I have decided to try and revive my blog. Facebook does not lend itself to ramblings and after my trip I realized how many friends don't do FB. So I'm back and hope to continue to post stuff on a more regular basis. At this point, I think there will be less craft stuff; it will still be a part of my life, just not as central.
I'm going to start with reviewing the 3 week trip I just had in the US. JD was with me the whole time and it was very nice spending time with him after Skyping for so long. I'm going to do my review in sort of reverse chronological order with what's fresh on my my mind: a diatribe on airline travel.
This trip was made in 3 segments: Canberra to Washington, Washington to Las Vegas, and Las Vegas to Canberra. The middle one was the only one that was on time, but shared the physical impracticalities of the others. I had airline agents make all the scheduling of flights so they can't blame me for not giving myself sufficient time to make connections, but I missed them on each end. Going over I missed my LA-DC flight, one of the replacement flights was 3 hours late due to weather in the Midwest and electrical faults that shut down Chicago O'Hare airport and therefore messed up all flights passing thru it. A trip that usually took me 24 hours door to door was now 32 without sleep. Flights were late consistently, airport organisation requires extremely long walks, and very little consideration is built in for transporting luggage. It's almost as if airlines expect you to travel without any luggage at all, because they make collecting it and moving it from one part of the airport to another (domestic to international, or airline to rental car, and vice versa) very difficult. It will all get worse with an ageing population with more limited abilities.
I refuse to fly economy class on any flight longer than 90 minutes. There simply is not enough leg room, with my already sore knees right against the seat in front, and I pray that person doesn't want to recline. There is now a class called something like "premium economy", depending on airline, that offers more comfy seats and much better legroom. While it costs roughly twice economy class rates on Qantas, I don't recommend economy unless you are young, short, or a Japanese gymnast. Even premium economy can get interesting when headsets are plugged in, blankets and pillows in use, seats reclined, and someone (even you) wants to use the toilet. Practice the limbo before your flight.
Airport design mystifies me. I'm sure there is some logistical reason for a flight to arrive at the very last gate in one wing of the terminal and you must walk to the very opposite end to get a connection, pick up your luggage, or get to the shuttle bus you must ride to get a rental car. These are things thousands of people do daily but little concern is shown for their ease of travel, again something that will get worse as we all age, and are tired from traveling. In Las Vegas there were 23 baggage carrousels, all empty but the very last one where our luggage arrived. In LA, United had 2 very overloaded carrousels for all luggage. Traffic in airports is a nightmare of
mazes, with insufficient room for drop off and pick-up causing
universal disregard for parking restrictions, and further problems for shuttle busses required for connections. In LA they were announcing repeatedly that their shuttle bus system was being overhauled and to allow sufficient time for moving about. I didn't know this till I was standing there waiting for one, so it was a little late to tell me this. Never sighted a shuttle bus.
This can make it sound like I don't want to fly, and right this instant I don't! But it's the only way for me to visit folks in the US and the only way I can lure them to me. My advice is to expect the worst, allow LOTS of time for connecting flights, and try to pay extra for comfort. If any of you are really serious about coming but flinch at the cost, let me know and I'll gladly help. All the airlines and airports tell us they are improving things but that usually means more shopping opportunities in airports, and a reliance on technology, which is great when it works. Australia's electronic passport system was a failure for about a third of the folks using it because you have to do each step exactly right. Sleep-deprived elderly people are not used to whiz bang systems.
Next post I promise to be more upbeat. I hurt all over so I will ned some rest but I will return with photos. Great to see everyone I did. I had a great time in Utah.