Fri Jan 16 12:55:15 PST 2009
According to the in-seat monitor, I'm approaching the equator. I'm south and a little bit east of Hawaii. There is a curiously large amount of occational turbulance. In fact, this has been one of the most turbulant flights I've taken. I had always assumed that the air 10km over the oceans was "calmer" than it is over land. And it may, in fact, be so. But not here, not tonight.
There was a meal served several hours ago, but there were no veggie option. The steward said that it had to be coded into my ticket so that it could be specially provisioned. And since it wasn't, it wasn't. (Yet another reason I'm becoming unimpressed with the quality of Sun's travel agent, American Express.) Since I'm not super strict about it, I ate the chicken and noodles, and enjoyed the Kiwi wine.
While prepping for this trip, I had wrongly assumed that New Zealand was north of Australia. (Yes yes, cue standard jeers about USians lack of geography knowledge. Bite me.), for why else would the travel agent have routed me this way, instead of just a straight shot to Sydney. Maybe it's due to some interaction of flight schedules and travel schedules.
I had originally planned to travel in lockstep with krow. He's fun company and a seasoned traveller, so when I get tired or confused, or have something else I'd rather be thinking about, all I have to do is follow him, and I won't get lost. But he has tired of the conference speaking concept in general, so clipped of a day from the start of his trip, and a couple of days off the end.
Which is ok, it's not like I'm going to a developing or BRIC country solo on a work gig. I'm travelling to a developed English speaking country, on a simple visa, to a relatively controlled artificial situation (a conference). Really, the only difference between this and my past work travel is the butt-achingly long flight, having to talk to border control people, and I don't have a client waiting for me.
What I've spent a lot of my travel time doing is reading books. Over half the weight of my shoulder bag is books, and there are several more stashed in my roller carry-on.
When I was a kid, I routinely read through over 1500+ pages a week, averaging over a book a day. I no longer read that many "books" that fast. I may do still read that much, but it's now mostly source code, tech docs, blog posts, and email.
So far, I've read three. Greg Egan's most recent novel, "Incandecence". Gladwell's most recent romp, "Outliers". And "The Starfish and the Spider", which is in same genre. All three deserve their own stand-alone review posts.
To be read are "The Black Swan", "Your Brain: The Missing Manual", and "Eat That Frog!". But not right now.
Fri Jan 16 01:32:01 PST 2009
And according the the monitor map, I've crossed the equator. This is the first time I ever have, and the farthest from "home" I've ever been.
My dad made his first trip to Australia in 1960, when he was 19. I doubt that he travelled on something as large as this 747-400. But was it as fast as this? I doubt it had the range, which meant refueling stops. I should ask him sometime.
Now, to try to sleep for a while...
Fri Jan 16 06:40:50 PST 2009
Not the best sleep I've had. We crossed the dateline while I was out, so it is now Saturday, local time. Auckland is 47 minutes away