Looking out East to Tonto National park after a hard two days of travel and meetings. Happy I was, when one of my local colleagues takes me for a drive in his new jeep to see how it is in his country. This is Apache country and looking down from Humboldt mountain a little north east across Horseshoe Lake. The ancient volcanic ranges drifting eastward from the San Andreas fault have created such a beautiful landscape and the sunsets are just outstanding. To the south part of the Tonto are the Superstition Mountains, where the myths and legends of ‘The Lost Dutchman’s mine’ originate from the 19th century. The mine, should it exist, has since never been found. Nevertheless more travel calls and I’ll have to save solving the mystery of the missing mine for another day, and I’ll be in Boston by this evening.
Movies with the hum drum cancelled out
then the flight entertainment
system gives out !
will 14 hours go by
in the dark wondering why ?
lets reboot the system now, and again, and again
to avoid the long return to amend.
The pacific is a big ocean with few places for large planes to stop and get some repairs done. Sometime’s its best to go back and start all over having found a mechanic and done some tweaks. On more than one occasion, passengers collectively pray for a solution, or drink less water, or think lighter thoughts. Anything but have to return to Sydney and start out on that trans-pacific crossing again.
This time we were fortunate and the entertainment system for the entire plane only required 3 reboots and a cool-down to get started up and everyone breathe easy over not having to get out packs of non-existent cards and play solitaire.
Having arrived in SFO it became the battle of the trains. The sheer size of the Caltrain running north to San Fran and south into the Silicon dwarfs the little BART [Bay Area Rapid Transit] that feeds it. Its not just the length, its the height having two full layers of passengers running on powerful engines bending the tracks all the way south to at least San Jose. Even noise cancellation doesn’t operate on the Caltrain platform when that big baby rolls in. The entertainment is of course the view rolling through Silicon Valley with a sunny blue sky looking with jet-lagged eyes.
Somehow a journey always starts with a bridge to somewhere. I’ve brushed off the sand and shelved the flip-flops, but packed the waterproof snow boots. Got up early in fact to see if I could get a start on those final emails, before setting of on the next great cyber-terrestrial journey. It’ll be around the world and probably take a whole month before getting back home. Not sure if I would have gained or lost a day on the way north-east and around the outback of the globe to Sydney. Its all a bridge to somewhere. People talk about the journey, but I tend to think as before and after the journey – joined by two bridges – one at the beginning – leaving home – and one at the end – arriving and thinking about normal life once more.
Anyway bridge number one being the Sydney Harbour bridge – a well known landmark is always a great physical expression of that journey from the bush down to the airport. I try to catch a cab or a train over it – probably to say goodbye somehow in my head to all the local domestic things and hello to the next phase of the journey. Today however, with the morning light fading to Autumn in a few days time, the radio chimes out about a multi-car pileup on the bridge with delays and cell phone calls hanging in clouds of frustration among the thousands of cars stuck fast on it’s superstructure.
So – backup bridge plan in Sydney is to catch a country train over a smaller bridge, way up river from the harbour and which offers a convenient bypass to all the snarl-ups on the great coat-hanger. Not the bridge I imagined, but a practical one.
Its around a 50 minute train[s] to the International airport, covering most of Sydney from the North to the inner South where the airport is located. Jutting out into Botany Bay are the two main North South runway’s we’ll be taking off from. Rain set in just crossing the bridge and now it’s damp, cloudy and otherwise – not pleasant outside. This seems to be what is left of the tropical cyclones which just devastated Yeppoon and Rockhampton earlier in the week. A category 5 storm, which by the time it hit’s Sydney is really just rain and cloud swirling down from the north east coast.
Even the barman is not standing around at the Bondi Bar at the International airport terminal. That’s how deserted it can be on a mid week afternoon. The flight will leave mid afternoon and arrive in the morning sometime pacific time.
Leaving Sydney today. The trip plan includes San Francisco first stop, then a continuing arc through NA and Canada and on to Europe in March.
First stop is San Francisco, where I hope to get a bit of rest from the flight and see some old friends. I’ll be travelling south into Silicon Valley overnight before getting out to Phoenix.