Moai on Easter Island

Moai on Easter Island

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Another Post from LAX

The daze has already set in and I'm one short flight into this time traveling journey.  I say time travel because Thursday September 27th barely exists for me.  I take off from my favorite airport on earth (ha-LAX) at 10pm on a Wednesday and after a 15 hour flight I land in Sydney at 6am on Friday the 28th.  Time travel is totally possible, because time really doesn't exist.  Argue all you want, but time as we know it only exist because numbers exist and numbers exist only as a way to mark things that regardlessly exist.  On my way back in 6 months I'll get that day back. I'll land in LA many hours before I left Sydney.

Some of the leaves along the Clark Fork River think it's fall.
The company that I work for in Antarctica purchased this ticket for me.  They were really smart about it, because they waited until two days before the flight to get it.  Two days ago I received a ticket with my name spelled wrong.  No good for an international flight.  Late that night they re-ticketed me with the correct name.  Then I promptly got an e-mail saying the first flight wasn't actually ticketed.  Finally, less than 24 hours before I was supposed to leave things were all taken care of.  Until I got to the airport this morning and the flight still wasn't officially ticketed!  After many phone calls things got settled.  It really helped that the flight was delayed an hour.

This photo conveys my emotions of Missoula right now.

Afternoon sun in the Montana summer air.
When I fly I think of the take off and landing process in three different phases.  Different levels of pain or death.  The first phase begins when I board the plane and ends when it picks up speed on the runway and then begins again when the plane starts to really really slow down after landing.  Barring a massive explosion I feel like if the plane was to crash at any moment I probably wouldn't be seriously hurt during phase one.

The second phase begins when the plane starts to pick up some serious speed during take-off and ends soon after the plane is airborne and begins again when the plane is just about to touch back down and ends again when the plane slows enough to enter back into phase one.  This is the scariest of the three phases.  If the plan crashed in this phases you might not die.  Well, not right away.  You'd be seriously injured and then maybe die.

Phase three is the time in between the the periods of phase two; this is really probably the safest many people with every be anywhere.  But also if the plane were to crash in this phase you'd die instantly. Much better than what would happen in phase two.  All this goes through my mind almost every time I'm on the plane-except when I get into my seat and instantly fall asleep and wake up again when the plane is landing.  This is happening more and more and it's great!

(I wrote that last part back in Denver and after this last flight I want to add a phase 2.5.  This is probably my favorite part of the flight.  You're still low enough to the ground that everything you're looking at still seems real and the movement of the plane is more akin to an amusement park ride than the usual stationary floating sensation you feel at cruising altitude.)

Another afternoon sun shot.

I'm feeling pretty darn good after last week's appendectomy. My stomach is a little sore, but I could ask to be feeling much better.  I was extremely lucky to be at home and only about 30 minutes from a hospital.  I had an invite to go up to Glacier National Park.  I also had an idea to fly back to AK because some friends were backpacking in Denali State Park.  Either way I would have been in the backcountry and much further from definitive care.  But worst of all I could have been on the Northern Patagonia Ice Cap.  This blog was originally created because I was going to spend the next year in South America.  But I got screwed over by a company that I used to work for so that meant the whole trip was off.  The Northern Patagonia Ice Cap is one of the more remote places in the world with some of the worst weather anywhere.  This means getting to medical care in a timely manner is almost impossible.  If the Chilean Navy did happen to feel like flying in to get me the weather probably wouldn't have allowed for that.  And then the only real good medical care would have been up in Santiago.  I most certainly would have died.  So I do have to thank my former boss for being a saved my life.

One of the first shots I took with my new Sigma 120-400mm lens!

 I will be in Christchurch for a few days of orientation and "Extreme Cold Weather Clothing" issue.  Once I get some photos from their I'll post my address at McMurdo Station, Antarctica and other random stuff about being down there.  Also, by the time you read this I won't have a cell phone number anymore so don't bother.
Sunrise through the clouds and smoke.

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