Q: Are you going to New Zealand?
A: No, Australia is big enough.
Q: Are you going to Perth?
A: No, Kelly. We’re not going to Perth this trip. Although it does sound awesome.
Q: Are you going to Tasmania?
A: Not this time. Everybody says it’s fantastic. Maybe next time — I’m going to suppose there will be a next time — when we also go to Melbourne and Adelaide and Coober Pedy.
Q: Where are you going?
A: First to Sydney for a few days. Then we’ll take a leisurely route from Darwin to Alice Springs in an RV. After that time in the Northern Territory, we’re flying to Cairns, where we’ll spend a week on the beach. We fly back home from Sydney.
Q: How long are you going?
A: Four weeks. We return (hopefully) on the 2nd of July, just in time for a three-day weekend.
Q: How are you flying?
A: Boston to Los Angeles. And Los Angeles direct to Sydney. It will be my first time on A380. I will report back.
Q: How long does that take?
A: The BOS to LAX part is about 6 hours each way. The LAX to SYD part is about 14 hours. It’s slightly longer on each leg going out.
Q: What time zone will you be in? How many hours ahead or behind me will you be?
A: Sydney and Queensland are in Australian Eastern Time, which is UTC+10. The Northern Territory is in Australian Central Time, UTC+9.5. US Eastern time is UTC-5. And US Pacific Time is UTC-8. But don’t forget, the US is on daylight savings time, while Australia currently is not. So, it’s somewhat hard to say. There’s a web site that will tell you the time. And don’t forget, it’s probably tomorrow there, too.
Q: What’s the weather like?
A: Varied, but still nicer than America’s or Europe’s winter.
Q: Why are you going during Australia’s winter? Aren’t you going to miss our summer?
A: I will miss the long days of summer in the US. But I won’t miss Australia’s 120-130ºF heat in the summer. Or their biting flies and mosquitos. Or the box jellyfishes that shut down open swimming. Or the monsoons.
Q: What’s the water temperature like? Won’t it be cold?
A: I hear the water will be in the high 70s ºF. I think that’s warmer than the Milford High School pool in the winter when we used it.
Q: How did you get that much time off?
A: Brown seems very generous with it’s time-off policy, probably because they feel bad about not paying Lisa very much money. And I’ve been at MathWorks for over 12 years, so I accrue a bit. Of course, I’m using it all on this trip.
Q: How much does such a trip cost?
A: It’s not as bad as you’d think. About a quarter of it is just getting the airline tickets to Australia. The exchange rate is favorable for us now, and we’ve already paid for most of the trip — which makes the rest much less stressful.
Q: Do they drive on the right or left in Australia?
A: They drive on the
wrong left side of the road. That’s going to take some getting used to, and I’ve already had a couple dreams about it.
Q: Do they have ice cream there?
A: G-d, I sure hope so.
Q: Why Australia?
A: Why not? It’s big and dry and full of crazy critters and was settled by convicts. It sounds like a perfect place for an adventure.
Q: How can we contact you if we need to talk to you?
A: Call the house. We’ll be checking messages and calling people via Skype.
Q: Are there sharks?
Q: How are you managing your diabetes on the trip?
A: The same as always. Test and make small adjustments. I’m taking almost double the amount of supplies I expect to need. And I have a Frio insulin cooler that should help keep the insulin potent. Snorkeling will be interesting, but I swam all winter, so it’s not terribly out of the ordinary.
Q: Are you going to go bicycling?
A: Probably not. I went for a ride yesterday and realized it will probably be my last for a while. There’s a place in Alice Springs that rents bicycles, and there’s a 25km trail to a national park there, but I’m not sure that’s everyone’s idea of fun.
Q: Why are you going to see a big rock?
A: Why not? It’s big and red and sacred and juts out of the flattest land imaginable (or so I’m told). And I hear it glows at dusk.
Q: Are you taking a GPS so that we can track you?
A: Despite repeated requests (from Kelly, the web mapping guy) that we do this, no one has stepped forward with a GPS for us to use. No, we will not be taking a GPS, but I’ll give all y’all stalkers our location. Is UTM alright?