"They" always say the the hardest step in any journey is the first. Well, when that first step starts with the alarm blaring at 5 am somehow it seems harder. After the obligatory airport shuffle I check in and find my first flight delayed by 30 min, which means my connection window has now shrunk from 90 minutes to less than 60. After flying to Phoenix I find that my connection is also delayed. So now a 7.5 hour journey to LA has ballooned into a 9+ hour trek. Luckily I have planned an extra day in LA in case they lost my bags. All my bags made it so now I have some time to catch up with some friends. After some time in the water and on the beach, we go crush some delicious meat, mushroom, double cheese subs. We lying around in a food coma for a bit we decide to take the beach cruisers out for a little tour.
5 miles later we end up in a restaurant that out friend works at crushing some awesome shrimp skewers and steamers with sausage and corn. A much slower 5 mile ride back and the day ends with an early bedtime as I am beat.
Monday dawns surprisingly sunny for LA as I spend most of the day on the phone tying up loose ends before I check out for a month. Not everything can be done via email, so a lot of phone time is needed to keep the 47 things I am juggling in the air. With a flight at 10:30pm we pull some strings to get into one of the hottest BBQ joints in LA, Baby Blues BBQ . A true Memphis style joint the piles of ribs, pulled pork, okra, baked beans, grilled tomatoes, and sweet tea fill my belly with a delicious American style birthday meal before heading off to Oz. With only 20 minutes to gorge before rushing off the the airport, we are like Romans with BBq sauce flying everywhere. Some hurried farewells and the airport shuffle begins again. I hustle and get myself upgraded to Economy plus which is a big swing for the 14 hour flight. Luckily I brought some reading material as the multimedia options on United are terrible. What major airline doesn't have individual screens on their international routes?? Weaksauce.
Next Post coming up as soon as possible. Touring round Sydney only a little bit lost.
The following is a list of recent books I have been reading. I took some time off writing to catch up on my reading :) I will be back on the blog with a big trip to Australia planned for August.
No Shortcuts to the Top Ed Viesturs - one of the first Americans to climb the 14 tallest mountains in the world. A great entrepreneur story as well.
Under the Banner of Heaven John Krakauer - a disturbing story about some Mormon Fundamentalists. Its a report and some commentary on a true crime that happened in Utah.
The Journey Home Edward Abbey A great Collection of short stories he says it best in the subtitle "Some words in Defense of the American West."
The Best American Crime Writing 2005 with a essay by James EllroyA decent book of modern type crime short stories.
To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. What can I say this is a Pulitzer Prize winning classic. An incredible view of what things were like almost 80 years ago in Alabama.
Levels of the Game John McPhee - A great short book about Arthur Ashe and Clark Graebner two tennis greats. A great simultaneous telling of a single match and their entire history.
Eastward to Tartary by Robert Kaplan - a superb travel book detailing his travels through the Balkans, the Middle East and the Caucasus. Kaplan has several great travel books, with a nice historical background as well as his experiences. It interesting to note changes from this book, published in 2001, and current events.
I Hope they Serve Beer in Hell Tucker Max - I found this guy on the internet years ago. He was transitioning his online forum/storyboard filled with his collection of blacked out drunken exploits, into a novel which according to the cover is a NY Times bestseller. He is very proud of this and it is impressive from a straight enteprenurial standpoint. He is one of the first "bloggers" to get a book deal out of writing. His stories are X rated booze sodden ego trips, but can be very entertaining.