Monday, May 21, 2007

Closer to Canada

I abhor time zones. In the past week I've travelled over 20 time zones. I've also voluntarily chosen to enjoy $1 alcoholic drinks with fellow hostellers versus getting a decent night's sleep. So yah, I'm responsible for my current zombie-like existence. Oh well.

Right, so San Francisco was as brilliant as it was ten months ago. Mind you, I didn't see nearly as much of it this time round, due to lack of time and the fact that I basically just slept and drank my time away. I stayed at the Green Tortoise hostel again - it has got to be the BEST hostel I've ever been at in terms of meeting people. Of course they were all British/Irish...I can't seem to get away from them, they are everywhere.

Anyways, I left San Fran on Friday at noon, all ready for my easy peasy flight to Michigan. Nothing could equal the debacles I encountered trying to leave Sydney. Or could it? So I approach the counter and am immediately informed that my flight to Cleveland has been delayed, thus they have to reroute me in order to get me to Traverse City the same day. Well first they tell me I am flying through Chicago and won't arrive until 12.12 am. I am tired, hungover and really not impressed with all these air travel hassles, so I 'kind of' insist that there must be another way to get there earlier and indeed there is. So I find myself flying to Traverse City via Houston. The flights were pretty noneventful, I had good seat mates so spent the entire time talking when I should have been sleeping.

Yay. I am so close to the Canadian border now, I can smell the Molson. And the hockey. Anyways, since I've been shacked up in Traverse City I've spent a rather disproportionate amount of time sleeping and have completely lost my appetite. That beind said, Nathan took me to the happening Asparagus Festival in Empire, Michigan and we enjoyed an asparaugs dinner at the Lion's Club, with local wines to accompany the splendid meal.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Same Day, Another Tick

Wow. This is literally the longest day of my life. I arrived safe and sound in San Francisco today, May 16th at 10.40 am. I also left Australia today, May 16th at 2.40 pm. Crazy.

So, despite the debacles in leaving Sydney, all has gone smoothly since I last wrote a post from the Red Carpet Club lounge in Australia. Most noteably:

1. The immigration office at San Fran let me into glorious United States of America without batting an eye. I can even stay here for six whole months if I so desire.

2. The plane did not crash. Yay! Something about flights over 6 hours kind of makes me uneasy

3. I FINALLY get to tick off yet another thing on my list of 101 things to do before I die. Yep, that's right,I got upgraded to Business Class!!! Ask and you shall recieve as my friend Mr Crossman says. Only myself and two others from the cancelled flight were upgraded. I think they felt really bad about telling me I was going yesterday, then giving the other dude the last seat.The other couple got upgraded because I told them I'd asked and recieved, so they followed suit. Anyways, if there's anyone else out there like me..who was under the lovely delusion that Business Class wasn't much better than Economy..just a bit more leg room, well let me say that's precisely what it is - a delusion.

Indeed,it turns out Business Class means being spoiled from take-off to landing. With super comfortable chairs that recline to almost fla, lots and lots of leg room, individual tvs with movies, a pamper kit with toiletries and the such, as well as MUCH better food and service... Dinner was a three course affair with a choice of mains (I had salmon). Food was served on plates wwith real cutlery and glass wine glasses, which were never empty for long. Ahhh. Definitely the best flight on which to recieve an upgrade!

Well, despite the lovely seats on the plane I couldn't sleep at all - something to do witht he turbulence, my fear of crashing and the loud noise that a plane makes when flying at over 1000 kmsground speed. So I'm at the Green Tortoise hostel, I have a headache and should probably take a nap, but I'm not tired and fear wrecking my sleep schedule even more. If that's possible.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Stranded in Sydney

Oh dear. I am still in Australia thanks to United Airlines. I was pumped to go yesterday and went to the airport early to have a final lunch with Shannon Courtney the male version, but discovered upon arrival that the flight had been cancelled due to crewing issues - as in not enough of them. I was given the option of waiting on standby for a flight that would go thru L.A. or taking a hotel for the night and getting on a flight direct to SFO today. After a bit of humming and hawing I decided to go Stand By. It was down to the wire - there were not enough seats so some people volunteered to stay over but they were still two seats short for the rest of us.

IT was myself and a guy that weren't going to get on, but at the last minute they told us they had two more seats so we were going. I headed back to check-in my baggage only to hear one of the flight attendants say that one of the passengers already on the plane did not have a seat. So yeah, two of us and only one seat. I said we should flip for it but the other guy seemed to think he deserved the seat more b/c he hadn;t been home for a WHOLE three weeks. Whoa. I mean, that's nothing compared to TEN months..... ANyways, they gave him the seat because his bags were checked already. I ended up staying at the airport hotel and hanging with some Americans and a Aussie last night which was fine. Today we all headed back to the airport. We've been upgraded to Economy Plus, but I was told they'd try to get me on Business Class and am hoping that's the case. We're in the Red Carpet Club lounge write now - it's pretty nice. If I get my upgrade I'll be happy because that means I can tick off another on my list of 101 things to do before I die.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

So Long Sydney

Wow. It's really here. My last night in Australia. Lots to do in my last hours here, most noteably deal with my luggage crises (i.e. the fact that I have too many clothes and books). What can I say? It's been a wonderful ride, these past ten months. I wouldn't trade them for anything. I still am not in a place (literally) where I can write a blog post that appropriately reflects my fondness for this country, but I will be soon and so will write a wrap up then. In the meantime...

A HUGE THANK YOU to all my wonderful, generous friends in Sydney who made my last week here especially enjoyable and offered me their hospitality/help in so many ways most notably : Mary, Shannon, Amo, Lisa, Kelly, Shaz

Off I go to find my last gift for a family member then it's off to dinner in The Rocks. Tomorrow's flight is at 2.40pm, arriving in San Fran at 11.00 am same day. hilarious. DOn't worry Mom I'm almost always careful and I will email you with a phone number in case you need to call me in Michigan. But don't worry, I'll be fine.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sydney and Beyond

Just a very quick one to say I am safely back in Sydney and...get this....working in an office again!! Yep, that's right, I am so poor I've been driven to return to the corporate world for my one week layover in Sydney. It's not so bad though - it's decent money and keeps me from spending money during the day. I am working at Citibank for the rest of the week.

Also just to let you all know - I have basically no phone credit left and refuse to top up, so I am sorry Mom, but there'll not be a call on Sunday unless I find a landline but HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY and I wish I was there to celebrate it with you!
Anyone who wants to call me, however, is more than welcome.

Um..ok that's about it. I can't believe it's almost over. But it's not really. I still have three weeks in the States...maybe longer if I decide I can't bear for anyone at home to see me in my current state. Ahem.

Oz has been Ozeome and I will endeavor to write an entry that does it justice, but not right now. Right now I am going to go chill out with a movie.