Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Some Photos

Here are a few photos I said I would post. I will try to post more, but getting a good internet connection is still sometimes tedious. Have a great New Year's Eve. Talk to you in 2009.

The following two photos are from my first weekend in Australia. I participated in the 8th annual "Fridge to Fridge." This involves 80 guys on bikes, some of them custom made just for the event, biking to about 8 or 9 different homes in the Sutherland Shire, and essentially having a beer or two at each stop, with a big party being held at the final stop. Sounds dangerous, probably is a tad, but I walked away unscathed. The theme was the Beer-jing (Bejing) Olympics. So everyone had to dress up as a country. Curt and I had cardboard boxes on and we represented Cuba. How patriotic of me.

This is Cronulla beach, in the town I'm looking to stay in for a year. Not a bad view.

My first day going to Sydney by myself I took this picture. Kind of a cloudy day. It was great to finally see the Opera House with my own two eyes.
These are the friends I met scuba diving in Cairns. Remember I didn't take any photos of the actual scuba diving. Swedish girl second to left.

I took this photo at the koala sanctuary in Brisbane. Not a bad photo for a camera I bought at Wal-Mart. There was this really energetic koala that stood out. His name was actually Ryan.

And here I am feeding a kangaroo. I was a little nervous because everytime I see a kangaroo on TV, it is kicking someone in the chest.

This is a shot of the Harbour Bridge with a Royal Caribbean ship in the foreground. It brought back memories seeing the ship in port.

This is the same day, although the second time I went to have a look around Sydney. This time I walked all the way up to the Opera House. It truly is an amazing piece of architecture.

Not the greatest photo, but it was another cloudy day in Sydney. This is the world famous Bondi Beach. Usually, on a sunny day, there are thousands of people here. When I return, I'll take a better one.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Day and Weekend

The weekend after Christmas has been an eventful one. First off, my Christmas day was a good one. I had a great meal at the York’s house. We had a pot roast and prawns (shrimp). Friday night I went out with Eoin to a house party on Cronulla beach. Saturday, I went to the city with Mike York and Eoin, and witnessed King’s Cross for the first time. It is the part of Sydney that never sleeps. Clubs, bars, dance clubs all open until the sun comes up. We actually didn’t go into any of them but we had a walk around and decided to do it up big at the Cross another night.

Sunday, I spent at the beach with a lot of the people I met my first weekend in Australia. I didn’t get sun burned too bad. I’m actually getting the hang of putting on the sun screen every day.
I’ve been reading a book recently about Australia. It is by an American guy named Bill Bryson. Funny thing is, it has two titles. I was more than half way through the book back in May but lost it in my travels. In the states it is called “In a Sun Burned Country.” But I found it over here and the title is simply “Down Under.” Same book, but obviously published down here with a different name. Anyway, it is about Bill’s travels to Australia back in 1999. It is full of historical facts and good humor. It is a great read now that I know of many of the places he speaks of.
I’ve read another Bill Bryson book called “A Walk in the Woods” in which he hikes the Appalachian Trail. I read that book twice also. That is another remarkable thing. The fact that I read only a couple books a year and I’ve read two of this author’s books twice!

This week I plan on finding my apartment. My friend Eoin works in real estate and is going to introduce me to some contacts with apartments to rent. It will be good to get that ball rolling.
New Year’s Eve is coming up. I don’t think I will venture to the city for the big fireworks show. Instead a friend of Mike's has rented two boats for the day where we’ll have a party, I hear it is pirate themed. Then at night, I’m still unsure what’s going on, but I doubt it will be boring.

I ran into a girl in Cronulla over the weekend that I had never met in person before but had been corresponding by email in regards to being a possible roommate of hers. I only recognized her by her picture, so it was cool to meet her and introduce myself. She was kind of surprised to see me, seeing that it was 1am and we were both looking for cabs. I got her info, so maybe she’ll be another potential friend I make out here.

I just read about the Patriots. Bummmer! Doesn't hurt as bad as last year, but it still sucks. Now it is time for the C's and B's to continue their good seasons.

