Currently a week into a 2 week trip to Australia. My son is starting school here. Some notes on the trip.

  1. Qantas missed the memo on making air travel as humiliating and unbearable as possible. They are a serious airline. 767 from Honolulu to Sydney (10 hours) was full. Service, in economy started as soon as the seatbelt sign went off and never stopped. Two meals. Free booze. Popsicles. Hot chocolate. Nice people. If you want to show your kids what air travel used to be like, fly Qantas.
  2. The Australian cities are all cool. Sydney is big, bustling, noisy, fun. Having the worlds best beaches on the local bus routes doesn’t hurt. Brisbane is a lot more laid back. Very young. Lots of students. Modern. Both are very international.
  3. The world is getting smaller. Fast. Even since the last time I was here, the Amercanization of everywhere appears to have accelerated remarkably. It’s the same brands, ads, people, faces, TV programs everywhere. Too bad. The completely distinct feeling that international cities used to have is disappearing/has disappeared. Even the Aussie accents seem easier to understand.
  4. Internet is expensive here. $20/day in Sydney and Surfers Paradise. $27 (!) in Brisbane. Ouch.
  5. The internet is indispensible. For bookings, staying in touch, listening to XM radio.
  6. Driving on the wrong side isn’t so hard as long as there are at least two others in the car to remind you where the lane is, stay left, how to navigate the bloody round-abouts. Happy to have the car parked in the hotel lot!
  7. Canada is cold. Minus 14. Hell. I’m staying here. Going kite boarding today.

Some pics from the travels here.