Thursday, October 09, 2008

Leaving the UK, heading to Australia!

How on earth did I let an entire week go by without journaling? Wow. Well, it went like this: Monday, I slept in late again, went to have dinner with Chris, Greg (our tour manager), and Chris’ friend Kirin. We had Indian food in SoHo, and a waiter who seemed less than enthused about his chosen line of work. The food was delicious. Of course, since I didn’t get out of bed until just after noon, by 11pm, I was wide awake and ready to party again at the jam session. I walked into the building…and none of the guys from the band were there. I wasn’t interested in being the only one from our group there, so I walked back to the hotel and met some of them in the lobby. All of us were feeling sluggish, so none of us went. Furthermore, I had a plane to catch in the early afternoon, and didn’t want to take a chance that I’d miss the lobby call!
Tuesday morning at 11am, 4 of us met in the lobby to take our ride to Heathrow airport, where we boarded a flight to Dubai (7 hours) and then another to Perth (11 hours). As usual, I could barely stay awake sitting on the airplane and was asleep before take off. I have no idea why I have it, but am quite grateful for the skill of sleeping soundly while in transit! While waiting for our connecting flight in Dubai, we all sat in the lounge, waiting to be called to boarding. The flight in London had been delayed, and once we entered the lounge there, the staff told us that they’d let us know when it was time to board. No such luck in Dubai! The staff seemed to announce every flight EXCEPT for ours. Finally at 20 minutes before take off, Kyle walked to the flight board and saw that it read “Final Boarding” for our flight, and we all took off running. Who knows when the next possible flight to Perth would be, and whether or not seats would be available? None of us wanted to be stuck in Dubai, so we sped to the gate, and I led the way, thanks to my daily walk/run habit! We made it to the flight with about 5 minutes to spare and promptly all fell asleep!

Wednesday evening: Perth! We lost an entire day, but arrived just in time for sunset in the land down under. As we crossed over land, having spent many hours over the Indian Ocean, it thrilled me to see yet another continent. We arrived at the Burswood Entertainment Centre, had dinner and attempted to get some rest. I was fine and slept the whole night, but many in the group were unable to sleep at all.

On Thursday morning, I woke up around 9am and walked into Perth along the Swan River. What a beautiful view! It reminded me in some ways of walking around Lake Merrit back home. The sky is blue, the temperature in the low 70s. Ah! I walked for about 40 minutes to a grocery store in the city, and walked back carrying 5 liters of water and a few other items. No need for the gym today! My biceps were sore for the rest of the day!
As soon as I walked into my hotel room, Nate called and told me that he and several of the guys were heading into town for lunch, so I quickly showered, dressed and met them in the lobby to take the train back into Perth. Most of the guys ate American style fast food (you know the chains), but Nate, Errol and I had some yummy noodles at a Japanese noodle shop. I know that some people are less adventurous eaters, but I can’t eat the same old thing when I’m thousands of miles away, in another culture. Granted, given my disdain for all things meat based, I would have a challenge in those cultures that emphasize meat, but I’m willing to try just about anything (within limits…I don’t see myself eating anything wiggly or smelly on the plate!). I can’t wait to try some authentic Australian cuisine. I must admit that I’m rather ignorant about it (“Shrimp on the Barbi” and Barramundi excepted), but hope to learn!
After a quick shopping trip (I found fantastic souvenirs at an Aboriginal art gallery), we returned to the hotel, where despite sleeping the entire night, I took an hour nap. We all met in the lobby (including poor LaTanya, who really hasn’t slept much at all) and walked to dinner at a local steak house. The food was tasty if not inspired, and they even had veggie offerings for me. We headed into the Casino briefly, had drinks and became more and more drowsy, finally giving up and giving in to sleep around midnight.

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