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The journey really begins

Not quite gone yet

After the Barrytown adventure, we eventually got Fran all packed up and ready (a massive ordeal that she’d probably be upset with me over, if I detailed here), and we made our way up to Auckland to see our parents before heading off to Chile.

I had a couple of days to kill up there (Fran only had one, as she flew out the day before me), and we had a couple of free tickets we’d managed to score to St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, which was having it’s first year in Auckland. It seemed quite odd to me, as it started in Melbourne, by the people who ran the St Jerome’s bar, and actually took place in the laneways in the city. Some things to note:

  • St Jeromes itself has now shut down, because Myers wanted to use the building
  • This year’s laneway in Melbourne isn’t being held in the laneways anymore either, because of crowd problems last year, where lots of people couldn’t see the main acts, because they had been put in the very small and narrow Lt Londsdale Street
  • I am dissapointed about this, because my new apartment has a big balcony overlooking Lt Londsale Street, and I would have to got an awesome view of it for free

Laneways itself was alright, held in the plaza above the Brittomart complex in downtown Auckland, and wasn’t too crowded. We got there pretty late, and saw the 3Ds, Echo and the Bunnymen, and sat and listened to much of Florence & The Machine, who seemed quite excitable. We’d heard the Dirty Three on the radio on the way into town, and that seemed like enough for us so we went home.

Flight

Airports are funny places. I got all checked in and sorted fairly easily, after my loving parents just dropped me off at the door (after doing the long goodbye thing with Fran the day before), I got some lunch and pretty much then had to wait for my flight to board. I love the announcements that the planes are waiting for passenger so-and-so, and that EVERYONE is waiting for THEM. Even when said in a quite flat tone, it somehow manages to be completely condecending at the same time…

I wasn’t expecting much from the plane, as LAN Chile isn’t that known as a fancy airline, but this was an Airbus A340, and it was fairly new, at a guess. It had inflight entertainment units in the seat backs, which I was not expecting. All of the announcements in were repeated in English, which I was very grateful for, because it was at this point, I realised just how little Spanish I comprehended when spoken at full speed. Mental note: Watch the Destinos language DVDs at some point during the flight….

The inflight music selection was surprisingly good, from Metallica to Leonard Cohen to Gotan Project, as well as the usual chart hits. I watched “It might get loud” documentary featuring Jack White, Jimmy Page and the Edge from U2. Basically it’s where somebody put those guys all in a room, with their guitars, and they play a bit, and talk about guitars and talk about their musical backgrounds and stuff. Jimmy Page is a total gentleman, Jack White is the coolest man alive and The Edge is a total douche who still can’t play a guitar to save his douche-y life.

When the whole cabin is dark, and you turn on the reading light, it’s like you are lit up by the fire of a thousand suns. I didn’t read much during the middle segment of the flight.

Even for such a big plane, the bathrooms are tiny. I have no idea how people are supposed to fuck in those things.

Descening through 36,000 ft with massively blocked up ears from your persistent headcold isn’t much fun either.

I finally arrive in Santiago after 11 hours or so in the air, and after managing to negotiate my way through immigration and customs (even having accidentally not received and thus not filled out the immigration form), I come through to the arrivals area, and am greeted by Fran, who has spent about 30 hours in the air by this stage, and had been waiting for me for 6 hours in Santiago airport already. The news of the day is that her luggage is lost somewhere in Los Angeles airport because she was the only person on the American Airlines flight code, and everyone else was on LAN Chile.

Ah the joys…

Visits, zombies, more gigs and incredible co-incidences…

So Fran came over to visit, to check out what this whole “Melbourne” thing I’ve been ranting on and on about…

Highlights:

  • The Gin Club at The Gem in Collingwood – basically we were looking to go to a gig, and it was Sunday night, and I’d heard that this was on. We get into this tiny little suburban pub, and it’s totally packed out, standing room only. We then find out why; The Gin Club are just fantastically awesome. They’re a 7 (or so) piece from Brisbane, and all the band members write songs, and take turns at doing their songs. Everybody sings. At once. Just awesome
  • Empanadas and other South American sweet foods in Fitzroy. Also Churros.
  • Going to the State Library, both NGV galleries, seeing all the graffiti art in the laneways.
  • Managing to go to the galleries, Queen Vic markets and Luna park… on the one day of the week that those things were individually closed… no forward planning FTL.
  • Lots of wandering around town
  • Some really terrible grunge band at Pony. Followed by a better indie punk group afterwards
  • Catching up with Becca / cocktail bars

Photos here

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