October 5th, 2002


Toastmasters Conference

Friday was a pretty quiet day, all things considered. We have now played both the board games I brought back from England, games from my youth. Go for Broke and Ulcers, thank you for asking. And Viv was delighted to have all the postcards I brought, to say nothing of the old family Bible.
Today is the Toastmasters Division conference, but I am missing one of these for the first time since 1997. Although I'm not feeling too bad, the jet lag is faintly in the background and it's hard to keep awake and asleep at exactly the right times. However, not too bad considering the hammering my system has had over the last month.
I have posted the short address I gave at Dad's funeral - typing out the words I spoke (or something like them) was much easier than writing them the first time or delivering those same words last Monday. It seemed longer when I was giving it.
This morning, it looked as if we had a burst water main at the top of the road, but it turned out to be a local landowner draining his pool. Pretty big pool, it seems to be, with the capability of flooding the whole neighbourhood.

What happen?

I wrote an entry describing my adventures at Universal Studios and it seems to have disappeared without trace, so I'll try again.
Tuesday morning I woke and had breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn. This was a full "American" breakfast, meaning that all sorts of things not normally seen together on a plate anywhere else in the world were served together.
I was told the best way to Universal Studios was on the metro. There wasn't one last time I was in Los Angeles, as far as I know.
To get from the airport to Universal takes two changes of train, an hour and a half and more than half of the whole system, but it was fascinating. It goes through parts of town I had not seen before. I was also somewhat unusual as a traveller on the system, as the vast majority of other passengers were either Hispanic or African Americans.
One I got to Universal, I started off by walking through part of the set of "The Mummy Returns" which is one of the most frightening experiences I have had for a long time.
I also went on all the major rides there, including but not limited to Jurassic Park (twice), E.T., Backdraft, Special Effects and the Spider-man rock musical.
Backdraft is a spectacular fire show, and was much more enjoyable without a son convinced that they were trying to kill him. (David has grown up considerably since then and I doubt if he will do the same next time.)
There are some elegant touches in the Jurassic Park ride - I think the damaged boat just like the one you are riding in is one of the best.
After the day, it was time to retrace my steps before the long journey back to New Zealand. I stopped off in Terminal 2 long enough to have a burger at the Cheers bar and grill before boarding the long flight south, which didn't seem to drag nearly as much as LHR/LAX had done the previous day.
It was a very unusual flight, over 12 hours but taking off after sunset and arriving before dawn. So we didn't see any natural light during the whole flight. Dawn had broken by the time I had transferred my bags to the domestic flight, and I waled the half mile or so between the terminals quite easily, with almost a spring in my step.
I was delighted to see Viv and the boys again.