Alarming

3 04 2006

I hardly slept last night, wondering if the alarms would go off – what is it about knowing you have to be up at a certain time and so you don't sleep well all night because you don't trust that this 'foreign' alarm clock in your room will work?

The Airport Shuttle was due to pick us up at 4:45am; when it hadn't arrived by 5:00am I called a cab. Which turned up just as the Shuttle did. Oops. Had to apologise to the cab person and let them go.

We were checked in at Launceston airport all the way to LAX, so now it's a matter of the short flight to Melbourne, a 3.5 hour wait in Melbourne, then the 15 hour flight to Los Angeles.





New AFL season, 2006

3 04 2006

Game day today! Had to set the clocks back last night – very confusing when you're from a state that doesn't have daylight saving. Yes, we can see the oval from the motel room, and the day is looking good!! Clear blue skies, with hardly a cloud. And from the lack of movement in the trees outside our room, hardly a breath of wind. Excellent! Hope it stays that way for the game.

More soon…

Well, the footy was disappointing to say the least… but more on that later.

We met Suzanne and Bruce (her business partner), who'd travelled up from Hobart to see us and come to the game, and Clare (Suzanne's friend) and Richard for brunch at Aromas in Charles St, Launceston. The Deluxe Breakfast was just that – deluxe! Eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms, toast… Very yummy. Lots of chat and heaps of laughter – a very clever and witty group.

Clare had to fly to Mt Isa this afternoon so she had to give the footy a miss, which is why Bruce came along. What a lot of fun he is – highly intelligent, full of life, and very funny. No wonder he and Suzanne get along so well.

I'd received an SMS from Paul earlier to let me know the tickets were available from the Hotel Grand Chancellor where the Dockers were staying, so we stopped by there and picked them up – just as the team was boarding the bus. Couldn't see Paul – I think he was already on board, but briefly chatted to Rick Hart again, and at Reception we wished Jeff Farmer the best for his 200th game.

Where we were staying – Adina Place Motel Apartments – was walking distance from Aurora Stadium, so Bruce and Suzanne parked at the motel and we all walked down the hill. Glorious weather – sunny, blue skies, a little wind. A great day for the footy!

Found our way to our seats which were under cover – a necessity had it been windy and raining. I was SO looking forward to this first game of the season, but it was disappointing in so many ways.

While I love it when the Dockers win, I'm not fussed if they lose as long as they play with heart and passion and give it their all. Well, they didn't. The game was even at quarter time – even in score and performance – and low on both counts! There wasn't much difference by half time… in fact the game was boring to watch [did I really say that?]. In the third quarter, the Hawks took control and took advantage of the hesitant playing and inaccurate kicking by the Dockers, putting on a big lead. Hawthorn pretty much stopped playing when there was about 5 mins to go and they were 9 goals ahead. So Freo got a few quick goals from Paul at the very end but it was way too little, too late. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. But it would've been nice to have won the first one, if for no other reason than to boost the team's confidence.

After the match we adjourned to the Royal Oak Hotel up the road and had a nice 'pub grub' steak dinner each. Lots more talking and laughter, then we said goodbye to Suzanne and Bruce and headed to bed early as we have a 4:00am rise tomorrow morning for our flight to Melbourne.

It was SO nice catching up with Suzanne again – I miss her quirky, offbeat humour and her fantastic way of looking at life. And I'm so glad she brought Bruce along too – he's a lot of fun as well. They're a great pair.





Changing states, changing times

3 04 2006

Three states, three time zones, plus a daylight saving changeover to add to the confusion!

Cab charges

The taxi was right on time this morning, but we were charged a $1 pre-booking fee which I thought was a bit rough. Surely pre-booking is a certainty compared to “come and get me now” pick-ups for the cab company. It means they can plan and schedule their drivers, so why do *we* have to pay extra for the privilege?

Aussie icon

Collected a few extra packs of Vegemite from the Qantas Club lounge before the first flight of the day. They’ll be handouts to the participants in the Aussie pub crawl night at the conference in California.

Flight 1

The flight to Melbourne was delayed as the plane was late getting in. It had the headwinds of the remnants of Cyclone Glenda to deal with coming across the country. The good bit was they we had a great tailwind! The flight was fairly full. It was an Airbus A330 with a seat configuration of 2x4x2, which is much better than 3x3x3 as you only ever have one person to climb over to go to the toilet even if you’re sitting on the window.

Movie

I watched the movie “Prime” (Meryl Streep, Uma Thurman). Innocuous little thing, that I’d give 2 stars to. Of course, airlines can’t show really meaty films as they have to cater for absolutely every spectrum of the population without offending anyone.

The illusion of security

What I still can’t deal with is the illusion of security on planes. Why illusion? Because they give us plastic knives for the meal, but full size stainless steel forks, real glass for the wine, real glass mini wine bottles, and real glass salad bowls. You tell me where the security is in plastic knives when any one of those other items could cause as much damage as a metal knife. We’re not talking steak knives here, just plain ordinary dinner and bread and butter knives. If someone really wanted to threaten or hurt someone else, there’s enough on the meal tray already already to do damage. It’s bloody ridiculous!

Qantas Club

After arriving in Melbourne we had a 2 hour wait for the flight to Launceston. As I’m a member of the Qantas Club, we hung out there grazing on the finger food and availing ourselves of a nice Penfold red (Thomas Hyland, I think). Briefly chatted with Rick Hart, Chairman of the Dockers who was on the same flight over from Melbourne but was catching an earlier flight to Launceston for the game tomorrow.

New state!

The flight to Launceston (Tasmania) was pretty empty – maybe 50 people on it. Launceston is oe of those old-fashioned Aussie airports with the rollaway stairs, the walk across the tarmac, and the collection of bags direct off the cart in the outside air. No luggage carousels or jetways here! It reminded me of how Karratha airport was in the 80s.

The air was brisk (we heard 8C) and for the first time ever, we both set foot on Tasmanian soil, the only Australian state neither of us has been to before.

We caught the Airport Shuttle ($10 per person) to the motel in town, but didn’t see much as we came the back way to drop off others at various accommodation venues, and it was night! Clearn night though – could see the stars clearly out of the shuttle bus window. It seems the footy oval is only about 15 mins walk from the motel, and in the day time we’ll be able to see it from our room on the 3rd floor.

So finally we’re in the last state to be visited by us! But only for about 30 hours – and two nights of that is sleep time – so I don’t think we’ll get more than a tiny taste of Launceston and Tassie.

Tomorrow is the reason we did this detour – we catch up with my friend from Hobart (Suzanne) and her friend, then it’s off to the first Dockers game of the AFL season – yay! Can’t wait – I hope the boys play a great game, and winning it would be good too…