Well, I’m back. Alien Andrew has departed, and it’s a nice cool 14 C again.
Rolling back to Sunday afternoon…
After posting my crop dusting blog entry, Mike P rolled up and we went off to the cafeteria to deconstruct the last few days. It was good to catch up before I left.
At around 12.30, Chris and Jen from newbeetle.org rang, and we organized to go to the Hofbrauhaus a few doors away from DefCon. Well, was that a hoot! Lots of singing and being (very) merry care of copious quantities of good quality German beer, a decent meal, and I was ready to be poured on to the plane. Chris and Jen are the best! They even dropped me off at the airport.
It was a good thing I was a bit sozzled – the TSA screening process is awful in its mediocrity and not ameriloated in any way by the absurd queue lengths. They didn’t ask to see my laptop working, they just wanted to XRay it. They didn’t hand search my luggage to determine if I had any ninja tools or anything like that. They just processed us like as if it meant something. TSA searches are a complete waste of time and are completely ineffective against an even half arsed adversary.
I was waiting in the public lounge area for my flight when spontaneous applause from the public erupted when about 20 soldiers from Iraq returned on a flight. It’s good that even though the war is illegal and the actions of the US leadership dubious, the public still support their armed forces. I could see the smiles on the faces of the men and women returning, and I could see they appreciated the public’s support.
The five hour stop over in LAX was ordinary with only one saving grace – I didn’t have to be re-screened.
The flight home was long and terrible – United as per normal put their most elderly of planes on the LAX – Sydney route as only Qantas competes with them. Qantas also use retirement villa planes for this leg. Very uncomfortable thin seats, with no entertainment system in the seat backs to play with. My seat wouldn’t recline as far as the seat in front of me did, so I was squished most of the time. Plus, the seat pitch was tight – about the same as Virgin Blue’s domestic flights. I will not be travelling United again.
Once we hit Sydney, we were screened… twice. Once when we left the plane to go back into the sterile duty free area near the gates and again when I re-entered the gate area. This was the only time my baggage was hand searched. I don’t know what they’d find after being screened several times already. Oh well, screening passes the time.
I eventually hit home around 1 pm after travelling again for 32 hours. I missed Monday altogether. When the A380’s come out, I will fly whoever travels point to point: Melbourne – London non stop, bring it on! I hate being screened constantly and pointlessly.