Life as a falconer, insect systematist, and double Masters Student (or a look into the mind of someone who is questionably sane).

04 December 2011

New stamps on the passport [HRE]

2 xii 2011 .  Note- all times are central time.  I decided this was the easiest way to deal with time changes
4:17- sleeping finally.  Was up pretty late packing and such
10:59- on the way to Houston Hobby.  We stopped at Blue Baker and I got a chocolate croissant and a mango juice.
20:44- About to leave my grandpa George's house in Anaheim.  We went there for a few hours to see him and my aunt before we left and to drop off some things we weren't going to need.  Always fun seeing them, even if just for a few hours.
23:32- Sitting at LAX under the phone booth bank charging my laptop.  LAX is among my least favorite airports.  Not only are there almost no plugs, but the gates are in isolated blocks so I couldn't even go see Is and Andy who were in a different block of gates.

Lunch- didn't really have one unless you count the honey roasted peanuts (my favorite) on Southwest.  I also got the "Plane Cookies" which were animal crackers.
Dinner- We had take out Varsity (not Academy like my mom kept telling me) Burgers with my grandpa and aunt.  Mine had cheese, pickles, tomatoes, and mustard on it.  Both it and the fries were good.

Packing was  a bit of an adventure, I thought I'd forgotten the nuts for my net, went back to the apartment, gave up on finding them, then discovered they were already packed.  Apparently my mom woke up at 6 and yelled "Oh shit I forgot the passports" only to realize she hadn't, so I guess it was shaping up to be that kind of trip.  The flight to LAX was uneventful and we made it to and from Anaheim without too much trouble, although I wish we had had more time at the house, and less time sitting at the gate at LAX.  My grandpa turned the fire on and we sat around watching the news.  I guess there were 100+ mph winds in SoCal yesterday, and the power was out in some areas, they're pretty wimpy compared to Alabamans. 

Random Fact: the Santa Ana winds that came through were the strongest they had been in over a decade.  I remember them when I was a kid, but they were never that strong in Fountain Valley.

3 xii 2011
115- we've just taken off for Brisbane.  I thought we had to go to San Francisco, but apparently not.  Going to be a long flight, but luckily I can sleep on them fine.  Looks like we'll get dinner, and the entertainment selection isn't bad.
457- I'm watching the Hangover II and about to fall asleep.  Watched me some BBT and HIMYM, and played some trivia.  I did well in geopolitcal, history, and aviation.  Not so good in science (which was really famous authors of fiction novels?) and movies...
1122- I'm completely passed out.  Occasionally I woke up when my pillow moved but i was out for the rest of the flight til breakfast.
2201- We're wandering around South Bank in Brisbane.  There's a really cool bridge that goes over the river so we stood on that for a while and watched boats.  Now we're trying to find some ice cream

Dinner 1- on the plane I had beef stew, not bad for airplane food, and an Australian beer.  I love free alcohol on international flights.
Lunch- we went to a burger place in Brisbane.  I had a burger with tomatoes on a paninii roll while my parents had lamburgers.  Order of chips with tomato sauce, feels like I'm back in Swaziland.  To drink i had Pepsi with sugar
Dinner- we got take away from Red Rooster.  I had a 6 piece nugget.  Not as good as ZFKs but not bad.  I ate just before we boarded.  This flight from Brisbane to Auckland had something I'd never seen before- you had to pay for all drinks, not just alcohol. 

Random fact- Big ships have a rudder with a rudder on it.  The normal rudder is so large it wouldn't be possible to turn on its own, so there is a second small rudder that turns the larger one.

Since I'm exploring a new area I'll also include more details.  We arrived into Brisbane at 0700 local time.  Customs wasn't bad, they looked at my new boots and decided I wasn't going to bring in pests and let me through.  We caught the train to the city center, got off, then instantly got back on so we could try and find lockers at the next station (Roma Street).  Once we got a locker hired we walked to the city center, passing the city hall and Christmas tree.  We went to the Cathedral for Mass, got there about an hour before it started so wandered around some more.  There were some really cool fig trees in one of the center medians so we checked those out.  I found the Woolworths so we could stop by once it was open and get an adapter since I seem to have lost my New Zealand one.  Mass was nice, it always amazes me how its exactly the same everywhere.  They too were struggling with the new responses... After Mass we got my adapter then found a place to eat.  Then it was back to the train station where we caught the train to South Beach.  Passed by a couple cool looking boats in dry dock then stood on the bridge over the river watching boats go by.  They had a couple river boats with paddle wheels, and a bunch of smaller ferries.  One ferry seemed to go back and forth across the river.  That would get boring after a while I would think, although the other traffic on the river would be fun to watch.  I gave my parents a lecture on figs/fig wasps then we walked along the river.  I chased a few birds, and then we sat along the river while my mom took a nap on the grass.  I decided to take pictures documenting my parents sleeping across Oceania.  Then we went on a quest to find ice cream.  The first place didn't take Visa, and I wanted to save the 10 dollar bill we had cause it was blue.  So we found another place and I got a milk shake while my parents got cheese cake.  In the process we passed by Nandos (the same as in Swaziland), and a bunch of little tents selling tshirts etc.  We got a magnet with a koala on it.  My dad jokingly said he should get a tattoo of the bridge, I thought it was a good idea, my mom not so much.  Then it was back to the airport, stopping at Roma Street to retrieve our stuff.  Cleared customs no problem, and found our terminal which was basically empty and waited for our flight to board around 1800 local.  Flight to NZ was uneventful and we landed just after midnight.  Customs wasn't bad.  The passport control guy wanted to talk about the meeting, apparenlty he got his BSc in ecology.  Lots of sniffer dogs, the one in Australia was really interested in my backpack, so the lady asked if I had animals, once i said what I had she decided the dog was just having fun smelling all critters...

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