My next post should include some pictures.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas time in Oz,

It is Christmas eve here in Australia. Although it sure doesn’t feel like it. I’d like to thank Jon Watterson for providing me with this great photo from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Also enjoy some photos from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Bad Santa and Elf - some of my all time favorite holiday films.

Three days ago I was out on Dolan’s Bay with Mike York and Eoin (Owen), another friend I’ve met here, sitting on a boat fishing, swimming and sharing a case of Carlton Draught. It was surreal. This will be the fourth Christmas in five years I’ll have been away from Keene, NH. I can’t say I’m getting used to it, but I will be in the company of good people on Christmas day. So that is a positive. I will be having Christmas Dinner with the York family so don’t worry that I’ll be alone, because I won’t.

The last couple days I spent with my friend Neshat from England. We walked all over Sydney. We saw the Opera House and the famous Harbour Bridge. Today we spent the day at Bondi beach, one of Sydney's most popular and famous beaches. Unfortunately it was cloudy and only 74 degrees, that's right, ONLY 74. A shame.

Christmas time in Australia is kind of strange. I hear holiday music wherever I go. I see Christmas trees, fake of course. There are even decorative lights on many of the houses with blow up snowmen in the yard. But it is 80 degrees or more! It feels like July every day. So this makes me feel less homesick than I was last January, when I was stuck in Maquoketa, Iowa buried under 2 feet of snow.

My memories of Christmas, or my favorite ones rather, are from when I was growing up. Each Christmas Eve, the Watterson family gathers at my grandparents, John and Barb’s house. We have a good size family, so the house was always packed wherever we were whether it is in West Keene or in Marlborough. I can’t remember if we’ve ever had the entire family there, but I will be thinking of my grandpa Watterson, Gram, my parents and Brother Jon; Brian and Kim Watterson and my cousins Ingrid and Sam. Also Daryl, Donna and kids Mariah, Frosty and Tank. My ant Kim Stanton and my Hollywood bound cousin Shelby Stanton. (Go rent The Clique! Shelby rocks in that) Also in the past decade, I’ve reunited with Toby Watterson and my cousin Paige. And I always remember the holidays as seeing my Nana. Gramp always had the job of handing out the gifts. I missed having my Grandpa at Christmas when I was home last year, as did the entire family. He was the best. I’ll be thinking of you all tomorrow. Make sure you have enough chicken wings for Jon and Donna!

The best thing about Christmas at home was we had two Christmas’s really. On Christmas Day, my brother and I would wake up early and open gifts with my mom and dad. It was always a special moment just amongst the four of us. In the last decade or so, we have started getting up later and not opening gifts until afternoon. There’s still a child inside me that wakes up hoping to exchange the gifts at 7am.

My mom makes a breakfast on Christmas Day. She saves up all her days of cooking for making the best breakfast of the year! Hehe, mom I love ya! The Gemmell family always comes over. We’ve had some great crowds in years past with Jon, Marilyn, Lori and sometimes Todd Gemmell making an appearance, as well as Lori’s kids Benjamin and Katherine. Again, I’ll feel a bit empty without the presence of Grandma Gemmell and Jon Gemmell being with us this year. Gram always provided a laugh or good conversation. Jon brought the best out of everyone and had the all time greatest laugh. He taught the family to play cribbage and on those lazy holiday afternoons would always be up for a game. Grandpa Gemmell, I look forward to speaking to you again. We had some great talks before I ventured down to Oz. Also, the Harris family in Seattle, the Gemmells in Virginia and Minnesota – I will be thinking of you too.

I remember as a child calling up my neighbor, Ken Macie, and we were so excited to share with each other the gifts we’d received. Thank goodness he was the one who always received the video games! I know this is his first Christmas as a married man. So Ken, if you’re reading this, congrats on your first holidays hitched.

The holidays remind me also of playing hockey and traveling to Concord, NH and Fitchburg, MA for holiday tournaments. That was back when we were good and could actually beat Concord. As for Fitchburg, I can’t say that I ever enjoyed venturing down there. The arena was cold and we played against great teams from Mass like Leomenster and Chelmsford that beat up on us. We once played a game in high school where we were beat 10-2 with the only two goals being scored by my brother and me. I thought that was cool.

