travel

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Flying home

in
Qantas Airbus A380

After a fun breakfast barbecue organised by Sue Ann and Trevor, we headed to Melbourne airport.

I had perhaps been a little ambitious in my packing, and the various souvenirs, and all the fan fund auction stuff put both my main bag and my carry on luggage over their limits. Oops. I slip away to remove a lot of books. I establish that I am allowed a laptop bag, so I get away with a couple of extra kilos that way.

I manage to get checked in on the second attempt, and head for a coffee with Sue'n'Trev. Soon it's time to say goodbye and go to find my plane.

After the security check I make my way to the gate. There she stands, the A380, huge and supreme in the afternoon sun.

It's quite an experience, even in economy class. There are a few neat features like a usb port for charging phones and things, and a network port that suggested internet might be available one day, through I couldn't find anything saying it could be used or what it would cost.

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Back to Melbourne

JetStar Airbus A320

After a most excellent party at Damien and Juliette's, I find myself back in Adelaide airport at an uncivil hour, waiting to board the flight back to Melbourne.

Today I'll be going to MUGS, the Melbourne LEGO Users Group. It should be a lot of fun, but perhaps staying up past midnight was not the best combination with a 06:50 flight.

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Wellington - at last!

Islands from the plane approaching Wellington

The flight to Wellington was fairly uneventful. The plane was only half full, so I had a row to myself. I watched the in flight movie for a bit, but it was pretty awful, so I snoozed for a bit.

On the way into Wellington, we were treated to some pretty amazing views of the complex of islands and peninsulas making up the northern tip of the South Island. Amazing fractals.

At the airport I was greeted by Norman Cates, a former DUFF winner and all round nice guy. He gave me a lift to his house, showed me around, and headed back to work. It was really nice of Norman to pick me up, as while I'm sure I could have made my own way, it really made it a whole lot more lot more pleasant.

I was fairly shattered, so I had a nap for a couple of hours. After getting up and having a shower, I felt human again, and caught up with email till Norman got back from work.

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Time to go...

in

Okay flight to Wellington is boarding in a few minutes. see you there!

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Next stop: Sydney

I'm writing this on an iPad in Sydney airport.

Nice bit of kit despite some minor annoyances. I miss Swype for the keyboard, for example. The kid next to me has been showing his grandmother how to use it for reading eBooks, and they can't seem to make the fonts big enough for her to read comfortably. But this isn't the place for a technology rant.

Back in the vastness of Bangkok, I was chatting with a chap in a purple Buddhist robe who turned out to be from Texas, but has been living in Burma (isn't that Myanmar now?) for the last nine years and is flying home to see his parents for the first time in tearly a decade.

The woman sitting next to me on thpe plane is a school teacher from Sydney, flying home from England where her husband was playing cricket, and their daughter lives. We comparg the Irish and Australian education systems. They seem to have a lot in common, probably because they were both set up by the British.

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Bangkok

Bangkok Pagoda

Bangkok airport is huge and modern and all looks very shiny. However, it is quite possibly connected into an alternate reality, with a vast concourse seeming to stretch to infinity. I walked for what ssemed like miles and came to the baggage collection and immigration areas. I didn't need either of these so I walked back and went through the security check for connecting flights.

The first half of the flight was fine, with a good selection of movies and TV shows (I watched How to Train Your Dragon, which was silly, but good fun. Hoping to get some sleep on the second half.

I think changing my socks would be a good idea.

Next stop Sydney!

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First stop off: Heathrow

James Bacon and me

Well, here I am in Heathrow.

Liam stood me up to go surfing in cornwell, but that's okay - I'd have done the same (if I wasn't going to Australia instead).

However, James Bacon met me instead on his lunch break, so that was cool. Then went to the pub for beer and fish'n'chips (that's french fries for any Americans). Going to head over to check in a while (just have to confirm which terminal to go to).

Also been charting with Kate about my programme items, so that was useful. Isn't the internet wonderful?

Next stop Bangkok.

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A Rough Guide to GUFF - part 4 of several

As with the others, this was previously posted on LiveJournal.

Part 4: So what actually happens on a GUFF trip?

In parts 1, 2 and 3 I talked a bit about what GUFF is and how it's funded, but now I think it's time to get into the details of what actually goes on when you get there.

Of course the details vary, and each GUFF delegate has their own way of doing things, but that's what makes trip reports worth reading. There are, of course, traditions that must be observed.

Every GUFF trip centres around at least one convention, usually the biggest con in the destination country that year. Naturally, when there's a Worldcon on either continent that tends to be the target, which sometimes requires a little juggling of the trip schedule to ensure it's going in the right direction that year. Other years it tends to be Eastercon for northbound trips and Natcon for southbound ones.

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