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Well, that was one of the most civilised and enjoyable Pacific crossings I can remember. I left early, and to be honest with too little sleep, on Monday morning. Flew across to Sydney on an uneventful flight, and then spent a lovely, relaxed 24 hours with Terry Dowling. We just pottered around a bit, had dinner, and breakfast and took it easy – which was very much what I needed. Terry was a wonderful host, and gave me a great start to the trip.

He dropped me off at the Sydney airport’s international departures (after I gave him some dodgy traffic advice), and I went to check in. Things immediately began to look good for the trip, when the very helpful Qantas check-in staff not only moved me to an aisle seat with two empty seats, but then blocked those seats off so they wouldn’t be assigned. I wondered around the shops and had some lunch at the airport, before boarding. The airconditioning on the 747 was running cold, which suited me, and I got all three seats to myself. I watched Batman Begins for the second time, read my anthology for running order, and slept. Even the food was good. The thirteen hour flight was very gentle, indeed.

On arrival, I got fingerprinted and photographed, but they skipped the cavity search, which was good. I realised afterward that I left a half-full bottle of water on the Customs Officer’s desk, and I’ve wondered what chaos that might have caused. I then had my least stressful stopover in LA, yet. Helped a fellow Aussie cope with the terminal swaps, then grabbed a quiet lunch, before getting on the plane to SF. Got here at 2.20pm yesterday, to be greeted by Amelia and Charles, and it’s been fun ever since. Got to see Carolyn, Kirsten, Liza, and Karlyn, and began to consider the possibilities of the armagnac smoothie. Mmm. Last night was dinner at Crogan’s (yes, M, with the coconut batter beer prawns), a shower and then bed. And now, a new days awaits.

PS: The only downside in all this was hearing that Marianne and the girls were sick with a bug they contracted the day after I left. Happily they seem on the mend, but it sounded awful.

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