The holiday season always had us going out to Robin Hood Park and playing pickup hockey. A few years, my dad made a rink out of our front yard. We had some heated battles out there. Well more like freezing battles.

Another holiday memory was decorating the tree with my mom. I did grow out of it and now my mom puts up a heckuva tree. Make sure if you go over there, you notice her lights. It was also my job each day to add a heart to the advent calendar. There were 25 of them and they connected together to make a three foot hanging line of hearts. The first one had an angel and the last one with a star on it. Again, over the years, I grew out of the habit and now my mom is the one who keeps the tradition alive. But for a time, it made my day to add another heart, anticipating the big day.

So as you enjoy your white Christmas in New England, or wherever you are, I hope you have an amazing holiday. I do miss my family and friends I’ve met through Up with People, Carroll College and Carnival Cruise Lines. Take Care, I miss and Love you. Talk to ya soon.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Good morning, not a lot of time to post, so I'll make it a quick one. This picture is an obscure reference, but in the movie Rainman, Ray says "Qantas never crashed." So hopefully you get that. Its a stretch I know.

I left for Brisbane on Friday and arrived that evening. I took a train and a bus to Queensland University. My "Up with People" friend from England, Neshat had just arrived in town as well so a friend of hers hosted me there at the college. It was a tight fit in a small dorm room, but it worked.

On Saturday, Neshat, our host and I went to a Koala sanctuary. It was like a zoo. Pretty good time overall. I've never seen Koalas, Kangaroos, wallabees and other Australian wildlife. I took some pictures I will post soon. My impression on Koalas is that they live a pretty good life. They sleep 18 hours a day. On the other hand, Kangaroos look like prisoners, all laying down, not moving much.

We spent the afternoon trying to plan the next 5 days of our trip. We had this great five day plan that took us out to Frasier Island, spending two nights on a boat and eventually flying to Sydney. The problem was that it cost about $1000. And to be honest, Australia was getting expensive to travel around. So we decided not to do that.

Neshat and I went out on the town Saturday night with a guy from Malaysia that our host had asked to take us out. He was kind to show us to the "Valley" where the clubs in Brisbane are. It was really packed. An exciting scene of clubs and bars. I didn't bring the right shoes on my trip, so I wasn't allowed into the bar we wanted to go into. But my new Malaysian friend and Neshat were convinced they could get me in by doing the shoe switch trick. And remarkably they got me in. I had to change shoes with the other guy who was already let in. I wasn't really up for it but they wouldn't take no for an answer.

After a good night on the town, we arrived home around 2am Sunday morning and decided we wanted to get out of Brisbane. Brisbane is a great city, a college town. It is, however, 2 hours from the ocean. So we booked our flight for Sydney (The flight was 9 hours from the time we booked it!) for an amazing price of about $100 USD. I had only been out of Sydney for 7 days, but felt like 10-14. I'm ready to be here for good. The traveling was great, but I'm itching to start doing what I came here to do.

Next post will be a Holidy Post hopefully. So look forward to that.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Scuba diving down under, literally!

Holy Crap....

I mentioned earlier that I was going scuba diving this week. Well I'm back safe and sound. The above photo is the area where I was today.

Overall, an amazing trip, yet one of the scariest happenings of my life as well. Maybe some of you have been scuba diving before and thought it was amazing and easy, but for me it was terrifying. While you were sleeping, I spent 25 minutes under water, sometimes down 30 feet.

The tour cost $115, but when I arrived, they told me I was upgraded to a tour worth $289. Good sign right? I arrived at the pier after a 40 minute walk into town and was greeted with the good news. The first perk of this tour was free coffee. I had myself a cup and looked for friendly people. I found a nice couple. Matt from England and his girlfriend Amy from Darwin, Australia. Also at our table was Tina from Sweden. Lets just say she looked Swedish. (Another perk!)
They were easy to get along with. It was a 90 minute trip out to Michaelmas Cay, one of the better spots on the Great Barrier Reef outside of Cairns.

