Finally, the blog about my holiday ...

Since 2006 rolled in, it seems that all my creativity has evaded me. One can say it is a writer's block. Although there is a lot to write about including requests to write about my great vacation in Australia, I face a blank wall. Words don't flow; sentences don't complete to be paragraphs.

Today, I endeavor to blog. It is a cloudy day outside. It feels damp though there is no rain and it is a perfect day to crawl under a warm blanket to read a book. But as I promised while I was in Princeton, I will write something about my holidays. Yeah, it is long overdue and people who have requested may have forgotten :>> ... But a promise is a promise. I don't like broken promises. So here is the abbreviated version of my holidays.

My holiday started with a long plane trip to Melbourne. What was suppose to be a 16 hour flight (San Francisco-Sydney-Melbourne) turned out to a 24 hour flight. My straight flight from SFO to SYD had to make a detour. After passing Hawaii, the plane had to turn around due to a medical emergency in the plane. So I got to watch the fire engines and paramedics await the arrival of our plane - the flashing lights, and all. Yup, it is like a scene from the movies. We were asked to stay in our seats but since I was in the aisle I got to watch them deplane the poor sick passenger in a stretcher.

Of course the detour made me miss my connecting flight. So, I had to go to the Qantas counter to get a new flight to MEL. From Sydney, I sent a text message to my brother-in-law so they know what flight I finally got on. While waiting in the plane in Honolulu, I sent my family a text message but I had no idea what time or what flight I can get when I reach Sydney.

Reaching Melbourne airport was great. I was tired from the long flight but I was so happy to see my sister, Louie and my brother-in-law, Joey by the gate. Yes, people can wait for passengers by the gate, unlike in the US where we are not allowed beyond the security check-in. My other sister, Ellen and brother-in-law, Pablo (who arrived weeks before from San Diego) and the kids stayed at home to wait for me there.

The welcome was great. I had a welcome sign in Athena's room where I have been designated to stay. Sophia made this heart-warming sign:

Welcome Sign
Click to view original size

Having been to Melbourne a few times, I did not go to see the city. We went to see Williamstown, Frankston Waterfront, Geelong and other places. It was nice to see the kids play in sand, build sand castles and enjoy the care-free days of being a non-adult.

Click to view original size
Click to view original size

We also rode the Queenscliff-Sorrento Ferry.

Queenscliff-Sorrento Ferry
Click to view original size

We did the breathtaking drive through the Great Ocean Road. We rented a house in Torquay. Drove to see the famous Twelve Apostles.

Twelve Apostles1
Click to view original size
Twelve Apostles2
Click to view original size

Of course there is Christmas - the joy of seeing everyone open their gifts, share special moments and private jokes. There is New Year's eve too - partying and welcoming the New Year with sparklers and lots of noise.

Days went very fast and soon enough it was time to take my plane back. It is always hard to say goodbye. At the Melbourne airport, we shed tears and wished we can just all be together.

For reasons I don't remember, my plane to Sydney did not take off right away. Hence by the time I arrived in Sydney and went to checkin at United, the gate was closed! The United Airlines ground crew were very helpful and made everything possible for me so I don't miss my flight. A ground crew member ran with me from the check-in counter through immigrations and customs all the way to the gate. Yes in 41 degrees Celsius (105.8 degrees Fahrenheit) Sydney heat!

It was a great holiday. I wish my brothers and their families who were not able to join us were with us. The vacation was made even more special because of the love from the family and the sweetness of Athena, Sophia, Aletheia and Federico. Athena and Sophia composed and sang their song for us. The night before I left, Aletheia played her guitar with Federico singing. There are so many special moments that no words can describe. Thanks to my brother-in-law, Joey, who made DVDs of our vacation, I can try to recapture some special moments back here at home.

Camel at Sunset

So, there I was, pulling out the logjam of mail that fills our company post office box between my weekly visits, when I noticed the yellow card stating that I have a package to pick up. I go up to the counter, and hand my card to the clerk, who goes into the back and begins searching for the package. 'Tis not in the normal storage area, so they all begin looking for it. They finally find it way in the back leaning against a wall. It wasn't in a bin, because it wouldn't fit. The clerk comes towards me carrying this obviously heavy, long, wide, but thin package.

Having talked to my old college chum, Mike, over the holidays, the package struck an eerie chord of familiarity with me.

As she comes out of the back into the counter area, the package strikes the wall switches, plummeting the entire post office into darkness.

When the lights come back on, I see that it's from my pal Bunkey currently working as a project manager in Iraq. "On no" I think, "it can't be". I carry it out to the car, and before I even open it, I call Mike.

"I just got this package from Iraq"

Mike: "Have you opened it?"

"I'm afraid to"

Mike: "Is it about 3 feet long by 18 inches wide?"

"Yes, and only about two inches thick."

Mike: "Well open it already."

So, I move to back of the Highlander, and using my trusty leatherman, slit the tape and slide out this long wooden plaque, and a simple handwritten note in red ink "Dec 2005 - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year - Bruce".

Wooden Name Plaque with a Camel
Click to view original size

My name with a camel in front of a setting sun... or is it a rising sun? Mike got tanks. I did the reliability study for the A1E1 tank recovery vehicle back in the 80's. Do I get tanks? No! I have my pilot license. Do I get planes? No. Maybe it's time to take up camel racing. I love learning more than doing, and that definitely seems like an hobby I wouldn't pursue long. &#59;)

After some discussion, Mike and I decided the best use for the plaque. Let's see, too heavy to hang on a wall, especially in earthquake country. Attach four legs to the back, add a glass top, and use it for a laptop table, so in my dotage, when I'm blogging, I can look down and remember who I am. That's what I'll do; yep, yep, yep.

Princeton Was So Cold

Our meeting in Princeton, NJ went very well. It was so cold though, about 15F at night; ice on the roads, not fun. I'm glad that I live in an area where I can drive a few hours to visit snow, but never need to shovel it. B)

No wifi at EWR, at least not in the Continental area. Actually, my wireless configurator did see an wireless access point, COwlan; but it required a certificate to logon, and the counter folk didn't know anything about it. /sigh

But we're back in sunny California, and even here on the San Mateo Coastside, it is bright and sunny today.

First Blog for the Year

Sorry all for not blogging. Yes, I'm back from my trip to Melbourne. But, I am in New Jersey right now. I am sure I will get to blog about my Australia trip to satisfy the requests out there. Hopefully, I'll get to do that when I get back from this New Jersey trip.

It is a cold night here in Princeton, New Jersey. Snow is in the ground. We arrived late at the hotel, almost midnight. The flight was very delayed.

Anyway, it is early morn here and I promise to find time to blog again. &#59;D

On the Way to Princeton

Clarise and I are at SFO on our way, via EWR to conduct a roundtable discussion in Princeton, NJ. We have a fair WiFi connection in the Continental terminal - out in the hallway. It might be better when we move closer to the gate.

I understand that it's snowing in New York. Our flight has moved from being delayed 10 minutes to being delayed one hour and 15 minutes. /sigh

One of these days, I have to remember to buy gloves, other than ski gloves - too cumberson for driving. I dread getting in that rental car and grabbing that ice cold steering wheel. |-| /brrrr!

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The TeleInterActive Press is a collection of blogs by Clarise Z. Doval Santos and Joseph A. di Paolantonio, covering the Internet of Things, Data Management and Analytics, and other topics for business and pleasure. 37.540686772871 -122.516149406889



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