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27 February, San Francisco, California

Bruce and Michelle picked us up at 8:15pm and got us to the airport at 9:10. Once we got inside the terminal door, the United Business Class check-in was right in front of us. There was a couple checking in at the counter with a very large suitcase. As we waited our turn, we watched them pull the suitcase back from the counter and start taking stuff out of it to put it into a plastic bag. It appears that the bag was over-weight, so they had to split it into two bags. Chris and I started to get worried, since her bag is also huge (29″ x 20″ x 12″), and we thought it might also be over-weight.

As all of this activity was going on, a man and his wife got in line behind us. In the 45 seconds we talked to the wife we found out:

  1. They live in Brisbane half the year
  2. Cairns is nothing compared to Brisbane
  3. If we’re going to Cairns, there are three things we have to do. Something about taking a cable car up something and the train back down, and two other things we don’t remember.
  4. We need to be more careful who we strike up a conversation with in airport queues.

At the end of that 45 seconds the woman crept up to the couple reloading their bags to “get the scoop.” That’s how we knew the details.

At that point, it was our turn to go to the counter. Our two checked bags had a total weight of 103.5 pounds, so there was no problem. We made our way to the departure area with an hour to kill before boarding started, so we went into a lounge and got a glass of Merlot for Chris and an Anchor Steam for me. The PA system in the lounge was playing an oldies station. There was a courtyard right outside with a large fountain that had a row of jets. It was set up so that one set of jets would shoot the water high while the other set was low, and vice versa. Sometimes, the alternating height synchronized with the music, making it appear to be programmed. We still need to find out who sang “Those Were the Days” (“Those were the days, my friend. / We thought they’d never end. / We’d sing and dance, forever and a day.”).

We had a very nice flight. Business class is definitely the way to go. Plenty of elbow room, plenty of leg room, nice head rests and foot rests, lumbar support, etc., etc. Best use of 50,000 frequent flyer miles I can think of, especially since we get 30,000 miles for the trip.

The flight attendants were very attentive. When dinner was served (about midnight), we passed on the entree and went straight to the dessert course (cheese, fruit, crackers, and apple pie). C’mon, we had already had dinner and weren’t hungry! Chris didn’t even eat her pie. After that, we both took a couple of Excedrin PM and got settled in for sleep. Either we were exhausted, or the pills did the trick, because we both got about 6 hours of sleep.

After we woke up — at 4:00am Sydney time– I watched “The Thomas Crowne Affair”, which I enjoyed despite several interruptions for announcements that “the captain has turned on the fasten seat belt sign, please return to your seat and make sure your seat belt is securely fastened.” Chris read. At about 6:00, breakfast was served. We landed in Sydney at 8:00am, 40 minutes early.

The way I figure it, we spent a total of about 3 or 4 hours over places where the local time was between midnight and 2:00am on 28 February. Otherwise, we were over local times between 11:00pm and midnight on 27 February and after midnight on 29 February. We were asleep for an entire Monday.

Next day

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