Kam drove me to SFO on Tuesday night; got on plane fine. My plan was to stay awake for the first five or six hours of the flight (so as to get five or six hours' sleep before they woke us for breakfast a couple hours before landing), but as it turned out, I couldn't keep my eyes open after a couple hours, and it didn't occur to me to use caffeine.
So I drifted in and out of sleep for most of the flight. Basically uneventful. Eventually woke up, did some magazine reading, read Mary Anne's novel draft, had breakfast, and then we were arriving in Sydney.
A flight attendant came by handing out landing cards. I wasn't sure what they were or whether I needed one, so I asked, and the following conversation ensued:
Flight Attendant [American accent]: Where are you going?
F.A.: Oh, Perth, okay, then you don't need this—
Me [trying to enunciate]: Mell-born.
F.A.: Oh, Melbin.
I've heard Australians say “Melbourne,” but I assumed that the dropped R was because of their accent, and that in an American accent it would be more like “mell-burn” (but I got flustered and mispronounced that second syllable). But apparently not.
I'm still not sure how she heard “Perth,” though.
Anyway, made it through the Sydney airport, made it to Melbourne, made it through confusing customs/immigration/quarantine lines, got my suitcase (which apparently fell in a puddle at some point, as the contents at one end are soaked). Got in an airport shuttle, which took about an hour, between delays and dropping everyone else off first.
Eventually arrived at the Grand Hotel, which so far appears to be disorganized and confused, or maybe it's just that the clerk I talked with is new to the job. Am appalled to learn that Internet access costs AU$.50/minute at what purports to be a fairly high-end hotel. Am currently hanging out at the tours+Internet place, the Neighbours Centre, at 570 Flinders Street, across the street and around the corner from the Grand; they seem friendly, and Internet access is AU$4/hour, or AU$10/day. Much better.
My goal for tonight is to stay up 'til at least 10 p.m. local time, so as to try to shift more toward a local schedule. We'll see how well it works.
In other news, I don't seem to have data access from my phone. Grr. Will try and get that working; I hadn't quite realized how much I rely on Google Maps and GPS on my phone to get me around in unfamiliar cities.
Okay, off to do more email; then back to the hotel to see if my room is ready; then over to convention center to check in and get con badge.