The 14-hour flight from LA to Sydney was delayed 3/4 hour because Sydney has a flight curfew, in that no airplanes can land before 6am. Because our flight would have a tailwind pushing it along faster than normal, we had to wait on the grso that the plane would arrive no sooner than 6am. I would have thought the airline would just fly the airplane slower and save fuel.
I didn't know about the quarantine, and so I lost the carrots I took along with me. The other food was ok, including cheese sandwiches, mixed nuts, and dried food. If I hadn't declared the carrots, I would have been subject to the $45,000 fine of which we were reminded over and over again.
(I also didn't know about needing an Australian visa before leaving Canada, but fortunately the check-in agent was able to process the visa for me in five minutes.)
Waiting for me on the other side of Australian immigration was R. Paul Waddington, a fellow with whom I have emailed over the years. He and his son generously got up at 5am that morning to get to the airport on time. They work together in a computer consulting business, with the dad doing software and the son the hardware.
They gave me the grand tour of the Western Australian coast line, driving from Sydney airport (which is south of the city) south to Wollongong, stopping every so often along the coast, and giving me the history, politics, flaura, and fauna. Australian birds don't sing, they squawk. Gum trees smolder in a forest fire, and then burst into torches, because of the eucalyptus oil; on the other hand, they need fires to reproduce (so that their seeds spread).
After a wonderful two and a half hours along the coast line, we arrived at my hotel. It was still only 9:30 in the morning, which meant I still had the entire day to explore the city and the beachfront.
As I sat on a chair on the huge balcony of my hotel room, feet up on the ottoman, viewing the Pacific Ocean in the 20C sun, the beach and the distant lighthouse, drinking a revitalizing cup of hot black tea, I thought, "Yup, my work has taken me to some pretty nice places."
This being Australia, they have water kettles, not coffee makers. I had three cups of tea to recuperate, and then went on two long walks the explore Wollongong -- or "I love the Gong" for short.
The mile-long beachfront has been renovated over the last four years, with walkways and parks -- and beaches. The focal point is the lighthouse. Wollongong was a major coal mining city, and had a steel smelter. It still ships out coal, and produces coke (fired coal). That's why a dozen ships line the horizon, waiting for space to free up in the port.
I spent hours walking around, and for part of my afternoon, I took the free bus (the #55) that goes all around, the area, including past the University of Wollongong and a stop right outside our hotel.
In the evening, I was asleep by 5:30pm, and slept 11 hours.