Send My Conscience Home in a Taxi

Externalised Memory

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Friggin' South Australia
Stooges Bass
Looks like another of those days where I post fifteen things in quick succession :-)

This is another of those "work trip" posts, but not as long as the last two - mostly because I'm getting a bit blaze about the whole thing. Friday was the second time this year I'd made a one-day interstate trip for work, this time it was to... South Australia.

I'll just stick to the basics this time. For starters, Work saw fit not to pop us on a plane leaving at Fuck Me! AM, which was nice. I still had to get up at 6AM, but that sure beats 4.30AM, and is only an hour earlier than my alarm goes off anyway. Note, however, that although my alarm goes off then, doesn't mean I very often get up then ;-)

Anyway, 6.30AM, I'm walking down my driveway, in my suit, carrying two friggin' heavy bags. Meet my cow-orker at the airport - after I point out we're going Qantas and coming back Virgin, not the other way around! It's weird, he'd never traveled interstate for work like this, whereas this was my... Counts in head... probably my seventh or eighth work trip. It's weird how sometimes you can go from being new to something to being an expert when you weren't really looking. Traveling great distances in a suit is no new experience for me.

We ate an alright breakfast in the airport, hopped on our Qantas plane. The novelty is still such that I got myself a window seat. We accepted the Qantas breakfast, although I didn't eat most of it. I did however collect the two tiny containers of cereal to amuse evildoom_bunny with when I got back.

Approaching Adelaide, we descended through the clouds into a whole lot of miserable weather. The forecast has said rain, but this was loads of it. We banked right over the ocean and started our landing descent... Only to be moments later ascending at a sharp angle with the engines roaring 5trr (<-- from schnitzelrug). The pilot came on (the refer to themselves as "captain") and said "As you've probably noticed we aborted our approach. There's a rainstorm over the airport and we couldn't see the runway. The plane in front of us also didn't make it down. We'll go around and try and get another landing slot. We're at 3000 feet now, we've got plenty of fuel, and we'll let you know what the plan is when we have a plan."

I've flown a reasonable amount in my time - in 2003 I was on a total of eleven flights. Not a lot, but more than the zero most people do, but I've never been on a plane that aborted it's landing. It was actually far less interesting than might be expected. We circled around a bit, and after a while I noticed the same river that I'd seen on our first approach, then some of the same buildings, and pretty soon we were making the same right-hand bank towards the runway. The Captain came on again, told us the plane before us had made it down, the showers had blown over, and he promised to get us down this time. And onto a soaking runway, in a spray of water over the wings and from the wheels he did. There was a smattering of applause from the back of the plane!

Avis gave us a car, another Hyundai, not unlike the one I drove in NSW back in January. I proceeded to get us lost in the airport - we'd got a one page map from the rental counter, and I was sure we had to go north to get out of the airport. Indeed we did, but I decided there had to be a road out from around the back. There was, eventually :-)

Adelaide is half an hour behind Melbourne, so we gained half an hour arriving there. However, going around had cost us half an hour, so we departed a little later than we'd have liked. It was close to 9.30 local time when we got out of the airport. My current favorite nerdy watch knows the time in about 40 cities, including Adelaide, so I set it to show SA time - the first time I've every used this function on said watch.

We decided to take the "scenic" route down the west side of the airport, and join what was clearly the main road south further down. This worked fine, except my cow-orker and I were chatting so much we missed the turn-off we meant to take. It also turned out he was remarkably hopeless at reading maps, turning it around to orient himself! Amusing.

Eventually we got on the road going south - called the Main South Road - till we hit the road to Victor Harbor (our ultimate destination) which was called Victor Harbor Road...

Eighty kilometres down most of South Australia took longer than we thought - close to an hour and a half. Cow-orker Jayson demonstrated his genius with maps by telling me to go right when I should go left. Lucky I pointed out to him that the next map along, the one we wanted to be on, was to the left of the map we were on, and not right! Anyway, we pretty quickly found the place - libraries have a certain look about them, especially new ones.

The problem solving that had brought us there went pretty smoothly, we worked out what was going wrong in about fifteen minutes and then spent a few hours fixing it. (For those technically inclined - the RFID readers we'd shipped them had a slightly older version of the firmware on them than the one we had in the office. This wasn't obvious until one tried to program a tag, which then failed. Once we'd upgraded their nine readers they worked great. We also pointed out that they'd installed their antenna's pointing towards the floor...)

Had a rather good pie in the main part of town. It's really disorientating traveling for a day at a time - I was convinced I was just down the coast from Wollongong. I dropped a couple of SMS's to my friend Jean who lives in Adelaide, suggesting that if she came to the airport she might get to see me for 10 minutes. In fact, if my el-cheapo company hadn't given me a non-flexible airfare, I'd have shifted to a later flight to get to see her. Ah well, next time I'll get 'em to send me back on the Saturday.

