The flight got in about ten minutes early this morning due to west-east tail winds and I cleared customs/immigration in less than five minutes. It was astounding really. The inflight video about US border security was a horror movie but I had no trouble at all.
The flight over was great. I decided to save my upgrades for the US domestic legs, which are way uglier than the transpacific route. Luckily the girl at the check-in desk at Brisbane was a fan so she grabbed me the best economy seat on the flight, near the over wing wing exits, which gave me two metres of leg room room, and nobody in the seat next to me. Poifect!
As always there was one hideous, excrutiating moment when a fellow passenger attempted to get themselves bumped up to business or first class. A Russian in this case, mumbling some garbled shit about 'Do I need passport to go up to First"
No, you just need another twenty grand Ivan, sit the fuck down.
Had a lovely salmon salad in the Qantas Club before embarking so I skipped the in-flight meal. The Bose QC 3 headphones proved their worth by blocking out most of the engine and cabin noise, allowing me to read Iain Banks Matter and watch a couple of eps of 24, Series 1, which I'd never got around to before.
Random House had organised a limo to pick me up and take me to the hotel, which was nice, and I deployed my first tip, ten bucks to Jonathon the driver. My next tip went to Atiz the bellhop, who was from Pakistan. Keta the receptionist was from South Africa, so we blew off fifteen minutes discussing the test cricket rankings and the recent series in Oz. Was just like being at home.
I rang Professor Boylan and organised to meet him after skyping home to chat with the chillun. We went down to the markets and embarked upon a tour of the non tourist waterfront district, where me met a couple of Germans recently decamped from Noosa, and partook of crab salad. some excellent local and imported caviar and oysters and some rather nice west coast reds, which I believe Mr Flinthart had warned me against, but WTF, when in Rome.
Big props to Paul who was the perfect host and pulled out all stops. I cannot imagine anyone matching him his performance for grace and generosity today. We met some interesting folks along our travels and he deposited me back to the Palomar Hotel in good order where I discovered a complimentary fruit basket and bottle of Beaujolais waiting. courtesy of the manager. The Prof and I shall breakfast in the morning. All in all an examplary start to the tour, almost entirey due to the Prof's good graces.