Sunday, July 14, 2013

Chapter 1. (July 6-8) Transit

Auckland Airport
It’s the journey, not the destination….

(This aphorism was obviously penned before the days of air travel.

First leg of my journey was from Philadelphia to LA, where I stopped to have dinner with my brother Rob and his wife Jana, and from whose garage I retrieved my surf boat.  I arrived about 4 PM (after a 2 PM departure from PHL), and we went out for margaritas and Mexican food before I had to be back at the airport by 9 PM for an 11:15 departure to Auckland via Air New Zealand.

Meanwhile, I learned that three of my teammates were stuck in San Francisco when the airport closed due to the Asiana Air crash. 

There was a bit of a hassle at the airport, getting them to accept my boat.  ANZ limits the length of sports luggage to 96 inches.  My boat is 89 inches long, but in an 8 foot board bag.  They weren’t going to allow it on (even though it obviously would compress to the requisite length, until I simply tied the end of the bag up so that it conformed to the specs.  Silly.

The flight was surprisingly non-horrible.  Thirteen hours, flying through the night, but with enough legroom so that I could stretch into a comfortable sleeping position.

Three hours and a sunrise in Auckland and it was on to Brisbane, for an aggregate 32 transit hours.   My friend Boris picked me up and it was home for a shower.  I spent the afternoon wandering about Kenmore, the suburb where he and Elizabeth (a science colleague) live, and realizing that I had an inner ear infection.  Elizabeth took me to the doctor, who confirmed my diagnosis and gave me a prescription for antibiotics.  Then dinner and a soak in the hot tub, and it was time for bed.  Tomorrow I give a seminar at University of Queensland, and the Boris and I will head up to Coolum where he will install me into their beach house and where I’ll be staying.  I’ll miss the opening ceremonies, but will be there Wednesday morning for the first event, the Gath Shootout, a fun warm-up event. 

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