We had a 30 minute presentation on some of the wildlife we would see below the surface. It was pretty informative. A lot of the fish in Finding Nemo we would expect to see down on the reef. After that, I was pleased to learn I was in group #1 which meant I would be doing my scuba dive as soon as the boat arrived to Michaelmas Cay. After a 20 minue briefing on what to remember, which seemed like a lot of info, I was ready to go.

Have you ever done something that you knew was scary? Well with scuba diving, I think its a pretty normal thing. When I think of people in movies scuba diving it looks easy, unlike when I see someone jumping off a building in a movie. That looks difficult and scary. Scuba diving, however, in my mind, is comparitive to jumping off a building or cliff. I am honestly very scared of being under water for more than lets say 5 seconds. But I didn't quite realize that until it was time to suit up.

It was my turn to sit on the edge of the boat and get geared up. They applied some weights to me that would help me sink once in the water, but honestly, and unknown to me, I didn't exactly need them. I was the last one of my group to get suited up and they basically pushed me face first into the water.

I swam over to this horizontal bar they had connected to the boat. Totally nervous and scared now, I practice breathing with my mouth piece. It doesn't feel like Im getting enough air, but I really am. I'm thinking "Just breathe and you'll be okay. People do this every day in a lot worse shape than you are."

The instructor has us practice breathing with our heads under the water for a few moments, then, one by one, pulls our group of 4 across down to the next bar located probably 6-10 feet below the first bar. It could have been less, but it felt like 50 feet. He reminded us before the dive that making sure the ear pressure is stable is very important. This terrified me.

The signal the instructor gave us was the "All good!" sign which was the thumb pressed against the pointer finger with the remaining three fingers stretched out. When he pulled me under, he gave me the sign, looking to get it back. And of course, I gave him the signal.

Down to the second bar I went. At this point, the group had to demonstrate that they can take the mouthpiece out, and put it back in. What I had to do was take it out of my mouth, which I was not really up for, then release a few breaths of air, then put it back in. I was the last one to go, and I pulled it off. When I put it back in, I needed to cough, or blow a bit of air out so that I wouldn't swallow any salt water.

I would like to say that at this point, I am still freaking out a bit. I am just trying to stay alive and breath. I realize that I have another half hour to go and there's no turning back. Well actually there is a turning back. That would require me to get the instructors attention, then give him the thumbs pointing towards the surface. But I really didn't come here to do a 2 minute, 2 foot dive.

So I'm hanging there on the second bar, with my fellow group. Three women. I think they were Australian. All these accents are hard to tell right now. So for all I know they could be kiwis or pommes. Next the instructor, named Siril (Sounds like Cereal, easy to remember) linked our arms together and then pushed us away from the bar.

Ah! Now I've thought of it. The mouthpiece is called the regulator. From now on, I will say "regulator" when referring to the mouthpiece.

Did I mention how scared I was? All I could think about was biting my regulator, and breathing. I could have been looking at the pyramids of Egypt or the Grand Canyon, but I wouldn't have noticed because priority number one was LIVING!

We started swimming down, all the while my ears were getting very pressurized. I realized that I didn't have much trouble stablizing my ear pressure which was good. I had to also empty my mask of seeping water, which I would have to say, I was better at than anything else...except breathing. It's fairly easy actually. I just had to look up, and blow air out my nose, and that would get the water out. But still it was scary.

We're a few minutes into the dive. I can see some beautiful Coral. The reef truly is amazing. There are fish, and just hundreds of colors and shapes to see. But that would probably be the third best thing floating through my mind. Number one would be again: Stay alive and breathe. Number two was: How much time could we possibly have left, because I want nothing more than to be on land. Not a boat, not a beach. Get me to a mountain ASAP.

The instructor then brings us down to the bottom of the ocean. I believe the max depth he brought us was 10 meters or roughly 30 feet. So this was probably at least 18-20 feet. We kneel down on the sand. This was really comforting because I could just relax and breathe. He had brought us down to a big clam. I think it was a clam. I didn't care remember? He had each of us touch it. It felt...I have no idea, like something wet. Then we moved on.

