Recently in Travel Category

I'm back home now. My body is telling me it's 3:30am tomorrow rather than 6:30pm today, and I've got a whole load of stuff to deal with (personal, professional, and just plain mundane — "the car won't start" kind of stuff that needs sorting out).

Will check in later ... for now, let's just say that I've survived 24 hours on a 747-400 intact, although my sinuses are aching from the aridity of the air conditioning and I keep going cross-eyed. Hmm. I'm probably so jet-lagged I don't even feel jet-lagged any more. Scary!

Oh yeah: the trip home was more or less ordinary — heavy turbulence over the Straits and Afghanistan (I managed to sleep through much of it but dreamed I was flying through heavy turbulence in a different aircraft), an arrivals cock-up at Heathrow (what genius decided to offload a full Jumbo using a staircase and a fleet of busses at the far side of the terminal from arrivals?), and lastly ... sundogs seen over the Scottish borders! I wish I'd thought to take a photo but I was too entranced by the sight of a circular rainbow with the shadow of a 757 at its heart scudding across the cloudtops.

Later I'll try to write something about Oz. But right now, I'm too drained.

UPDATE: I seem to have gotten home about twelve hours before the shit hit the fan (and via a flight that wasn't directly threatened). It will be interesting to see if there really was a plot to blow up a bunch of airliners flying from the UK to the USA, but I'm glad I managed to miss the resulting cock-up (twelve hour waits at airports, a total ban on hand luggage, and so on).

If you're in Melbourne (that's in Australia, not some town of the same name on any other continent), I will be hoisting a pint of beer in Transport on Federation Square from 8pm tonight. Feel free to drop by and say hello.

(Tomorrow I'll be flying out, arriving back in the UK late on Wednesday. Ain't time zones wonderful?)

This hotel has ethernet. (Not to mention a comfortable climate — Melbourne is cooler than Sydney, which was almost uncomfortably hot when it wasn't raining.) So watch this space ...

The hotel booking info that promised broadband internet access actually meant "we'll rent you a PCMCIA card with Windows XP drivers that lets you talk to a cellphone network, at vast expense" — which is a fat lot of use to a Mac user. Potential guests at the otherwise-excellent Southern Cross Suites on Darling Harbour take note. Meanwhile, Sydney seems to be very deficient in free wifi hotspots by British standards (where loads of pubs and cafes have found that offering free wifi makes folks sit around eating and drinking more), and even the commercial hotspots are a bit shy.

Just sayin'.

(Goes back to doing touristy things, minus the internet.)

I'm catching a taxi to the airport at 5am tomorrow, and will subsequently take approximately 28 hours of travel to reach my destination. (Blogging will, therefore, be sparse until I recover from the jet lag).

Just a thought: the cost of an air fare to the antipodes today, in 2006, is on the order of one month's salary for a full-time skilled worker in the developed world. The journey takes 24-48 hours depending on stop-overs, and is somewhat uncomfortable.

This compares quite accurately to the price of a stage coach journey across the home counties of England in 1806.

We're not living in a global village, exactly, but the world has nevertheless shrunk unimaginably in scale in just two centuries, so that we become blasé about it — so that we get annoyed because Boeing 747s and Airbus 340s seem slow. What does this tell us about our expectations, beside the obvious?

Next Tuesday I'm flying off to Australia.

I'll be in Sydney from the 19th through the 31st of this month. High points:

July 27th - Signing, Galaxy Books, York Street, Sydney.

July 29th - Signing, Infinitas Bookshop in Parramatta. (This latter event is still to be confirmed.)

I'll be in Melbourne from the 1st through the 8th of August. High points:

August 4th-6th: Official guest, Continuum 4.

(If you know of any SF/F specialist bookstores in Melbourne where you think I should be signing, please let me know!)

I'm in Leeds, visiting relatives, so blogging will be light for a few days. Meanwhile, I'm mentioned tangentially in this article in the Guardian, by Wendy Grossman, on the subject of trusted computing, Vernor Vinge's "Rainbows End", and the panopticon singularity.



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