March 03, 2004, 11:30: Sydney, Australia - Bree's house
The last flight from Tokyo to Sydney was overall much more enjoyable than the long haul from Chicago. This time, I was in a considerably cramped space, because the other two seats beside me were occupied. Tony, the guy beside me, was a good guy to talk to. He was a punk bass player from Canberra, on his way home from visiting his sick brother in London, and we got along just fine. On top of the good company, there were no screaming kids this flight. Hooray. We flew from Tokyo, right over the Pacific until we hit Australia, midway down Queensland. It was amazing how much farmland there was. Once we got a bit lower, the vegetation was quite a sight for someone so accustomed to North American life. The gum trees looked positively exotic. I'm a stranger in a foreign, yet somewhat familiar land. What particularly struck me was looking down at Sydney, seeing all the houses with their colourful tiled roofs and lots of trees everywhere. Unfortunately, I couldn't take a picture of this due to flight regulations during take off and landing, but it was quite striking. Going through immigration and customs was very painless, took less than a minute each place. After a couple of minutes at the baggage pickup, I was set free into the wild.
I met up with Bree at her house after an interesting taxi ride - driving on the left hand side of the road wasn't a big issue. There was some very nice scenery, and lots of Hungry Jack's restaurants - the equivalent of a Burger King. What makes things so interesting here is the little changes. It's not so much culture shock, I feel quite at ease here. The telephone handsets are shaped differently. The local phone numbers are only 6 digits. The water drains clockwise - I did a double - no, wait, a triple take at that. I tested it out a couple of times more. It indeed was spinning clockwise - bizarre.
After a much needed shower, I'm now relaxing and trying to recuperate from the whole transport ordeal. Today, I have no idea what to do with myself; it's kind of a write off for me. 5 hours on/off sleep in 54 hours of being up. Maybe I should get some rest.