So ok, here's the last little bit of venting I'm going to do before giving myself entirely over to the excitement: When you make a big trip as a vacation, you have some say in the timing. You don't go out of town for three weeks of the two-month Morris season for which you work all year. You don't miss the big annual band commitments. You plan your travel at a convenient time for the people you'll be visiting. You allow enough time, particularly when dealing with folks overseas, to find the right hotels and to make arrangements to see your friends. And besides, this isn't a vacation, this is work. Which is not the same thing.
But enough. "You bastard!" indeed. This is great.
Last Thursday I sent a bunch of email to folks in Melbourne. Every single person wrote back immediately. Folks I met at the SAGE-AU conference in Perth say they'd be delighted to see me when I'm in town. Other friends say we've got to get together multiple times. Glenn said he'd come over from Adelaide. The shapenote singers I met last September said they'd schedule a nice event. The Britannia Morris Men, whom I didn't even get to meet in the fall, said they'd get me to practice and if I'm in town on the 17th would I join them when they go out busking.
Ok, Steven, take a breath.
And then I have these five free days at the end of the trip that I've scheduled for myself. I thought I should go somewhere I have not been before. Adelaide. Hobart. Brisbane. But when I sat still and just listened to what I wanted I decided to head back to Sydney for a few days. I don't have the plane and hotel set yet, but I plan to leave Melbourne on the 23rd and return on the 27th. I fly home on the 28th.
Nearly two weeks in Melbourne, then four days in Sydney. You bastard.
The travel folks tried to put me up at a nice hotel near SGI's offices in a Melbourne suburb, but I said no, I wanted to stay in town (despite the relatively long train commute) and I wanted as cheap as we could find. Nobody here is asking me to go super-budget, but it seems right for me to make this trip as cheaply as possible for my company. mrrules seems skeptical about the hotel I've found, but I figure if I don't like it I'll find another. The travel folks also tried to fly me as far as possible on Northwest, since they are used to scheduling trips for people with infinite frequent flier miles who upgrade for the long flights. But that's not me, and I don't want to fly to Tokyo - Singapore - Sydney - Melbourne. So now I've got as convenient of a route as possible (MPLS ->LA- >MEL), where my biggest worry is that if my plane to LA is late my two-hour layover will not be long enough (it's a two-terminal dash and a separate checkin, I've done it before). But this trip is work, not vacation, so if I miss my connection I am missing a day of work, that's all, and not one day of my preciously built up vacation once-in-a-lifetime trip to Australia.
I'm going to Australia on Saturday, for two and a half weeks. I am such a bastard.