We arrived in Los Angeles from Little Rock via Houston with little incident. The Air Tahiti Nui flight boards in less than 1 1/2 hours, and the prospect of setting on plane for 8 hours, waiting, 3 hours, and then flying 6 hours more, only to sit in Auckland for 3 hours before flying on to Wellington, is, well, a little daunting. Though I’ve made flights of this duration quite a few times, I’m still a little amazed that it is possible to travel so far, so fast. I guess I should just find my seat, grab a drink, and reflect on how strange it is to be a 33,000 feet … while I’m at 33,000 feet.
Either the main battery or the CMOS battery on the iBook is simply hosed, and it came at a time when there was absolutely nothing that could be done about it. Katherine also experienced a complete battery failure on a machine with a very new battery that was completely impossible to replace in the time remaining. The whole event was very strange; if I had been asked to describe what kind of terrible technical problem could happen and cripple this trip, I probably would have put the failure of these batteries near the top of the list. But, there is nothing that can be done. We will just have to use the devices near power outlets for the next month and live with that. We’ll cope. We’re like that.
I found an interesting book at the end of the Atlanta DAM conference at the Georgia Tech Barnes & Nobles, which I guess doubles as their campus bookstore. I like to read travel books when I am traveling, only that I need the books to cover trips in area so the world totally different from where I am traveling. My current book is The Spice Island Voyage by Tim Severin, the Gold Medal member of the Royal Geographical Society and a guy whose passport is probably as thick as War and Peace. This work tracks Severin’s efforts to follow in the footsteps of Alfred Russel Wallace, a 19th-century naturalist and contemporary of Charles Darwin that can arguably be considered a co-discover of the theory of evolution. Wallace did his most important work in the tiny island chains in the middle of modern-day Indonesia, uncovering hundreds of new species, including the Great Bird of Paradise. Perhaps the greatest message to be drawn from the book is Wallace’s patience and good grace in the face of tremendous challenges and numerous tragedies, any of which would probably send most people off a cliff. Probably a good topic to remember as we board this lengthy series of flights.