I am lucky enough to draw the short straw with my check-in agent. She cannot process my UK passport, saying that bother 'Great Britain' and 'Northern Ireland' are not working on her machine, and calls over someone to advise. I suggest 'United Kingdom' which apparently hasn't entered her mind, and even then it takes awhile. The next question is 'do you have a return leg' to which my answer of 'this is my return leg' appears to throw a spanner in the works. I can't remember it being this hard before, but it is 0430!
In the airport store, they sell moose turds, 4 for $1.95. You can even get them 'gold plated' for a little extra.
I'm not a tourist, even if I do buy moose figurines from Rika's and jade carvings from Denali. That's different, as obviously I'm just trying to support Whitestone, although at a reduced price.
Minneapolis airport is quiet, and I manage to wangle my way into the Delta lounge with my Velocity card, although later, in LAX, a guy isn't permitted in with a day Virgin Australia card because it is a Virgin America lounge. Am confused with this as I am using a VA card myself. Ours is not to reason why, and all that...
(Back to pre-Minneapolis, as my ever inconsistent mind is skipping ahead recklessly, I slept the entire 5 hours from FAI - MSP, surprisingly as I usually barely sleep at all while flying! this is usually a good thing when actually operating...)
A couple of episodes of The Wire get me to Los Angeles, although I'm not particularly impressed. It takes me until the end of episode 2 to really figure out what is going on, and despite the engine noise, if it had been a normal episode on TV, I probably wouldn't have bothered. The pilot episode of a series should get one interested, which it didn't, but the fact that I had purchased the series on iTunes kept me going. That said, I am now up to speed and happy to watch episode 4.
I am pleasantly surprised to find that Los Angeles is very well organised, with a shuttle bus dropping me at the right area, and I easily find the lounge. Easy = asking where to find it... Unlike a man, as a woman I do not find it beneath my dignity to ask for directions...
The lounge is packed. As previously mentioned (out of turn) I get in with my Velocity card, and find all seats taken except one at the bar. I hadn't intended to have anything to drink, but it being a hard life, I order a glass of red wine.
It is then that 'Mr White Horse Down' (not his real name) sits beside me, not because he wants to sit beside me, but more, apparently, because American TV bores him. I wonder if he finds this surprising, as Australian TV is also particularly dead, and he sounds English... whoops my bad, he is actually Australian and from Adelaide. He sounds like Uncle Rick, who doesn't sound Australian at all.
For some reason, we start talking, and I start waffling on about flying, and community, and various other unrelated things. I don't know why I'm so effusive, is the one glass of wine so very un-inhibiting? I forget that I am tired of sitting down, and perch on the edge of my bar stool, waffling on about Ireland, and Whitestone, etc. He tells me that he works in special effects, and shows me scenes that he worked on in action movies and in Harry Potter with the Horcrux.
Did you know that the American version of Harry Potter is edited differently from the rest of the world? The American version has blurred out a particular kissing scene to make only the heads visible, as apparently if the torsos were shown, the movie would have had to be rated differently. Violence is OK, it seems.
(As a quick explanation, just so you know, White House Down is an action movie just coming out about the White House, and paramilitary invaders, a little like Black Hawk Down but at the White House and without any Black Hawks... just the Down part. And no, White Horse Down was not a typo. Wouldn't you like to know?)
After this, I get talking to a different guy who works in naming/branding companies and adverts. Forgive me if this isn't 100% accurate! I get introduced to a new TV series, Battlestar Galactica, which I promise to watch. Perhaps I will even review it, for the purposes of this blog.
LAX-BNE is good, although long. I have 3 seats all to myself and so can spread out and sleep. I eat my way through as many apples, dried mango slices and pieces of beef jerky as I can possibly stomach before arriving in Brisbane, as I know they won't be allowed through security.
I would also like to comment that people are weird. I know this blog post is going on and on and on a little like the member of the conservative party in Monty Python, but really, I must insist. I'm not going to go in to that in depth right now, but it's true.
Brisbane Customs force me to go to the quarantine part as I check dairy foodstuff and wood on my declaration form, and then they say that they don't actually want to look in my bag after all if I'm sure that I bought it in a shop. Okay... I did.
And back to Monty Python... Stalingrad? You wouldn't have got much fun in Stalingrad, now would you, Mr Hilter?
Bored now. If you're still reading, you probably are too, so bye, and next post will be Alaska pictures - promise !