Reached final destination of Brisbane from DFW – the longest amount of travel time and most number of airplanes in a row I’ve ever experienced.
NOVEMBER 7, 2012 – WEDNESDAY continued – Errol, the driver from Supanova>> picks us up at the airport. While waiting for luggage, I see two people take luggage off the return, and then put them back because it’s someone else’s bag. And these aren’t the generic black roller luggage bags either – one was patterned and one was bright blue. Maybe something about travel to Australia duplicates luggage types. Dunno, haven’t seen it before, and I’ve been in a lot of airports.
Driven to the Sofitel Hotel, check in, and meet some of the Supanova folks: Felicity, Loki, Sky. I even get my own convention envelope with Felicity’s tea (yay) and fudge (I know who that’s going to). Hotel is very French, which means I can’t pronounce and don’t understand at least a third of the description of the room service items, but they have an American TV Tray that I’ll likely try later. Nice, simple room and while they don’t have a coffee pot (no great loss) they do have a hot pot (big win). The electrical sockets also have switches which (surprise) have to be turned on in order to charge electronic devices.
By now it’s afternoon and my friend stays in her hotel room writing toward an imminent publisher deadline. I decided to go walkabout a bit because if I lay down, I wouldn’t leave the room again that day. Concierge pointed me toward a Starbucks down at the Queen Street mall. Wander past the SB and up and down escalators and in and out of food courts trying to decide what I want to eat. Also find a grocery store and buy some large liter bottles of water, then back by the SB for chai and carrot cake and raspberry-pear loaf (why we not have that in the US?!). Walk back to room and discover how heavy two 1.5 liters of water can truly get in a single plastic bag.
Flip through the available TV channels, can’t make myself buy a $16 movie, ordered room service beef lasagna which, while very good, was also very large. Wanted to stay up “late” to better settle into this time zone but was clumsy tired by 8:30 pm and went to bed.
NOVEMBER 8, 2012 – THURSDAY – Awake around 6 am, meet friend for breakfast at 7 am, eat at the hotel buffet. Wow. Truly an international buffet – sushi and miso soup, cold cut meat and bread spread, make-you-own-granola-cereal bar, custom omelets, hot-plate meats and baked beans, bread cart, cut fruit area, juice bar, smoothies, pastry bar, and a comb of honey. Seriously, a honey comb dripping honey into a plate you then spoon out as much as you want. After breakfast, I showed her where the Starbucks was, we talked a bit with a guy at a nearby table who heard our lack of the continent’s accent, then walked back to the hotel.
She’s back writing and I have a free afternoon, so going to go out and wander around again. My “international” phone is not keeping a signal so going to take Supanova folks up on offer of buying a burner phone for the duration of the trip. After a hotel guy fixed my room safe so I could store the electronics away, I went down to the lobby and just caught up with a pack of people heading out to … buy burner phones. Slowly meet everyone in the group, including Luke Perry and Mark and Steven and Howard Chaykin, who is an instant acid test – you either like him or don’t pretty much right away. I definitely like him.
Had lunch at a burger place on the river, then walked the scenic route back through the city botanical garden. Weather getting a bit hot. Christmas decorations *everywhere*, including these silver slightly-more-than-wireframe angels hanging off lamp posts. I think it’s Brisbane’s version of Doctor Who’s Weeping Angels.
Back at the hotel meet Supanova Missy and Felicity helps me set up the burner phone, which is a lot easier if you live in Australia, which I don’t, so the help was the reason I had a working phone for the next just-over-two-weeks. I asked about going out to the koala sanctuary, but as it was already 3 pm and they close at 5 pm, and as there is also traffic and distance to account for, I decided to give it a pass. Actually a complete pass, as don’t really have enough time tomorrow to enjoy it either before the bus comes to take us to the con.
Back up to the room and go through a slight panic that the Airbook isn’t reading my camera’s SD card so all those awesome pics are now stuck on my camera. Have enough time if I get up early tomorrow to walk back to the mall to get a card reader because I *really* want these pics in more than one place.
Had dinner with friend at Harlequin Jack’s, a pub one floor down from the hotel lobby. It’s also a club you can buy a membership to which gets you cheaper prices and access to the game room of slot machines. After dinner, we went over her Livestream set-up but it was acting very wonky and given that we’re unlikely to have a wi-fi connection at the con, I’ll just be taking video of her panels and we’ll upload to the publisher later.
NOVEMBER 9, 2012 – FRIDAY – Early breakfast at a food court, soldiers selling poppies and remembrance wristbands, peered in the windows of the Pulp Fiction genre bookstore (but it was closed which is likely a good thing for my returning luggage weight), and back to the hotel.
I found an electronics store, Howard Norton, online and walked back to the Queen Street Mall to get a small tripod and a card reader from them. Really hot and humid today. Only had enough time to try out the tripod (works great) before going down to the lobby at 11 am. Trudi Canavan>> joined us for a chat while waiting for the bus.
Trip to the fairgrounds took a bit, then we were led up to the green room for drinks and snacks. Got to meet The Joe Abercrombie>>. Badges weren’t ready yet, so we went down to the Penguin AU booth run by the fabulous Felicity Vallence (is that a super hero name or what?). Made first non-functional purchase of 100 Doctor Who postcards that come in a TARDIS box – beautiful, thick stock, matte finish postcards most of which I will keep, unless it’s like a pic of the Silence dudes in which case you may get it in the mail from me sometime next year.
Hang out for a bit, roam exhibitor’s hall a bit. Dymocks (AU retail book store chain like Barnes & Noble) has a booth across the aisle from us where half the booth is authors signing and half the booth is book selling. I resisted going over there today, not sure about tomorrow.
Led away to opening ceremonies. Hung out in the small backstage room with the authors (Joe Abercrombie, Trudi Canavan, Rachel Caine>>, and Marianne Curley>>), the actors (Tom Felton>>, Gareth David-Lloyd>>, Luke Perry>>, John Robertson>>), and the artists – (Howard Chaykin>>, Shane Davis>>). I don’t do this to name drop, but to give you a sense of how surreal and awesome my life was at that moment. Left the backstage to grab a seat in front of the stage to video tape the Author introductions. Met everyone back at the green room, then on the bus back to the hotel.
Mostly offload video (this unfortunately became a recurring issue where it took several pokes to get the footage off the camera and on to the Airbook), got the SD card reader to work, had something for dinner but I didn’t make a note of what it was and I’ve forgotten by the time I write this up, then bed.
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