I suppose I should start by apologizing for being rather scarce, except that I don't know when that's going to change - I might be back from the Epic Visit to Australia, but I'm still juggling the stress balls. At least I'm not having what I not-so-fondly refer to as stress meltdowns on a daily basis.
Here's a little mental exercise for anyone whose mental hasn't been exercised enough lately. Picture a large, busy airport, rather behind on essential maintenance and somewhat grotty. Add a departure lounge area that can handle maybe 300, crammed with something near 1000 tired, harried people. Now imagine 3 gates, all adjacent, all of them showing the same departure time for 3 long-haul (8+ hour) international flights. Garnish with a less than stellar PA system performing rapid-fire updates in several languages, some of them possibly English.
Now imagine Kate, with body claiming that I should have been horizontal several hours ago, standing and trying to wait patiently for the boarding call on the flight that should have boarded 1/2 an hour ago. Notice that Kate is swaying. And looks like collapse is nearby.
And people wonder why I hate to fly?
Anywho, I survived that little trauma, got to Melbourne for WorldCon, and lo and behold, 4 hours to transfer one bag between adjacent terminals is simply not sufficient. So it's exhausted Kate stumbling around looking for something suitable in size beached whale in order to not look like something the cat decided against dragging in because it was just too disreputable.
Once that little problem was dealt with, the con was wonderful, if rather quieter than many of the cons I've been to. I suspect that the huge space of the Melbourne Convention Center plus the lack of any real 'gathering space' had a lot to do with it. The people there kind of rattled in that massive area.
The good: Catching up with assorted friends I know mostly online.
The bad and the ugly: Melbourne Convention Center does not have any water fountains. Not one. What's more, the water in the loos is temperature-controlled to be warm. I ended up getting my water refills at the loo taps, going from basin to basin to get the cooler water. I didn't have the budget for the convention center's overpriced bottled water, so I ended up somewhat dehydrated despite the regular trips to the Ladies for water refills.
It seemed kind of light on publishing folk - perhaps an opportunity for the enterprising? As Dave mentioned on Monday, Aussies read. Despite shamefully high book prices (someone is making out like a bloody pirate there, and it ain't the authors or the readers - when the Aussie dollar was worth about half a US dollar, the prices were kind of reasonable, but they haven't dropped any and the two currencies are pretty close to parity) people buy books.
Then came the blast from the past. Picture an airport terminal. Now throw away the picture and replace it with a warehouse. Insert some rooms and a few counters and the like inside, park some seats in there, and you've got Melbourne's Essenden Airport - the one the light planes use. Security consists of a friendly guy on the counter asking "Have you got anything dangerous in there?" and you answering "Nope." To get on the plane you walk out on the tarmac and climb into a 20 seater (this is the big plane) with no amenities. Just seats and seatbelts.
And at the other end of the hour-long flight, Kate finds Heaven on Earth, otherwise known as Flinders Island. Of course, nothing's perfect - Dave makes me catch my dinner (squid) and food for the cats (wrasse). I recommend this as a relaxation cure - you can even eat what you catch, so long as Dave doesn't make me cook it! (The less said about my cooking the better).
So now I'm back, buggered (to use the Oz vernacular), and periodically removing velcro cats who are quite convinced if they let me out of their sight I'll leave them again. And now that I've splattered you with my travel tale, it's time for yours. What are the best trips you've taken, and why? The worst? The weirdest?