As it was, we wouldn't have had much time to catch up. We left Victor Harbor at 4.30PM for our 6.35PM flight - which seemed like plenty of time, at least when we were departing. But after we'd battled our way across half of Adelaide, the clock was ticking a liiiiiittle to close to departure time for my liking. All towns have a certain look on the edge of town - large warehouses, panel beaters, that sort of thing, a bit scruffy. That side of Adelaide all looks like that, so after a while we were convinced we'd missed the turn off to the airport, and were heading to the other side of the city. After much studying of our one-page map we recognised enough roads we were crossing to realise we were still going the right way, it was just ugly and full of hundreds of other people driving across town. Left into Sir Donald Bradman Drive, we got stuck in the worst traffic so far in the last kilometres before the airport. Agonizingly, we inched closer to the turn-off, finally heading into the airport at about 6.05 - typically when a 6.35 flight would start boarding. Dropped off the car as quick as I could, managing to leave it in gear to the confusion of the Avis lady, and we almost jogged to the Virgin terminal.

Most major cities, the flights out on a Friday night are really packed - this is the case in Sydney and Melbourne, and particularly Canberra. All the business men desperate to get home for their weekend. We ran up to the e-checkin thing, only to find we didn't have the crucial booking number we needed to work 'em, so we jogged over to the check-in desk. By some miracle we got seats together, and the smiling lady told us the flight was already boarding. So we spun through the security - one has to take things out of pockets, laptops out of bags, and in my case an RFID reader. That didn't perplex them as much as I expected, it's a metal box full of electronics... You'd think there'd be a bit of suspicion about such a think... Anyway, disgorged my pockets, went through the metal detectors without setting them off, and was delighted to discover that gate 16 was the closest and not the farthest gate. And... That our plane, far from boarding, hadn't even unloaded the people who'd just arrived on it's previous flight. Time enough for a chai from the coffee place next to the gate!

The boarding guy announced that rows 19-24 would board first, which must be a way of boarding a packed plane more efficiently. We looked at our passes, once Jayson had found his under his wallet, and discovered we were in row 23! Yay! It was already after 6.35PM by this stage. Because we were standing around, we were first in the queue. Far from missing the flight, we were the first onto the plane!

The flight was fully booked, aside from one seat. Everyone wants out of Adelaide on a Friday night. A small baby sitting right behind us started crying vigorously before the plane had even left the gate. He (she? don't know) gave every indication of getting a good long cry going, but somehow they calmed her down just before it started really, really getting on my nerves.

Read a book on the flight back. Glanced out the window over my fellow passenger, but we must have been over cloud for most of the flight. Finally, once we were descending, we could see some lights, but so devoid of landmarks, we had no idea where we were. Could have been Geelong, could have been Ballarat, we had no idea. Eventually we got low enough be see we were partly over ocean, then I quickly spotted Williamstown, the westgate bridge and the CBD. I joked that I'd have been pissed if the Opera house had swung into view.

Landed. Exited across the tarmac. Left my cow-orker to get some dinner in the airport - that shit ain't food - and caught a cab home. Time spent in taxi's: forty minutes. Time spent driving in South Australia: three hours. Time spent on planes: two hours, forty minutes. Total travel time: 6 hours, 20 minutes! We were only on site for about five hours... What a long friggin' day.

Jean, my friend in Adelaide, called soon after I got back. Next time I'll crash on her couch :-) evildoom_bunny was at her musical by this stage. She then went to a nightclub, so I was asleep by the time she got home. I'd gone to bed early Thursday night as well, while she was out performing, so Saturday morning we realised it'd been Thursday morning since we'd really seen each other. Very weird, very annoying...

Shit, I promised this would be a short entry! Damn, I'm verbose. I feel like tortoises :-P

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An old man feeling like a 17-year-old girl? What's the world coming to? :P

schnitzelrug still needs to update!

It has often been noted that my interest in Hello Kitty (and indeed Afro Ken), not to mention bubble tea and, for a while, Anime does suggest that I'm really a twelve year old Japanese's school girl in the body of a 35 year old nerd.... Which is actually a scary image now that I think about it :-P

And I'm still not sure that I can approach your daily wordage. Is that a word? Well, the spell checker passed it.... :-P

Will have a word with Schnitzel. Her daddy (me) had his main computer die on him this week, which has been rather a bother. And strangely vindicates my possession of four other working PCs :-)

Oh, well, there's nothing wrong with a bit of healthy Hello Kitty ♥. Afro Ken? What's that? The only Ken with an afro I'm aware of is the manager from Yakitate!! Japan, and obviously you're not referring to that.

... Or maybe you're just a lolipedo. ;)

My daily wordage isn't very high at the moment - my brains are all D: from having to do this stupid assignment (did you have to do these ridiculous subjects when you were at uni all those years ago?), and I've only written 400 words of it in two days. 3600 words to go, due on Friday. D:

Hmm, a 12-year-old Japanese schoolgirl in the body of a 35-year-old nerd giving birth to a kitten... that is interesting. :)

afro ken

How can you not have heard of Afro Ken??? He's a Modern Japanese Classic! :-P

When I start talking about getting a Hello Kitty tattoo, then you should worry....

Oh, now that's a cute... thingy. These Japanese cutesy things!

I'd rather a Hello Kitty guitar... even if they are pink. :3

It's a dog... With an afro... Go figure... A rainbow afro...

I think he's from one of Sanrio's competitors in the Cute Anthropomorphic Animal Market.

What you need is a Daisy Rock Guitar.

Not bad... I think I'd rather stick to a Strat or something, though.

Fark.... Even I want one of these!

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