Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Jackson Grand Wailing and Gnashing Sobbathon

Steve (who lives in Vienna, Virginia), Muffin and Sissi.
We escaped from Peoria just in time. The National Bible Bowl took place in the convention centre next to the hotel on the weekend and we nearly got crushed up as hordes of Christians poured through the doors of the hotel. We were worried that we might get caught up and spend the weekend in the convention centre shouting 'Praise the Lord'.

We managed to suppress our latent religious tendencies and bolted for the airport. On the way I had a long conversation with the taxi driver about the prospects for the Ponies this year and the impact that the retirement of Tony Dungy had. Cate sent emails on her Blackberry and rolled her eyes.

United has managed to turn checking in into a special torment – using a system devised by the Gestapo. You now do everything yourself and no one will talk to you at all until you have a boarding pass. You go through this process – keying in all the information – while standing in front of the check-in person who now has time to file their nails or floss their teeth while they watch you without the slightest flicker of interest.

Having finally received your boarding pass you can then pass it to the flosser and ask him or her to change your ticket so that you can sit with your partner. You have to do this because the system makes you check in separately.

Well – we were sitting together – it's just that there was an aisle between us. But we were OK on the next two flights. I'm not sure why – perhaps a glitch in the system.

Travelling across America to take an international flight is excruciating because you cannot usually do this without stopping at either Denver or Dallas. There must be something in the Constitution about this.

Airports are one of the very few places in America where you cannot take guns – for a very good reason. The passengers would first kill the airport staff – and then each other.
The flight to Sydney was astonishingly good. United now has flat 'beds' and it is possible to stretch out –although rolling over is difficult - and we both went to sleep as soon as we got on the plane. This had the corollary benefit of enabling us to miss what I am sure would have been a delicious gourmet dinner!
We are staying at the Amora hotel in Sydney. I chose this after careful consideration of Cate's desires and needs. Needless to say she doesn't like it – and her level of hostility increases with each passing hour. As at time of writing she now hates, loathes and despises the hotel and all who sail in her.
One of the problems is that we cannot get our room made up. I don't know why – perhaps it is marked on the plan as a broom cupboard. Yesterday when we got back after lunch it had not been made up and it took us three phone calls to achieve the desired result.

I am not going to let Cate do the checking out as they may ask her if she enjoyed her stay and then we will be there for half an hour why she tells them that she would rather eat her own liver than stay in their hotel again. Of course I say what I always say – that I will never book another hotel room for us as long as my bony bum points to the ground – but we all know what will happen.

When we arrived at 7:00 AM on Sunday our room wasn't ready as the hotel was fully booked so we had to wander around for 4 hours or so and took a ferry ride to Manly and back. This was quite lovely and the harbour was sparkling in the early morning sun.

I was reminded that as a young lad when I lived in Manly and had just started work in the city I used to get the ferry and would pass by the Opera house construction site twice a day. Despite this intimate contact I was not invited to the official opening.

The hotel said that they would call us when our room was ready and – confident in the knowledge that this would not happen - we went back to the hotel at 11:30 and they found us a room – which had probably been ready since 8:00 AM.

Austrian drivers licences are regarded here with some degree of scepticism (well they are in German) so we had some degree of difficulty renting a car but are now the proud temporary owners of a Toyota Seca and were able to beetle out west to see Craig the World's Best Dentist.
We have the honour now of being the people who travel the greatest distance to see him.
I am pleased to see that Sydney's finest traditions are being upheld.

The NSW government is plumbing new depths of incompetence, drunken footballers are still raping, pillaging and defecating on hotel floors and the insane drunken lout culture has reached a crescendo – with more than 100 pubs being identified as trouble spots.
It also seems that there are no longer any street cleaning or garbage collection services in the City - or perhaps we are just being spoiled by living in Vienna.

I mentioned previously that I had planned to watch the Tour de France live in Austria –in daylight hours for the first time ever. When we decided to come away during the Tour I thought 'ah well – I can still watch it in the wee hours on SBS in Australia'
Well – not exactly – I see today that SBS is televising the Test Cricket every night so the Tour has been consigned to oblivion for the next five nights. Terrific!

As the only thing on TV at the moment is The Michael Jackson Grand Wailing and Gnashing Sobbathon I watched some of this this morning. Brooke Shields assured us that Michael is perched up there on a Crescent Moon watching over us.

Now there's a scary thought.

1 comment:


    Millions of little members of the worldwide F.F.A. (Future Followers of the Antichrist) have finally learned how to find a certain part of their lower anatomy and quickly touch it while dancing - thanks to Michael Jackson, the highest paid Lower Anatomy Toucher of all time! Special thanks also go to the Jesus-bashing, Hell-bound Hollywood moguls who were just as quick to see higher profits in lower anatomies! [Just saw this opinion on the web. Other grabby items on MSN, Google, etc. include "Separation of Raunch and State," "David Letterman's Hate, Etc.," "Tribulation Index becomes Rapture Index," and "Bible Verses Obama Avoids." - something for everyone!]