Two Yanks Downunder

A blog about the experiences of two Americans on their first visit to the fabulous continent of Australia

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Longest Day or Jindabyne Disparu (part 3)

Well, Qantas 11 did commence boarding on time thirty minutes late! Unlike our LA to Sydney flight five weeks before, Don was not seated right behind the galley with no leg room, rather he was one row behind that very same row and that meant two children right in front of him!

A lesbian couple with a two year old boy were directly in front of him and then a thirty something mom and a several month old girl to his right. The young boy of the gay couple did not utter a single note of crying or complaint during the whole 13 plus hours! The little baby on the other hand, had numerous prolonged bouts of discomfort that she was not shy about loudly and vocally sharing with the rest of us.

Compensating for this baby noise was the fact that there was no one seated next to Don on the right (he had the aisle on the left of the middle section) and so he and the passenger on the other side of the empty seat could divide up the space for their things or to stretch out a bit to one side. A really good pair of headphones and lots of entertainment and music with quality sound systems took the sting out of baby noise like nothing else.

This flight turned out to be a feast of movie viewing for Don: Spike Lee’s lauded Inside Man with Denzel, Jodie, Clive and Christopher (Plummer); V for Vendetta with Oz’s own Hugo Weaving, the UK’s John Hurt, Ireland’s Stephen Rhea and Natalie Portman representing the US; Thank You For Smoking with Aaron Eckhardt and Robert Duvall; and that slippery Jindabyne.

A lot of these hours and hours of viewing had to do with the fact that it is more difficult to sleep properly on a long east bound flight with time compressing rather than stretching as when headed west. Although of course the observant reader will undoubtedly indicate that when the International Date Line is crossed that Thursday August 17 gets a whole new lease on life (hence the Longest Day) which stretches time. Still, the night is short on this east bound flight and sleep was not easy to come by. Even with a significant sleep deficit from Wednesday, Don could only catch short stretches of sleep, to which he added many 20 minute sessions of meditation. Once again, just as Jindabyne was entering its final 20 minutes the entertainment system was taken over by the cabin crew and all transmissions ceased. The mystery of this film remains to be solved for this viewer. Laura Linney is searching for some answers or resolution, how do things conclude, a mystery that Don shall live with until DVD releases occur.

Once again all praise to Qantas and their cabin crew for taking such good care of us. We were well fed and attended to in spite of having the employees totally outnumbered. Some of the more adventurous and curious wondered how things must be in Qantas first class if we were so well looked after. However, the plan to take a serving cart and crash through to take a serious look at this secure and secretive world came to nothing.

Eventually, after about thirteen and one half hours we landed in Los Angeles. We were over half an hour late, so it was after 10:00 a.m. instead of the scheduled 9:30 a.m. Don had to catch a 12:15 p.m. NWA connecting flight to the Twin Cities that would start boarding at 11:45 a.m. Both baggage claim, customs and security check were mandatory before he could even leave the international terminal. At least he was back in the United States, but how long would he remain in California?


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