well, I don't know whether to laugh, cry, or collapse, but I'm here in sunny Perth.  Warmer than I expected -- almost 30 today.  Just took a quick walk around the town center to get my bearings.  There is a small pedestrian-only zone for a few blocks around the train station, and it is hopping with people and shopping.  Everyone looks younger than me, significantly so, and they are wearing far less clothing.  Except for the homeless, who stand out because they are wearing crazy things like flannel shirts or quilted coats.  The four blocks between my hotel and this area are completely desolate today, with most shops closed both Saturday and Sunday.  I guess they roll up the sidewalks here....
The flight sequence actually ended up being OK, as long as I didn't think about it too much.  ORD-LAX on American was mostly a sleep flight.  The 757 was configured with AA's old brown leather first class seats -- I had forgotten how small and uncomfortable these were.  Reminder to self -- avoid AA's 757s whenever possible (sadly, they are moving them to the Chicago-Orlando route just in time for Lotusphere...).  The Qantas flight from LAX to Sydney was fine; food service was pretty minimal, considering the length of the flight -- a single tray dinner (no separate drink cart, just wine or water), and an average breakfast.  Still, the power port made up for it.  Starting in 2004, Qantas will have nearly flat bedseats in business class on this route -- oh well, timing is everything.  The three hour connection in Sydney was made much more bearable by a visit to the excellent Qantas Club lounge -- a huge place, with its own bookshop, buffet breakfast (not just munchies), and sports bar / wifi area with plenty of power ports as well.  Checked in at home...these time zone calculations are going to kill me this week.  Thanks to Volker, Tom Duff, Carl Tyler and John Head for saying "g'day" while I was plugged in there.  The onward flight to Perth was aboard an Airbus 330, I guess I hadn't realized that Qantas had finally gone away from its all-Boeing fleet (though they only have four of the 330s).  As the chap next to me pointed out, the business class seats were not impressive -- a 2-3-2 configuration, and with less seat pitch than AA's economy class.  No power ports, either, for a nearly 5 hour flight.  The lunch aboard that flight, though, was better than the trans-Pacific dinner, for whatever that's worth.
I read about 75 e-mails during the various flights, and put the finishing touches on the presentation I'll use at the customer/partner events Tuesday - Friday.  Monday's agenda here in Perth is customer visits only, as opposed to the rest of 'em which are mostly the one-to-many format.  Looking forward to seeing Justin, Justin, Michael, Colin, and many of the rest of you during this week.
In the meantime, I need to go try an "Emu bitter".  I asked the taxi driver what beer was preferred here in Western Australia -- since I have learned on previous visits to Oz that the beer preferences are quite regional.  Traveller's tip -- you will be pegged as a tourist immediately if you order a Foster's.  They may claim to be "Australian for beer", but nobody here actually drinks the stuff.  VB and "Two X" have been the previous recommendations in Sydney/Gold Coast/Cairns.  I don't drink much beer anyway, so maybe I'll just get away with a nice shiraz at every opportunity this week -- the stuff on the flight over from Sydney was excellent, though my body was not amused at alcohol consumption during all this travel.  Maybe another little nap won't hurt.

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