Monday, August 29, 2005

TechEd Australia 2005: Day -1

Left work about 4:30pm. Took the taxi about 20 minutes to make the first corner (about 100m). I'm thinking "hmmm...that 6:30 flight's not looking so good at the moment". But I shouldn't have worried because after the first corner it was smooth sailing to the airport. Apparently all the traffic was due to the cross-city tunnel, which opened today.

Anyway, I was at the airport by 5:15...plenty of time. Check in - 5 minutes. OK...5:20...gotta kill over an what? Potter around for a while, check out the viewing window at the end of the domestic terminal (nice blinding sunset right in my eyes...sigh), go back to gate, sit down, find that book I was reading (Crime and Punishment, Dostoyevsky).

OK, 6pm - should start boarding any minute now. Nope - they just announced there will be a detail due to a security issue on the incoming flight. 6:30, scheduled departure time, still haven't started boarding, still making announcements every 10 minutes or so about there being a security issue and can we please wait around the gate. Finally start boarding at about 7pm; window seat, nobody in my row - cool. We took off about 7:30 (not too bad, only an hour late).

On the flight there was a poor pregnant lady a few rows behind me puking her guts up most of the way. I felt really sorry for her but there was really nothing anyone could do for her (but gee the sound of someone vomitting is unpleasant). Approached Coolangatta about 8:30 (I must have read about 60-70 pages of Dostoyevsky in the last couple hours), throttle back, flaps down, gear down...wait a sec...throttle just went way back up, climbing again (hmm...methinks they missed the approach - I've done enough hours myself in small single-engine planes (Piper Warriors mostly) to recognise what's going on). The captain annouces that they were unable to land at that angle and that it was the wind's fault; OK, benefit of the doubt - he's the professional after all and who am I to criticise? - I'd have no chance of landing a Boeing 737-800 myself. Second go around it was just like I was flying circuits again (except I had no control stick, pedals, throttle or instruments in front of me). Downwind...descending...more drag (was that more flaps? or did they just put the gear down again?)...turning final...there are the piano keys...and we're on the ground, no bouncing, nothing broken, a successful landing - and, yes, people start clapping...(it's always the same).

The rest of the evening was fairly uneventful. Female taxi driver from the airport to the hotel (don't think I've ever had a female taxi driver before). The hotel seems nice enough. Couldn't be bothered to get room service (too late for anything else). Sleep time.


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