Diario - 4 Sep

last day in Australia. morning at Uni for last-minute e-mails. Closed bank account, got an international cheque in lira (exchange: 1215 ITL/AU$). Payed Markus for yesterday, and gave him the key to the office (so Alessio can use it from the start when/if he comes). Wanted to say goodbye to Gina and Angie, but I didn't find them, so I sent an e-mail msg.

Now I have to pack everything again! Obviously it didn't fit the same way as before, so I have to somehow reorganize the space. Oh well, the backpack is a bit heavy, but it contains all of the books.

Ellen and Sarah are a bit late, but about a quarter to four they arrive. Some discussions (Sarah wants to visit a friend of hers before going to her music lesson), but in the end we get into the car and they drop me at the station. I buy the ticket, and I board the first train heading north. Checking the timetable, it seems to be the 1623 train a bit early, but I discover (just a second before getting off at Thirroul) that it reaches Sydney Central, so no need to change. Actually I suspect it to have been the 1559 train running really late. Anyway, change train at Central for the airport, and finally I reach the airport, at about half past five.

At check-in the computer system locks up, blocking all check-ins (at least all Emirates check-ins) for half an hour. The girl behind the counter says that it's not the first time today. Finally my baggage is labeled and sent to wherever it needs to be, and I get my boarding pass. I take hold of a pram and load it with my backpack. The scale at the check-in read 25Kg for the other two bags, thanks Allah they allow up to 28Kg! The backpack should have been under 7Kg, but it's more of 10 or 12. Hence I need the pram.

I use the time before boarding (two hours, roughly) to eat some dinner (rice and pork) and look at shops. I point a couple of Samsung free web-booths at Slashdot and my NNetLib docs page, just for fun. I finally seat at gate 57 waiting to board. There are some little problems with the system, but they get over them. Seat 17D, aisle on my left, Italians all around, and we take off. Today seems to be a day of little problems: the safety procedures video is interrupted, lights go out, nothing to worry about, but all summed up together...

Nonetheless, the flight goes through undisturbed, and we get to Singapore. It is about 2am local time, and all shops in the Changi airport are closed. I walk around a bit, then wait to board again. The airport is equipped with both IP-over-IrDA stations, and 802.11 radio system, both connected to the internet, and both available free of charge. Interesting use of technology.

The flight to Dubai is uneventful. In DXB we change plane, so I have to carry my hand baggage with me. Fortunately just inside the gate I find a pram, and it gets quickly loaded of my burden. The shops have not changed much in two months. I see some plush camels, but they are all laying, no one standing, so I don't take one. Boarding again, six hours to go for Rome. My seat is 12A, window on my left, but 12B is free, so I seat there. Moreover, 11B and 14B (no 13, of course) are both free, so I can recline without fear of disturbing.

Passing over Arabia, then the Red Sea, Sinai, Egypt, even form 39kfeet we can see the ground, both from the windows and from the bottom view camera: desert, canals, mountains, Cairo, Alexandria.

Some hundreds of Km afterwards, I see on the forward camera some formations on the horizon: could it be Sicily? It's on the right direction, but can the horizon be so far? After all, we are still south of Greece. Oh well, we can find out: simple trigonometry. What is Earth's radius? Oops, I don't remember. But I have read a couple of days ago that a nautical mile is 6080 feet, and is a minute of arc along Earth circumference. And we are 39000 feet above ground. A lot of calculations later, we discover that the horizon is 390 Km away from our position. But how far is Sicily? I can see a map of our route, but without scale. I could judge the scale if I knew some distances or areas, but I know none. Luckily I can ask the Time Zone app to give me the distance between two cities: say Athens and Palermo. It is more that 900 Km. So it definitely is not Sicily. What then? Some ten minutes later the formations resolve into a bank of clouds. Still a long way to go towards Italy! However, the weather in this area is really clear: those clouds on the horizon were the only ones I could see.

A turn northward lets me know that our route passes well north of Sicily.

Actually, we just flew over Crotone, and are making our way north-westernly up Calabria. Here also there are very few clouds, and I can see the cities and the fields.

DatesCreated: 2003-01-29 10:51:59 Last modification: 2009-08-18 13:10:59