packed (maximum allowable suitcase limit: 44 lbs. Heidi's bag: 33 lbs. Yeah baby!), have downloaded books to my digital reader, charged the geektronics, called all the pertinent financial institutions, and watered the plants. Passport, sunscreen, and clean underwear are in the bag. I think I'm good to go! Stay tuned....

Posted by hidburch 13:53 Archived in Australia Tagged preparation Comments (1)

Our Father, who art in Heaven, please don't let me puke...

One of the things David wants to do (actually, pretty much the only thing he's asked to do) is climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Don't worry, this isn't like BASE jumping--we're not sneaking up there or anything. There's a company that organizes and leads the climbs, and you are completely clipped in the whole time. However, yours truly has a not-insignificant fear of heights, particularly open heights. (I really, really don't even like to climb grating at work.) However, as much as I hate heights, I hate the thought of him going literally halfway around the world and not feeling like he can freely do the one thing he's asked to do. Plus, I hate the thought of being a coward. So I surfed my way over to the website, http://www.bridgeclimb.com, and checked it out. It turns out there's an engineering-oriented climb, called the Discovery Climb. I think the geek distraction that tour will provide, coupled with knowing how much money I've spent to do it, will get me to the top. I will not, however, climb at night!

Posted by hidburch 14:30 Archived in Australia Tagged preparation Comments (1)

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