Saturday, July 30, 2011

Travelogue: Australia – Arrival (Sort-Of)

Eventually Mother Nature will deal with what medicine won't.

As I know I have mentioned before, I do not sleep on planes. Or rather, if I do sleep it is fitfully at best and it is not really anything worth writing home about! There is the notable exception of the flight back from South Africa a few years ago.

That flight seemed to take about twenty minutes. Of course, that was pharmacologically assisted! I had a sleeping pill that was prescribed to me that really put me out! It was wonderful! I took it just after they served dinner, and the next think I knew they were announcing that we were on final approach to Heathrow.

I did ask my current physician in Denver to prescribe something, but he is taking the more cautious route and we building up to it. My last trip to England I had something that he said would put me to sleep. If it did, it was only momentarily, because although I took the prescription as directed, I remember the entire flight. This time, he gave me something a little stronger and I might have dozed lightly for a few minutes, but I still had time to finish a book and a movie on the flight from London to Bangkok.

So, as we re-boarded the flight yesterday afternoon, I decided the just chuck it and see what would happen. Perhaps it is because of the lack of sleep, but I crashed big time! I just put the seat back (though not completely flat) and went to work sawing the logs! I woke-up a short while ago to the sounds of sleep in a dark cabin and my old self was back. According to the monitors, I got about five hours of sleep; and that's not bad for me. I often do not get that much sleep when I am at home!

According to the interactive flight map, we've just passed Alice Springs in the interior of Australia. My first impression of Australia is that it is dark. I mean it is really dark! I will grant you that it is only… what? Half three according to my watch, but I am not entirely sure that I have set it correctly. If I have that means that we still have about two hours of flying time before we land at Sydney.

I have flown across The States backward and forward at all hours of the day and night more times than I would care to remember. Even over the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Kansas; you know, the sparsely populated rural farming areas, there is light on the ground at night! That is not the case down there. When I say it is dark, I mean it!

I can see no lights from Alice Springs. Granted, the map may not be accurate as to what direction it is in from the plane and I may have not looked far enough away, but I didn’t even see the yard lights one would see on the farms and homesteads of the Midwest! I knew that the population of Australia was, on the whole, a coastal one, but I didn’t realize until this moment, how undeveloped a continent could really be!

The second impression I have of Australia is that it is big! Okay, I will grant you that it is a continent in its own right, and I will grant you that Mercator projections tend to skew the size of things as they attempt to display a three-dimensional surface on a two-dimensional one, but if my belief of the time is correct and my location is correct, then we have two hours to go and about half the country to traverse. That would mean that the horizontal dimension of Australia is roughly the same as the United States.

It takes just about four or five hours to fly from DC to California (last time I did it, at least, that was what I remember…) and we have just over two hours of flight time to make it from what is essentially the center of the country to the coast, so… Australia is BIG! What other wonders does Australia have in store for me? I guess only time will tell!

Wherever you are today, I hope all your experiences are pleasant ones!

Don Bergquist – 30 July 2011 – Somewhere Over Australia, BA02009 Bound For Sydney

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