Some time around then he had us swimming real close to the reef and I am sinking. The four girls are doing great and I'm holding them down. So much for those weights right? Ciril swam over and inflated my life preserver a bit, causing me to float up to the pack. Thank the Lord. Oh, I am still latched onto the girl next to me. I never got her name but I did thank her later for not getting mad at my "death grip" I had on her arm. At one point I was nearly holding her hand, but then wrapped my arm back with hers the way I was supposed to.

Swimming over the Great Barrier Reef was truly amazing. Although mentally, I wasn't there the full 25 minutes, there were times where I could think "Wow, this is pretty amazing, I will hold onto this memory as long as I'm alive." There were times where I was a bit paniced. Either when my mask started to take on water or when there was nothing around us but blue sea. I just had to keep returning to a sane state of mind. If you've ever seen "Happy Gilmore", Adam Sandler had to go to his happy place. I think that's what I did. I had to think of something that would take me back to calm.

Also during the whole trip, the underwater camera I purchased (which has no photos from my dive) was getting tangled with my regulator. Its lucky that I was on the end of our linked group so that I could unravel the camera.

Towards the end I saw a large chain spanning from the bottom of the sea to the surface. I wanted to think, "YES this is it!" but throughout the dive, I made sure I never expected the end, and that helped me stay calm.

Finally I saw the two bars that we had started out on. And we slowly reached the surface. I have never been so happy to breathe fresh air. We got back on the boat one by one and that was my first scuba dive. It could be my last. Who knows? But at least I can say I've done that. I truly believe I would have an easier time skydiving. Some people fear spiders. Some fear water.

After that, we had an amazing lunch, all inclusive. I had fruit, shrimp and some other meats. Tina from Sweden was very gracious in helping me reapply sunscreen as we headed out for our afternoon snorkel.

It was pretty fun. I finally took some underwater photos. Tina took some phots of me and I took a few of her with her camera...and maybe one with mine. We spent 30 or 40 minutes swimming around, then headed back to the boat.

The last 90 minutes were spent heading back to Cairns. I, along with Matt and Amy had a few beers, sun tanned and got to know each other. We then departed the boat and headed home.

I went out to dinner tonight with Matt, Amy and Tina to a Thai restauant. Then we went to the casino where I won $53 which paid for my dinner, drinks and cab for the night. Not a bad way to end a great day.

Before I go, I want to tell you about yesterday's Crocodile Farm tour. First of all, I'm not a huge nature fan. I mean, if you say to me, "Hey Ryan, look at those awesome looking trees." I might say "Yep!" but really think "Wow...trees...really?" So the boat ride down this river was kinda boring. We went through over an hour of Mangroves. So it wasn't completely a waste; I did learn about mangroves.

What was disappointing was (A) it was pouring rain and (B) there were only 10 others on the boat. There was a family of four from Ireland, a couple from Germany, another couple from Austria, a third couple from Melbourne, and myself. Not a lot of people to converse with. The couple from Melbourne (Glendan and Donna) were pretty nice. Glendan invited me to have a drink with him and we talked a bit about world issues.

After the (yawn) long boat trip, we arrived at the croc farm. I'll post some pics soon. It was fairly interesting. All the crocs at this particular farm will one day be hand bags, belts, wallets, you name it. The tour guide was a bit boring, but overall informative. He said a couple times "Boy you guys are lucky to see so many crocs." and at one of those points Glendan says to me "Its a bloody croc farm, I woul HOPE to see some crocs!"

It was over an hour bus ride back to Cairns when we were done. I slept the whole way.

HEY! I'm off to Brisbane tomorrow for a few days. I know a couple people there and expect to meet up. Will update you when that happens. Thanks for listening to my LONG story. Talk soon.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Good afternoon! Well its afternoon for me on Tuesday. most of you are still experiencing Monday as I write this. It is my second full day in Cairns. I honestly haven't done a whole lot but that will change soon.

