Going to keep a journal for my journey from San Francisco to Australia, to Germany, Poland, France, Italy and Finland. On the road, personal stories, with all the gripes and inspirations intact.
Started out with Tru Chung and Cuc Chung, in Dr. Mike Chung's big SUV. Left my jacket at the monastery; Sandy called as we reached Ashby Avenue. We had to circle back through Saturday traffic to pick it up. Good thing, too, Australia is cold in the winter!
Evening flight to Sydney. Australia immigration lost my visa. Then they found TWO visas for me. Retrograde Mercury?
"Thank you for helping to keep our airport secure. We are currently at security threat level one (orange?). Keep in contact with your bags at all times. Unaccompanied baggage will be destroyed." Why don't other nation's airports terrorize their citizens this way?
At baggage inspection my robe was flagged by a nervous, new inspector. The inspector apologized for giving me the pat down.
I brought Martin Simpson guitar books; I'd like to learn half a dozen tunes from his two collections: Cool and Unusual, and Just A Closer Walk With Thee. The music is sublime. Plan to learn it in the morning after meditation.
Sydney Airport does not impress the traveler as a haven of order and efficiency. I've never seen so many people lined up in snaking queues across the floor, coming from all directions, with baggage trolleys running through the lines and people standing and waiting for hours.
Transfer from International to Domestic takes passengers through a low-roofed, dim hallway, after a cursory metal inspection, since we've already transferred from international security. Then we get on a shuttle bus and drive through a forest of airplane hangars, shadows of parked jets and then through a metal gate on wheels, to a small non-descript back door to the Domestic Terminal, where a hand-lettered "Departures" sign, complete with a blue ball-point pen colored arrow shows us the way ahead.
Qantas got us out of San Francisco an hour late, so we missed our connecting flight in Sydney. Next confirmed seat? A flight nine hours later, with a promise of standby each hour. So we've sat in the Cityjet departure lounge watching flight after full flight leave without us. Our bags are out there somewhere without us, including my guitar, waiting for the word that we are on a flight so that the bags can appear on the plane with us at that point.
More to come. Still in the lounge.