Tuesday, October 11, 2005

It's a loooong way down ...

10/8/2005 2:50 PM

We have arrived at Continental’s gate 30 at SAT, after a slightly hectic morning doing all the last minute things that multiply like bunnies just before a big trip. I was a bit on edge, snapping at Amy that “there’s no time!” when we still had three hours before leaving for my folks’ house. She gave me “the look,” and went on with her packing. I eventually calmed down, but swore that “Next Time” I will be packed the night before. We are taking the minimalist route on this trip, with 1 medium sized backpack for each of us, plus a smaller bag for the laptop, cameras, etc.

We got the motorcycles parked inside the studio, the house cleaner than we’ve ever had it (pity we won’t be there to enjoy it), and the cats worshipped upon and then sworn to good behavior for the house sitters.

At noon we drove over to my parents’ ranch to park the cars inside their barn, lest we return to find them outside our house, covered in mounds of bird poop, with red wasps nesting inside the wheel wells. They plied us with ice water and fudge, then drove us to the airport.

We had desperately hoped to avoid checking any bags, lest an airline mistake leave us bagless Down Under for several days. We approached the Continental ticket counter man, and utilized our top-secret “get our way” technique. If the clerk we need help from is female, I approach and do the talking, if it’s a male, then Amy works her magic. We’ve found that we often get much happier results this way than trying same-sex transactions.

Amy’s big brown eyes worked their magic and he agreed that we wouldn’t need to check our bags. Reeeesult! After that, the security checkpoint was a breeze, albeit a stiff breeze while trying to juggle two backpacks, a purse, a daypack, and plastic trays with shoes, vest, belt, hat, etc. The San Antonio TSA screeners were extremely nice, very cheerful, and helpful to a fault. They helped us carry our stacks of gear to a table after we passed through with nary a beep.

Now, we are sitting in the waiting area, catching up on journaling, and watching the interesting characters: parading by, standing in clumps, or sitting alone, staring out the windows.

10/9/05 0832 San Antonio time.

it's 230 in morning out here in the middle of the pacific, just past papeete.

We're a bit over halfway on this seemingly interminable flight.

Houston to LAX was uneventful, and followed by a nice 15 minute walk to tom bradley international terminal in cool night air.

The line at Qantas was a shock. We had earlier wondered what to do with the two hour layover, now we aren’t sure we will check in in time.

10/11/2005 1:58 AM

Well, the jet lag is upon us. Apart from a short nap for me (courtesy of three kayaker punks in the row behind me who stayed up late to watch movies and yell “Dude!” at each other), and a longer one for Amy on the LAX to Brisbane leg, we stayed up for about 44 hours straight (8 am Saturday, San Antonio time, until 7 pm Monday, Brisbane time). I am now wide awake at two in the morning, and hoping to capture some of our impressions of our first day in Brisbane before they fade.

Passing through Immigration and Customs at Brisbane International was a breeze. The Immigration line was about sixty people long, but we passed through it in under ten minutes. We went directly to a second official in Immigration, where we were grilled about the goat poop on our shoes (long story). Anyway, the people were all courteous and friendly, and we were in the terminal proper within another ten minutes. We caught a shuttle bus to our hostel, checked in, and went to explore the city.

10/11/2005 7:06 AM

Amy checked the pedometer reading, and she says it indicated we actually walked to Australia! From the time we set foot in the SAT airport, until we crashed last night, we walked 18,847 steps, or 8.626 miles.

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