If it seems like I only blog when I travel, well, yeah. That's about accurate.
I'm in an utterly deserted United Airways terminal (does no one fly United and/or does no one fly on Saturday afternoons?) waiting for my flight to SFO where I'll switch planes and continue on my way to a two week vacation in Australia. Do I know what I'm doing in Australia while there? No. Should I probably have planned something by now? Yeah, probably, what whatcha gonna do about it? Vacations are about escaping responsibility and it turns out that just buying a ticket was almost too much to ask of me in the first place.
To prep myself for the trip, I'm working my way through Bill Bryson's In a Sunburned Country (generously lent to me by Ann V.) which has throughly sold me on two points:
- Driving through Australia is a great way to commune with the vastness of this indescribably massive country.
- Australia is full of many wondrous ways to die, one of which I will almost certainly experience first hand.
Things learned today:
- Do not mention you work for Google to your taxi driver. It turns out that he got a Masters in Computer Science from LIU (doesn't know how to code, but likes networking) and is wondering if you can help get him a job in the industry. He was otherwise very nice and got me to the airport in record time, but he did spend an awful amount of time turned backwards talking to me about his educational experiences and reiterating that he was in the U.S. legally and had a passport (in case I was wondering). He also knows a little bit of the HTML. The one thing the exchange really impressed upon me is how amazing it is that I too got a Masters in CS without doing a lick of programming. It was great at the time, but seems so wrong in hindsight.
- The Chai latte @ Peet's Coffee is pretty terrible. Never get one.
- You need a "visa" to go to Australia for pleasure. I didn't realize this (and never checked, so clearly I'm the idiot here) and no one mentioned it to me, until the woman at the ticket counter asked me if I had one. Thankfully they (United Airlines) can issue you one instantaneously (how is this a visa!?) and it cost me $25; if you do it through the sketchy-looking Australian Government website (http://www.eta.immi.gov.au/), it'll cost you AUS$20 ~= US$18.
- NYC->SFO on a saturday afternoon might be low traffic, but apparently my SFO->SYD flight is booked up and I'm stuck with a middle seat (they refused to issue me a seat when I first bought the ticket. It was.... no comforting). Knock on wood this flight isn't going to be as painful as it sounds like it'll be.
- You can indeed refill those little travel-sized shampoo bottles with contents from their normal-sized brethren. All it takes is a steady hand and an inordinate amount of patience. Do not try to do this right before you need to head to the airport though, especially if you too suffer from whatever disease causes you to loose all sense of time while doing the most unimportant and menial tasks.
- Seriously, this chai latte is awful. Maybe it's because I don't drink these sorts of things often, but it's like burnt milk + artificial caramel flavoring. Ugh.