Flying to San Francisco

Adelaide to Sydney via Qantas was fine. Sydney Airport international transfer feels like transit into a detention centre. The airport is a bit old and shabby- the carpet is threadbare in place and the ceiling tiles showed water damage like they had leaked a long time ago and never have been fixed. You walk down what feels like the back corridors to get on a bus in a forgotten corner of a car park where weeds grow through the cracks in the cement and the place is surrounded by barbed wire fences. It all looks a little bit embarrassing if this was your first impression of Australia the country feels like an abandoned drive-in theatre.

Sydney airport is full of bogans, not quite at Brisbane levels (not everyone is wearing “caravan park classy”) but much more than say Melbourne. Adelaide isn’t that great either, but they are wine-producing AFL-playing bogans, rather than Rugby League RSL pokie bogans.

Waiting for the plane to board, I saw my first Americans worth making fun of. Women with massive arses wearing shorts- they look like the woman Ving Rhames’ character in “Pulp Fiction” shoots after he gets run over by Bruce Willis- so meaty.

 The air stewards for both United and Qantas are all a bit older than popular culture would have you believe. They do their job well and are very nice and polite, but instead of being the pretty young things you’d expect from “Catch Me if you Can”, they actually look a bit Mrs. Slocombe:Mrs. Slocombe

and Mr.Lunt:

The flight was good but I was at the tail of the plane so very bumpy. At one stage I thought my laptop was going to fly up and hit me in the face, so I turned it off and put it away because a) it’s safer and b) people with laptops typing away on planes look like tools.

San Francisco first impressions are fantastic. Nice weather, good public transport- the Bart train from the Airport to Berkeley was a breeze. Hardly any graffiti though there are more homeless people than I expected- it’s odd to see a man asleep on a mattress on the side of the road as the train went through Oakland. I went for a walk around Berkeley and the University of California campus- just gorgeous, like a sylvan glade, complete with squirrels:


Berkeley feels like a winter ski resort in summer. Lots of people around and a lack of chain stores but instead lots of different little shops and boutiques. They are having unseasonably mild weather here (while the rest of America freezes, they just had a piece on the news about how to avoid frostbite). Tomorrow San Francisco proper.

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