started last night. Uh huh, counting down until the *next* trip to Australia, which is happening a year earlier than I anticipated.
It all began the last time I was there, half a year ago. Heino and I tracked Gary down; found the bastard two days before I had to return to Phoenix! Gary, if you've forgotten (or haven't poked around in the archives under 'our movie' over there --->) was the third member of the triumvirate involved in the making of the movie aforesaid.
Heino and I were the other two.
We spent a wonderful evening, the three of us, watching our movie and reminiscing. As the senior member I wussed out around 3 AM - I was falling asleep. I understand the two of them kept at it for another two hours! On the Sunday Gary met us at the airport as I was leaving and we got a shot of the three of us.
Well, just because I was condemned to a long flight back home to the US did not mean that Heino and Gary were. They, it seems, repaired to Garys house and continued the reminiscence.
Now you have to understand that Heino, in particular, just can't let sleeping dogs lie. I reckon he'd see one in proximity to a stick and just have to use the latter to poke the former. Hence the latest project - the digital remaster, in widescreen dolby thundervision, of our movie. I've been roped in to write the soundtrack. I'm not sure I *can* write 47 minutes of music of interest to a general audience but I'll sure try.
Hence the planning of a trip back to Australia in September 2010 - we reckon we might have finished the remastering by then! Besides, it's always good, on projects such as this, to have a deadline.
Things have proceeded to the point where they've already selected the venue, the Sun Theatre[^] in Yarraville. They couldn't have chosen a better venue! It is, after all, one the cinemas I used to frequent with my mates back in the early 60's when they still did Saturday afternoon matinees. If you can be bothered clicking on the link you'll see that it's moved on a bit since those days; what was once one large cinema is now 6, each named after cinemas of the area from the 30's on, most of them now closed and most of them once enjoying my patronage as a small urchin!
It seemed to me, a couple of weeks ago, that it might be fun for Sonya to come with me to Australia this time (September 2010). Thus to some planning. Minor details such as how much it will cost!
Now you can't actually book a flight that far ahead so we thought we could at least get some indicative pricing by looking at pricing for September 2009. It didn't come as much of a surprise; approx $1800 each, return via United, a little less on Air New Zealand, a bit more on Qantas and a staggering $3400 each on Singapore Airlines. Chalk that up to Australian Federal Government policy over the last quarter century; there were only two airlines permitted to fly direct from the US to Australia (Qantas and United). Air New Zealand get around that by going through New Zealand, which is, at least, in the right direction. Singapore? That's a bit out of the way but they're Star Alliance so frequent flyer points accrue.
Last week Delta Airlines announced their fares for US to Australia, commencing in July. Uh huh, that 25 year old (at least) policy is relaxing a tad and by the end of the year there should be 4 airlines doing US to Australia direct. The opening fare was very tempting, $A777 return. Translated into US currency somewhat cheaper again. I started thinking, wouldn't it be great to go, alone, a year earlier *and* go again in 2010 with Sonya?
Of course there's a fly in the ointment. Ain't that always the way? This particular winged insect in the unguent is that the quoted price is Los Angeles to Sydney. Heck, all I want is an extra hours flight at each end, Phoenix to Los Angeles and Sydney to Melbourne.
Deltas offering is ridiculous. To fly from Phoenix to Sydney on Delta I'd have to do the following - Phoenix to Atlanta, Atlanta to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to Sydney and then I'm on my own as far as Delta are concerned. Same on the way back. Total travel time not counting the Sydney Melbourne leg? 33 hours each way! Delta don't even list *my* Melbourne as a destination; they only have the one in Florida.
Thus, last night, I found myself juggling itineraries on three airlines, one to get from Phoenix to Los Angeles, Delta itself to Sydney and then the parlous choices in Australia to get to Melbourne. Considerable scheduling difficulties (do I really want to try and catch a 5AM flight out of Phoenix?) and the ticket price was starting to add up.
On a whim I checked the United pricing again. And bugger me drunk if the fare hadn't dropped a thousand dollars in one week. Amazing what a new entrant to the market can do! On top of that, it's the familiar route, on the one airline, from Phoenix to Melbourne and back. Drop off my baggage in Phoenix and worry about it again in Melbourne!
Some quick emails back and forth to Heino (I *do* impose on the poor bastard) and it was settled. I clicked the booking button and went to bed with visions of fish and chips, dim sims and the whole rigamarole dancing in my head.
Oh, the countdown? 184 days at the time of writing. Not that I'm counting!