Arrived at Sydney's Kingsford Smith International Airport at 0610 local after a surprisingly easy flight. United Airlines was on top of their game I must say. Pleasant flight crew, very smooth flight and absolute greaser of a landing, tail winds. My Business First seat was excellent (I actually got 7+ hrs of sleep with CPAP on plane). Got to see a couple films I had been planning to see (Robocop, Captain America: Winter Soldier) and a bit of the LEGO movie which was WAY MORE AWESOME ("Everything is awesome!!!") than I'd thought it would be. Ended up sitting next to a woman heading back to Australia 4 days after arriving in New York, because her father had passed away. :-( Chatted her up hoping to keep her mind off it, hope it helped, between the jetlag and the stress (they were holding the funeral until she could get back) she looked like she needed some sympathetic human conversation. Found out her daughter is a DJ here in Australia who just signed with EMI - 'Alison Wonderland' - so I need to hunt up her new record.
Was near front exit door so got to immigration and customs prior to 95% of folks on plane, and since we were one of the first planes in today (SYD airport opens at 6am for flight ops) very little wait.
Collected our hire car and drove out along the Metroad 5 (M5) to the West, to the Hume Motorway, and thence to Campbelltown NSW. Our rooms weren't ready wince we got there by 0900, so we headed for a local shopping center to do errands. Found it looked just like any other downmarket mall in slightly rural America, but (AND IT IS A BIG BUT) the donuts from Donut King were AMAZING. Here, if you order cinnamon donuts, they make them in front of you with cake batter and hand them over still super hot in a greasy bag. WIN.
After that, I tagged along while my friend (who is a native) went on Safari in the local market for all manner of Australian junk food from his kidhood that he can't get in the US. Violet Crumble, Cherry Ripe, Lamingtons, Burger Chips, Tim Tams and several others I can't remember at this time. Thus fortified, we headed for Telstra and procured prepaid SIM cards for our phones. Since we still had an hour to kill, we headed out to the Camden Aerodrome where we'll be renting VH-SDN. Met up with the folks I'd been corresponding with for a few months, and found that indeed they were holding my CASA Certificate of Validation which had arrived in the mail - the critical paperwork I need to fly in Australia. Although I don't yet have my ASIC card, they assured me that technically I don't need one since foreign pilots don't, and in any case I could certainly get along on the tour by just sticking next to the company pilots when getting on and off the airfield. I'd have gotten a pic of me next to the aircraft, but it was out flying when I got there, so pics next time we go (maybe Monday, maybe earlier).
Then we headed back to the hotel for freshening up and general unwinding for an hour or so. I figured I'd post a quick update.
Holy cow, I'm farther from home than I've ever been. I'm on the far side of the damn world. The in-flight map said, just before landing - DISTANCE TRAVELLED: 7562 miles - and that was from Los Angeles! I'm more than 10,000 miles from home!