Flying here was easy. Air Zealand took me to Auckland in just about twelve hours. I flew coach, because all of the airlines flying vast Pacific routes want as much for a business class seat as Carmax wants for a reliable vehicle with just over a hundred thousand miles on it, and for first class, something that will get you laid.
My only discomfit was being wedged in next to a lady who I am sure is forever resolving to lose a few pounds. The wedging was her fault, because I suggested that she sit one of her two children next to me so we would both be more comfortable. The importance of sitting next to a small person when flying is something I have mentioned here before as one of my core principles.
She promptly flagged me as a child molester, naturally, because child molesters make the news and the vast majority of us that aren’t pedophiles aren’t mentioned much In the media. She used her bulk to shield her kids from me. I tried not to be bitter for the whole twelve hours we had together—I just made sure I won the armrest war, then had a couple of Steinlagers, popped a sleeping pill and got a few hours of cruising altitude shuteye.
Before I dozed off I marveled at the aircraft's movie selection, which was vast and universally bad. I managed to watch “Suicide Squad” in its entirety. I don’t recommend this to anyone else. After I woke up, I tried to watch one of the Hobbit movies, all of which were offered, likely because they were filmed in New Zealand, which country’s airline I was flying. After about an hour of it, it occurred to me that I was sick and tired of watching Orcs get hacked to bits, which was a thought I had never previously entertained, and I turned to a documentary about wildlife in New Zealand. Apparently they don’t have much of it, because a good portion of that show was devoted to herding sheep.
They also fed us, twice. It had been years since I had eaten a small, shitty, free meal on an airplane. Nostalgia failed to flood me.
After twelve hours of getting to Auckland, the three hour flight to Brisbane seemed much less annoying than it might have seemed otherwise.
I’m not one of those people who are going to tell you everything about a place after I’ve been there eighteen hours, but I was happy to be driven around for my first day of travel on the left-hand side of the road, although while sitting shotgun I found myself suppressing a urge to adjust the rear view mirror so I could see what was behind us, and stomping down on an brake pedal that existed only in my mind when we came to an intersection.
Other than that, I can report that Brisbane has as depressingly many McDonalds as any other First World city, but no Burger Kings, due to the fact that some other Australian restaurant had the rights to the name “Burger King” when BK decided to start selling Whoppers Down Under. Here you have to buy them from a Hungry Jack’s. Also, none of the headlines on the Sunday paper here contained the word “Trump” and a decent beer costs about nine dollars American.
And my bedroom window has no screen. Apparently here they rely solely on those mouthy birds to eat all the mosquitoes before they have a chance to nibble on you. So far, so good.