[written at LAX American Airline terminal, 3 October]

Odd to feel relief at sitting in an airline terminal, but getting into LAX from Brisbane and then into the terminal area was harder (in terms of time) than any similar experience since 9/11. Security inspection itself was no big deal, but there were endless lines for every stage of the process, several having been invented since I last flew.

Friday, we visited the Big Pineapple. Australia has this thing where The Big... offers tourists (most of whom are probably fellow Australians) a cute experience with ... In this case, it was the pineapple industry, but right next door was the Big Macadamia Nut. Pretty educational, actually, but my real goal was to eat pineapple. I chose the Pineapple Special, a fruit and ice cream combination that just hit the spot. When I post the pictures, you’ll see that young Timothy (1.5 years) loved his chocolate ice cream just as much, More, perhaps.

Saturday—the trip home to Brisbane from the Sunshine Coast, we spent some play and tourist time at Mooloolabar (I didn’t name these places). The Birds were picking up a painting they bought on an earlier trip, and it was another chance to see the commercial side of Australian beaches. That is, where the (mostly) young people gather in numbers and density that make some people ask themselves whether they’ve come to the right place. The true right place was home, and we got there in time for Chef Stephen to concoct another Aussie meal, this time lamb. Oh, and Lambingtons, a dessert that is part of the Australian psyche (and rightfully so—they’re delicious).

One last night, and it was time for the plane home. No fun, of course, unless you’re flying First or Business class. The rest of us are crammed in with the pigs and chickens. Although I did notice that although the plane was otherwise full, the young lady right behind me had the whole row to herself. In my row, a Long Island couple was returning home after vising daughter doing some research at University of Queensland (and perhaps a little snorkeling on the side).

12 hours, and then LAX. I felt so sorry for anyone who doesn’t speak English well, because the complicated operations here at LAX defied any intuition. But I guess we were all Aussies and Yanks. It’s nice to be almost home, of course. The next leg is only 5 hours, which would seem long when that’s all you’re doing. In context, it’s a piece of cake.

I had an absolutely fabulous reading trip. Lucked into some books I would never have encountered otherwise, and all were great, each in its own way. Am finishing my first Faulkner—Light in August, and am sorry I waited so long to read him. Wonderful stuff.

When I’m rested, I’ll do some reflections on the trip, especially regarding the question of whether you should do the same trip. I’ll think about that...