Air Travel: Days 1-2

Oddest thing about international air travel is that Feb 6, 2008 did not exist for me. Left San Fancisco at 10:30pm on the 5th, landed in Sydney at 8:30am on Feb 7.

Made it to Australia just in time for a 9 hour layover in Sydney. Tried for standby tickets to avoid this situation, but no dice. Apparently international travel is not as flexible as domestic back home. The 14 hour plane ride was surprisingly pleasant- I fully anticipated a terrible experience. Slept most of the way, woke up as the sun was coming up over the pacific, and no jet lag whatsoever. Managed to have skinny young ladies in my seating row, so no overcrowding issues there. Only hassle was losing tools- first implement (knife with no blade) at Houston, second one (leatherman with no blade) on way out of Sydney. I love air screener logic.
Screener: Can’t bring this, looks like a knife.
Me: Yeah, but it doesn’t have a blade, the blade is in the trash over yonder, I’ll buy a new blade when I get to point B.
Screener: We think you might have a blade hidden on you.
Me: You just x-rayed everything and put me through a metal detector…
Screener: Doesn’t matter.
Bottom line- my knife given to me by Jimmy Riggs is in the possession of a jealous luggage screener in Australia.

Anyway, met a fellow traveler- Ms. M as we’ll call her- also headed to Christchurch. We quickly decided a jaunt into the city would be better than sitting around the airport all day. Checked out the opera house, harbor bridge, etc. Sampled some local brews. Ms. M was on her way to NZ for a 5 week trip with a friend living out of a camper van. After taking a detour on the wrong train, we eventually made it back to the airport and on our way to New Zealand.

Made it to New Zealand around midnight. Caught the shuttle to Dr. T’s residence and called it a day. We took the bus into town the next morning, the good Dr. had to work for a while, and I had to pickup the camper van, get the cell phone working and most importantly, procure some new shades. They have blue flames on the side- pretty awesome. Need to clarify one thing for the readers of the old daily series: Dr. T of New Zealand is not the same Dr. T as frequently quoted back in the day. Their respective political views are about as opposite as possible. In fact, if they were to meet, I believe it would be like ‘matter’ contacting ‘anti-matter’- instant end of life as we know it……


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