These make more sense in chronological order than in the normal blog-reverse chronological order. To set them off as other-than-normal, I have enclosed them in this handy enclosing box.

Thursday October 30, 2003

I got on a plane headed to Sydney, Australia after a week of frantic preparations in an effort to make a customer fell better and to maybe fix a problem in my code while I am there.

Mary was not very happy that I had to make this trip.

Friday October 31, 2003

Since I was on an airplane racing away from the rising sun and crossing over the international date line, I completely missed Halloween. When I landed in Sydney it was November first. Caitlin and Nelson were just getting started tricking for candy Friday night as I was getting ready to start Saturday.

I am much too tall to fly coach. For 14 hours. Banging elbows, knees and sometmes my head on everything that was too short, close, or small. The food was not bad (but remember that I will eat just about anything) and the people on the flight, both staff and passengers were nice, quiet, and friendly.

On the flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles, a woman was seated next to me on a trip to see her daughter graduate from University in Sydney. The woman, Lee Ann, is 'in real estate' somewhere around Atlanta. Her daughter went to Syndey as part of a program from Georgia Tech and decided to stay. She is a photographer doing freelance work for Rolling Stone. She is about to graduate and then her student visa will expire. She is scrambling to find some way to be able to stay in Australia after that.

The flight went well and we got to LA without problems. I did not like having to go all the way back to the ticketing counter to get the Quantas boarding pass, but that worked out because Lee Ann was headed for an earlier flight and got moved to the head of the queue. I was standing next to her asking for some instructions on what I was supposed to be doing and the Quantas staffer just moved me to the front of the line also. Lee Ann caught her flight on time and I had time to eat a passable chicken sandwich and call Mary.

The Quantas flight from LA to Sydney was very long.

Saturday November 1, 2003

For me this is really the same day as 31October, but it's too confusing trying to keep to the Atlanta time base while in Sydney.

Things did not work out for us to go to the customer site. I had planned on setting up the computers, checking on the network connections, and reviewing the last week's system status in preparation for work on Monday. Instead, I am forced to endure a walking tour of Sydney guided by the capable Greg. This was truly torture. It started with a great walk across the Harbour Bridge, taking in the gorgeous view of the harbour and the Syndey Opera House.

This was how the day went:

  • Nice walk around Sydney
  • Outstanding burger and beer at Jackson's on George
  • Cars on the wrong side of the road
  • Golf at Bondi (pronounced Bond'-Eye) beach
  • Five Dollar steak at the 'Tav' (St. Leonard's Tavern in North Sydney)

Truly, unspeakable torture.

All this worked well to keep me awake through the day and put me on track for the Sydney day/night schedule.

I went to bed about 8:30 and slept really well until about midnight. I woke up and called Mary waking her up early on her Saturday morning. Then I went back to sleep.

Sunday November 2, 2003

Greg was going to a cricket match today and invited me along. Cricket is sort of like baseball. In some ways it is more exciting and in some ways less. It probably has a few more rules, but not by much. Americans probably think cricket is complicated and boring because most of us are chauvanistic idiots biased to believing everything American is better. Aussies and Brits probably encourage this belief in the complexity of Cricket for similar reasons or as a big joke on Americans. Certainly cricket matches are longer that baseball. Today's was a 'really short' match that was only scheduled to last 6 hours. 'Test' matches (equivalent to Major League games or Series, I think) are scheduled to last 5 days.

It was a mostly nice day. Sitting in the shade watching the game is a pretty good way to rest away a day. There was a break for lunch and a rain delay that made the game last until about 6pm. The only reason it was over that soon was the game was shortened from a 50-over game to a 41-over game for the home team's turn.

I get to ride the train tomorrow.

Monday, November 3, 2003

The morning meeting went well. I explained a bunch of stuff, we made a plan, and now I can write code for a couple of days. All stuff that could have been done over the phone and in Atlanta, but it might be worth some customer feel-good and is easier with me being in the same timezone.

Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Write code. Write some more.

Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Write code. Write some more. Chase bugs stupid and confusing.

Thursday, November 6, 2003

Took the code to the customer site. There were some hiccups in the install, but after that it went well. Had lunch and watched the sessions run while writing some more code for the current release (the one I am not making much progress on while away).

We went to a food court at a mall nearby for lunch. It had a much better variety of food that the malls near work in Atlanta. I had a huge pile of Japanese food on rice.

One of the oddest things about being here is that there are so many things from the U.S.A. that I didn't expect to be here:

  • The anchor store for the mall is a Target
  • Domino's Pizza is here and delivers
  • Starbucks has coffee shops here

Some products here, of course, are the expected big names: Coke, Pepsi, McDonald's, Burger King.

Friday, November 7, 2003

Things went well at the customer site all day. I packed it in about 4p and went on a souvenier hunt for the rest of the evening. Apparently I missed the late evening shopping that happens on Thursdays. Most of the shops closed their doors between 6:00 and 7:00. I did get to see what Friday rush hour is like and it is about the same as in Atlanta: thick with cars; intersections blocked with traffic; horns blaring.

Saturday, November 8, 2003

My sleep schedule has made it almost in step with the Sydney clock, but not quite. I got up about 5:00a this morning, which is about two hours later than I have been able to sleep any other day. I got packed and then caught the train over the bridge to try again to get the right set of souveniers. Of course, nothing was open at 7:30am except the trains and, good for me, a corner shop with huge croissants and diet coke: breakfast. I strolled around The Rocks, the Opera House, and over to Darling Harbour taking some more pictures and waiting for shops to open.

I finally got into a bookstore for something to read on the way home (QuickSilver) and into some gift shops for a few more items.

I got to the airport and on the plane at about 3:30p. The flight took 14 hours back to LA and then another 4 hours to Atlanta. When I arrived the day was still Saturday and it was about 7:30p. Having a day last 40 hours is stranger than skipping a day.

Sunday November 9, 2003
Back Homelink

I am home. Pictures will be up within the next week or so.

Update: Pictures

Monday November 10, 2003

About the time I was getting getting on the train to walk around Sydney before leaving and there was little way for them to contact me, the software at the customer site crashed. One of the reasons I went to Australia was the hope that it would crash some while I was there so I could see it in action and get some data that might tell me why it is crashing. It did once on Thursday, but not since then until I was out of touch. Isn't that the way it goes?

Imported from a really old blog. Some links might be dead. Let me know if you find dead links.