I booked a tour to go out and snorkel around the Great Barrier Reef on Thursday. Its a pretty long tour. 90 minutes out, then four hours out there, then another 90 minutes back. I paid $5 extra so they will let me do an "introductory dive" which basically will be my first scuba dive going down 12 meters. I'm pretty nervous about that part because I always liked keeping my head above water. But for $5 and the fact that there will be experienced divers down there with me, I think I'll take a chance.

Traveling up here by myself isn't as easy as it was traveling to Sydney. No doubt, I've done some solo trips in my day, but usually there is a group or a couple people waiting to see me at the final destination. Here I know nobody, even my host family here isn't that outgoing so its really in my hands to make my Cairns visit what I want it to be. I'm not saying this isn't a good time, it is just a bit more challenging to walk up to strangers, strike up a conversation. I did meet a guy from Vancouver, Canada today. He's doing the same thing I am. Good to talk to any North American. I might take a Calm Water Cruise tomorrow. It is a 14 foot catamaran tour that travels to the Trinity Inlet (I don't know what that is either) and also goes to a Crocodile farm. For $50 it isn't a bad deal. Plus it is cheaper than those Carnival shore excursions so I can't complain. And I could say I've seen the Aussie Crocs!

Did I mention Cairns is hot? Its wicked hot. The humidity is amazing, I just have a thin sheet on my bed and don't really need that. I'm getting bit by mosquitoes. Small bugs, but big bites. So Cairns is about experience, not neccessarily comfort.

My hosts are nice people. Dave is in his 50's, Aran is around 40 I believe. Aran is a chef and Dave is a guy who does odd jobs. Fixes bikes, paints, does whatever really. We spent last evening just talking. They told me lots of stories. It was a pretty good experience. Actually neither of them are Australian, one is English and the other New Zealand.
Alright, I will post again after I survive the snorkel adventure.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Heading up North

So in about 8 hours I am flying up to Cairns (pronounced "Cans" to the people here). I'm staying with a friend of one of my cousins. I've never met the guy but have talked to him on the phone a couple times. He sounds like a good guy and is letting me stay at his place, so I have a good feeling about it.

The last couple days were fun. It rained a lot, which cooled the place off a bit so that was good. Friday night, I went out with the York brothers and a few other friends, a couple of them from the capital city of Canberra. Coincedentally we were at a bar literally 2 businesses down from where my other Keene NH contact, Judd Marcello was having a beer. So we met up, had a drink. That was the first time I've seen Judd since arriving so it was great to finally meet him in person. He has been a great help in preparing me for life in Australia.

Finally had my first coffee or as Denis Leary once said my first "Coffee flavored coffee." Its called a Long Black. So I've messed that up a couple times by calling it a Tall Black. Its strong too! Not like my Dunkin Donuts where I could drink a 24 oz cup over the course of an hour. Here it is a 12oz cup, but because it is so rich, it still takes an hour to finish. I miss my watered down black coffee from DD.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

First week

This week I spent mostly making plans for the next few weeks.

On Tuesday I had dinner at Curt York's parents house. Great looking home on one of the many bay's down here. Good to see them again after 10 or 12 years. They spent a lot of time telling me what wildlife can kill me down here, which is apparently everything. Snakes, sharks, squid, jellyfish, spiders, I'm sure some bird is out to get me as well.

I ventured into Sydney yesterday on a rather lousy weather day for this neck of the woods. I walked by the Harbour bridge and across the water from the Sydney Opera House. It's nice to say I've finally seen these two landmarks with my own two eyes.

I've just booked a ticket to Cairns, one of the Australian cities up north. The Great Barrier Reef is up that way. I will be staying with a guy I've met through a family member. I also have an Up with People friend up there I hope to catch up with. My goal is to do some touristy things, then make my way back down to Sydney for New Years Eve.

Friday night I will be heading to the city again to have a night on the town. Should be fun. Then Saturday I will see my other acquaintance from Keene that lives in Sydney.

So even though some part of my days I feel a bit lost, I have been making progress.

