One more sleep!

31 03 2006

We're off in the morning, so there's one more sleep to go! The taxi is booked to pick us up at 8am, and the first flight of the trip departs for Melbourne around 10am. After some frantic arranging and rearranging (by me… my LP always has far less to pack or think about for these trips than me!), checking of lists, making sure all the conference presentation information I need is stored on various media (CD, thumb drive, laptop, plus printed copies) and that those media are scattered across the checked luggage and the carry-ons, making sure I have all the documents we'll need – hotel and rental car reservations, maps to the various destinations, as well as the obvious passports, insurance docs, and itinerary, we're ready!

Suitcases are by the door, reading matter and Sudokus for the flights are all printed out and in the carry-on, and the laptop and peripherals are neatly stowed in their little compartments.

Of course, we'll get to the airport in the morning and the officious people who check the hand luggage will insist that I take the laptop out of its padded sleeve inside the laptop bag (at least they don't want us to remove the batteries these days – I never did get that one). And they have a small 'repacking' table that isn't big enough for two people, and there'll be about five people all struggling with their laptops and bags and trying to get them back in and up the stairs/escalator to the departure lounge, all the while trying to juggle their coats/jackets/handbags/day packs as well. Oh, and if you get lucky you get to take you shoes off too! Which means you have to put them back on again all the while feeling as though you're some sort of pack horse whose load has loosened… Ah, the joys of airports…

And we've only got to do this nine times this trip (Perth, Melbourne, Launceston [in and out], Melbourne again, Los Angeles [in and out], Chicago, LA again, Sydney, Cairns [in and out] and then Perth). Sort of takes the shine off. Maybe one day they'll invent one of those teleporters the Star Trek people used to use.

Mmmm… Indian tucker!

30 03 2006

We decided to get our last 'fix' of Indian food last night, at a little restaurant in South Perth called the Suriyen (Meadowvale Shopping Centre, 298 Mill Point Rd [9367 3809] for the locals). We know it'll be at least 5 or 6 weeks before we can get any decent Indian food – our previous experiences in the US have confirmed that they do great SouthWest/Tex-Mex but horrible Indian!

As usual they were doing a good trade in takeaways, but we were the only people in the restaurant. Such a shame – this place has GREAT food, friendly waiters, and good prices. But it's rare that we've seen it full. It opens 7 nights a week, so it must be a real strain for the owners to keep going.

Back to the food – our favourites are the Chilli Chicken Dry (hot) and the Beef Vindaloo (also hot); the Goat Curry is pretty darned good too. Served with Kashmiri Pilau and Cheese Naan it's food that we can – and do – eat often!

We're already looking forward to returning for our Indian 'fix' the first few days we're back from the trip.

(BTW, "tucker" is Aussie slang for "food")

Confession: I’m a football tragic!

29 03 2006

I've got to confess – after three years of following the Fremantle Dockers, I've become a footy tragic! I'm not as bad as some, but I'm getting there. Evidence to support this addiction:

  • We're detouring to Launceston, Tasmania this weekend on our way to the US – just so I can see the Dockers play Hawthorn in the opening game of the 2006 season. This is no small feat – extra flights (and associated expense and airport 'hang around' time), 2 nights accommodation, shuttle bus fares. And my LP doesn't even follow footy much – let alone the Dockers!
  • I've organised our flights home so that we don't arrive in the middle of the Dockers/West Coast Eagles derby! We are now catching the red eye from Cairns to Perth arriving at some ungodly hour of the morning, just so I can go to the game that afternoon.
  • I became a member 3 years ago.
  • I take pride in wearing a Dockers scarf – I'll probably even wear it on the flights and in the colder parts of the US using the excuse of "It's great for keeping my neck warm". I'm really just hoping someone will ask about the logo, then I can explain who the Dockers are!
  • And I'm REALLY looking forward to the season and going to the home games with my nieces and nephews (we all sit together).

I don't what it is about going to the game – it's just SO different from watching it on TV (and yes, I'll watch the game on TV later that night if they win… more evidence of a football tragic). There's something cathartic about yelling and screaming, and going through the highs and lows of rollercoaster emotions – and boy, do the Dockers ever put you through the emotional wringer… every game! There's not a lot of opportunity in day-to-day living where you get a chance to be emotional like that… except perhaps in the privacy of the car when you yell and shout at the driver who just cut you off.

So, bring on the 2006 season – and may the Dockers fulfil all the potential they've shown us over the past few years and make the Finals in September. (and Paul – kick a bag of goals this year, huh?)

Online meetings – gotta love ’em!

28 03 2006

I'm on a committee that meets once a month using chat software – we're scattered across Australia so face-to-face meetings aren't practical on a monthly basis, though we do try and do a face-to-face once a year. When I first joined the committee a few years ago, I thought that it was the chat software that made the 'conversations' so rambling… Then I went to the first face-to-face meeting 2 years ago and realised that it was the PEOPLE not the medium. And last year's face-to-face meeting only served to cement that view… and tonight's meeting also. <sigh> Lovely people, all of them, but rambling meetings…

Diving in at the deep end…

28 03 2006

OK, I've decided to take the plunge and set up a blog. Everyone else seems to be doing it, and as we're leaving on a 5 week overseas trip on Saturday, it seemed like the ideal opportunity. Usually when I travel I jot down notes about places, people, quirky things, etc. on scraps of paper or in an electronic document, but never seem to get them out later for anyone else to read – sometimes I don't even re-read them myself!

So this is the start… I've called the site "At Random" because I have no intention of trying to write something every day. The novelty may wear off very quickly, and I don't want to disappoint anyone – least of all myself. No point setting a goal that's so unrealistic that it's unattainable. That's not to say don't set high goals; just temper them with a reality check of what is REALLY do-able.

Oh, and the red pen at the top? It was a standard template on WordPress' site, but as I get paid to edit as well as write, it seemed appropriate. (And I just realised that it will fit with Gretchen's theme of "The Year in Red"!)