This post comes to you from the Sydney airport, where lolcatz and I are waiting for our flight back to the U.S. We're here pretty early, which is a good thing. We've learned on this trip that for domestic flights, Australians show up much closer to flight time than us Americans. For one of our Qantas flights, we were at the airport 35 minutes beforehand, which was pretty astonishing (and worrisome) for us--as was only having to show ID once and not take off shoes or coats in security. A very kind country!
And a great country. We've had a really fun time, even though I worked for most of the trip. Fortunately, I have an awesome job. We had a couple hours to explore Melbourne when we arrived (before jet lag put us to bed at 7pm), and in Brisbane, a cancellation let us go to a wildlife sanctuary and see all of Australia's animal kingdom in 2 hours. This morning before our flight, we had another couple hours to walk down to the opera house in Sydney, so we got to see something in every city! Pretty neat. lolcatz also did a few more things while I was at signings because following me around to those gets old after a while. He did a huge circuit of Melbourne and also climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which is kind of terrifying but has awesome views.
Here's what else we've discovered in Australia: the food is pretty fantastic. I had a wonderful time in Ireland, but we were about 50/50 with good food there (no offense, Irish pals). Everything we had here was great, though some of the places we were taken to were a bit beyond our low-brow American comfort zone. (Sorry...I just couldn't handle the whitebait. I don't like my food looking at me). I'm also not sure about the vegemite, though you can see I've been well-supplied. We learned that Australians are a hard-drinking people anytime of the day and that any name, place, or object can get a nickname by adding some odd combination of vowels to the end. Oh, and despite the Outback Steakhouse menu's claim that you order cheese fries by saying "chaze froyze plaze," this is not true--particularly since they're not even called fries here.
So, those are my initial impressions of Australia. Once I'm home and able to write more (and edit my gazillion pictures), I'll do some other posts about the trip--including recaps of the signings. Those, for me, were the best part. The enthusiasm here is still kind of surreal, and I really loved meeting all these readers. Thanks so much! Yesterday was the tour After Party--a 360 person signing at a gorgeous university hall, accompanied by a smoke machine, red-lit bar, and Adrian vs. Dimitri debates. Good times.
Okay, that's about it for this scattered post. Thanks again to everyone who came to my signings, and thanks also to Penguin Australia and Penguin U.S. who are responsible for setting up all the wonderful touring I've been doing for the last 3.5 weeks. (They're also the ones who pick the locations--not me!--so write to them (or your country's publisher) for future trips.). The next time I blog, I'll be back home in Seattle, which I'm really looking forward to. 24 days is a long time to be away from home. I've got lolcatz with me, but I miss the cats, using my cell phone, the gym, sleeping, drip coffee, and that writing thing that's my job.
See you all in the northern hemisphere!