All this traveling reminds me of George Carlin's "A place for my stuff"... I'm going to have stuff in NH, Sydney, Cairns, all over the WORLD! Check it out if you don't know what I"m taking about. http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=bmT9aappdH4

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Travel Day # 3, first weekend in OZ

So my third travel day is hard to remember now, but I'll briefly talk about it. I waited in LA for 5 hours before taking a 10.5 hour flight to Fiji. It wasn't too bad. Sat next to a nice Aussie girl with a cold, luckily I did not catch it. I waited in Fiji for four hours before taking a five hour flight to Sydney.
Getting through customs was easy. The only question the guy asked me was "Sure are a lot of Americans on that flight?" That was pretty much it.

I went directly to the cell phone store and the bank and set up an account and got a mobile phone.

My friend Curt York from Keene has been hosting me since I arrived. He showed me a wild and crazy weekend in an annual "Fridge to Fridge" where 80 men ride bikes around town to different homes, with a Victoria Bitter beer waiting at each stop. I only have a couple bruises.

I'm in an internet cafe now because my laptop isn't ready to go here. I bought all these adapters and plugs, yet the one plug I forgot was a 3 prong to 2 prong adapter. I couldn't believe that Radio Shack would sell something that only takes 2 prong. Oh well.

I'm most likely heading out on Wednesday or Thursday to do some traveling around the country.

Thanks for the comments. Back soon. Ry

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Travel Day # 2: Tuesday 7:00am Eastern – 9:30pm West Coast

So Tuesday started off pretty well. I had a nice continental breakfast at the Quality Inn, then headed to the airport. I almost connected with Adam Cunha, whom I went to Kindergarten with. He was going to pick me up at the hotel and take me to the airport until we realized I was right next to the airport. He is a facebook friend of mine, that is how I connected with him.
When it was finally time to board the plane, imagine my surprise when my ticket said FIRST CLASS: Seat 1A! I ended up trading with another First Class passenger so he could sit next to his buddy, so I was in 3F.
This was the best flight of my life. I was served a meal, coffee, dessert, a hot wet towel, a couple of vodka and tonics that resulted in one of the best naps I’ve ever had on a plane. Plus they gave me two of the little bottles for the road. I think the last time I had a meal on a plane I was 12. I can’t remember.
The travel industry may be in shambles, but first class hasn’t changed at all. I could get used to sitting up there.
The second flight to LA was fine. I’m starting to feel the fatigue of traveling. The plane to Fiji boards soon and I can’t wait to get some sleep. My luggage thankfully made it to LA with me, although I did have to pay a significant late fee for being a day late. And I guess once in Fiji, I have to pick up my bags, check them all over again, and probably pay a second late flight fee. It’s been a journey thus far. I didn’t doubt it would be, but I still have another day to go.
I’m pretty anxious now to get going. It’s hard to believe I’m still in the USA. Lets hope I sleep most of the 10+ hours to Fiji!
Signing off for tonight.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Travel Day #1 (9:30am-10pm Eastern)

So my 35 (approximate) hour travel day to Australia took a detour right from the get go. My flight to Charlotte was delayed by 30 minutes, then was delayed from landing by another 20, therefore I missed my connection to LA, Fiji and Sydney.

So we'll try it again tomorrow and head to PHOENIX, then LAX, then I will be back on schedule and head to Fiji and Sydney as planned.

Some highlights from the day: 1. Waiting in line for 2 hours in Boston to figure out my messed up ticket situation (Too complicated to explain, but it was tedious to resolve) 2. Meeting a girl who lives in Jacksonville that talked completely too loud as far as airplane ettiquette goes, she liked to drop F bombs at the same volume. 3. Waiting in lines for 3 hours once arriving in Charlotte to figure out (A) how the hell am I getting to sydney and who's paying for it and (B) where on earth is my luggage and when will I see it again?

I think the average person would have had a nervous breakdown at some point. I actually saw many US Airways employees getting screamed at throughout the day. But I was just polite to them and they were even more cooporative with me. They actually mentioned to me that I was surprisingly calm for all they'd put me through. Haha!

Well hope tomorrow's post just says "Phoenix to LA to Fiji to Sydney" and that's all. For now I will enjoy my free HBO and wifi from the comfort of my Quality Inn hotel room.