Manly, AU Redux . . .
For the umpteenth time. I’m looking forward to yet another month of that broad, smiling beach. I think this is my 5th visit in the past 8 years. For another blog about the area, see www.sprangleblog.com.
Home exchanges really work. Sometimes. Then again, sometimes they don’t. But that’s for later.
Right now, two weeks before Christmas, 2009, I’m on a Continental flight from Newark to Los Angeles, some 35,000 feet above FlyoverLand, USA, skimming across the rumpled white quilt of clouds that are hiding a raging midwestern blizzard. I’ve got a Bach Orchestral Suite on the headphones to charm away the boredom. I’ve had the “meal” (don’t ask) and seen the movie that started shortly after we took off. “High Society” (Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Louie Armstrong, Grace Kelly and Celeste Holm – more on that later.)
I’m heading for a condo in QueensCliff, above the north end of Manly Beach, Australia, one of my favorite destinations in the world. The area is home to my son John (www.harkinsmusic.com) and his two sons. That’s 3-year-old Reily appearing in the banner that occasionally pops up at the top of these pages.
Before I left home, one of the clients of my Internet business asked, “What did you tell your home exchange partner about Jersey City that she was willing to swap her place above that beach for your little studio in Jersey City?”
I explained to him that it was a purely market-driven transaction. I apparently was the only one in the online home exchange system to offer a one-month home exchange, reasonably close to Times Square, in exchange for a place reasonably close to Manly Beach. As Sammy Davis once explained the reason for his success, “Most of it is simply showing up for the gig.”
So, although it will take a little more than 28 hours to get to Oz, I’m showing up. Aside from grandchildren. Manly has many other attractions, such as the one to the left. Click to enlarge.
It’s a ordeal for anyone. At 76 years old, it’s even tougher.
Leave home 2 hours before flight time for the 15 minute ride to Newark Aiport, 6-plus hours flight from EWR to LAX, 4-plus hours layover in LA before the 16-plus hours agony across the faceless Pacific Ocean allegedly down there in the dark, to SYD. Do the math. Greater love hath no man for his grandsons who live in Australia.
With the “help” of Virgin Australia Airlines, the normally 28 hour trip became 52 hours of frustration, lousy service and corporate arrogance. That’s the next entry below.