Long commute. Left a teary-eyed LP and PW on Wednesday. Had Chinese food and gourmet chocolate in Minneapolis. Flew first class to LA and had a darn good steak and a couple of those little bottles of merlot. The flight from LA to Brisbane was LONG. Walked many laps around the plane and the food was crap. Watched two decent movies, both with no endings-they just stopped- Charlie Wilson's War and There Will Be Blood.
In Brisbane, I learned that Australian Customs use beagles for their drug/ food sniffing dogs in airports. They are very cute, but I saw no less than three people get busted with beef jerkey. One of the handlers says the little buggers work better when they are hungry. She let me pet her beagle, unlike the customs guys in Miami who beat the fuck out of me and insisted on roughly performing a body cavity search after I scratched the ears of one of their drug-sniffing labs.
It took over 5 hours to fly across Australia, from Brisbane to Perth. From the plane, all I saw was desert and mountains. I checked into my hotel in downtown Perth around noon, showered and walked to our office, only a few blocks from the hotel. I was invited to a meeting to outline what I will be doing out here for the next few months and I was so tired it all went over my head. It was all I could do to stay awake. After a few hours the office geeks took me to dinner. We ate outside at a little Indian joint and it was wonderful. We ordered a ton of appetizers and one of everything on the menu and shared it all over a few bottles of wine. Curry, curry, curry with a side order of curry. After a 3 hour meal, I stumbled back to my hotel through huge crowds of people partying like mad. Evidently Perth is quite the party town. Me? I was out cold by 11:30.
Woke up at 3am and hopped a charter flight to Canberra, then Barrow Island. The flight atendants had a rough time with a plane full of 65 sleepy, angry, hungry, hungover pirates. Very cool desert landscapes all the way there. It was scorching when we disembarked. Giant ant hills dotted the entire landscape and Barrow Island is some sort of Class A nature preserve. Class A must mean ANTS cause they were everywhere, the hills up to 3-4 feet high.
I was on the first chopper out, so I had only 5 minutes before watching the helicopter training video (mandatory in all countries before flying a chopper), donning a lifevest and heading out. The ride was thankfully short-only 45 minutes. We flew a Super Puma this time and they are also slightly more comfortable than the SK176 workhorse we usually use. So I landed here, got a very confusing hour-long handover from my opposite and he left me sitting here slightly dazed and very tired. Once my subordinate landed on a later chopper, I gave him a handover and began to dive into work. I managed to hold out until 7:30, then came back on shift at 11:00. No rest for the wicked, but I'm pretty beat tonight. The best I can mange is to sit here and read emails on the new, DUAL, 30" widescreen monitors installed on my workstation. Man, are they sweet!