to the day since I first visited the US. It was a company training trip courtesy of Hewlett Packard and the training I attended was for the repair and calibration of the HP 8566A[^] spectrum analyser. We used to call it the 'dc to daylight' box because of the incredible frequency range. My god how things change. Back then they were worth half a million bucks each but one of the links I clicked on to search for an image lists one for sale, calibrated, for under six grand!
For a while there I was the only one accredited in the Asia Pacific region to repair them, which accreditation didn't translate into a lot of travel - nope, HP Singapore or HP Taiwan would ship them to Melbourne for repair. Bummer! Indeed, apart from the US training trip, the only travel I got out of it was an overnight trip to Brisbane to replace the front panel metalwork!
I've written a couple of stories about that first trip[^] but I couldn't possibly have imagined that I'd be living here, a US citizen, a quarter of a century later.
I still remember the confusing instructions given by the rental car dude at San Francisco International. To get onto US 101 northbound go out that gate and then turn right, right, right, right and right. It seemed to me that if I followed his instructions the fourth right would bring me back to where I started and indeed it did, but one road over, a road one could not directly access from the rental car yard. Moreover, that fifth right did put me onto US 101 heading north.
I reckon it took about 10 minutes to get used to driving on the wrong side of the road seated on the wrong side of the car. Back in those days one could smoke almost everywhere (even on the flight) and I discovered that one great advantage, for a right hander, of sitting on the left is that the ash tray is where it ought to be. Nah, that's not the reason I ended up moving here!