The overseas adventure started on Sun 16 Feb 1997, when I flew out of Tullamarine in Melbourne on an Ansett flight to Sydney, where I connected with United flight UA862 to San Francisco at 1250. I had a reasonable trip to the US, the plane was relatively empty, so I had 3 seats in a group by the window to myself, and got a bit of sleep. In SF I managed a lightning passage through customs in time to make an earlier flight to Salt Lake City, Utah, where I was visiting Debra Venables for a few days. I arrived in SLC late morning on Sunday (same day I left, but boy was it a long one!).
It was good to catch up with Debra again. Unfortunately though, she was getting over a cold. She had to work also, as she now has a new job with American Cyanamid in New Jersey, starting in May. She's finished up in Utah in March, before a 4 week trip to Oz (in time for the National at Easter). Anyway - no more holidays. Still we had lunch together on Monday at a nice Indian restaurant, and then I spent the afternoon walking round the centre of Salt Lake City - had another look round the temple which is quite impressive. On Tuesday I caught the bus up to "Alta", one of the resorts high in the mountains above SLC. Had a marvellous day - they'd had 18" snow the night before, and then the clouds mostly blew away, so it was an intermittently sunny day - very pleasant. And the snow I'm told, doesn't get much better. I did mostly stick to the groomed areas, but did a few runs through powder (my reflexes aren't geared for it). The top of the highest lift I used was at 10,500ft!!! Great view! One advantage of Alta is no snow boarders, it was great! What's more, the bus trip is about an hour, and only cost US$1-50!!! In the end I skied for 5 1/2 hours, and had a great day. That evening Debra & I went out for tea at another nice little restaurant.
On Wed 19 Feb, I flew out from SLC with United to Denver and then on to Detroit. There I hired a car to drive to Ann Arbor, to visit Lyz Hindmarsh. Unfortunately Lyz had an even worse cold than Debra! Was stuck in bed most of the time I was there. Pretty inevitably by Fri evening I'd caught it. Ah well - I got over the worst pretty quickly, but the cough hung round for a couple of weeks. Didn't do a great deal in Ann Arbor - walked around town a bit, and went for a couple of drives to areas nearby. Did go to a contra dance on Fri with a friend of Lyz`s - she was originally going to come, but wasn't well enough. It was quite fun - pretty similar in style to a Sat night bush dance back in Canberra, only a bit smaller. As well as doing contras, they had a couple of squares, along with some international circle dance (didn't really appeal to me). This was apparently pretty typical format.
Headed back to the airport on Sun 23 Feb to catch a mid-afternoon flight to Washington DC, then on to London on UA918. The trip to England was straight forward but boring (and very full given the price war at the time between the US carriers). Arrived bright and early 630am Mon morning. Made my way on the underground to Kings Cross, where I (eventually) managed to catch a train to Leeds and on to Keighley. There I was met by Uncle Eric and cousin Eric Brown.
Spent a pleasant (and quiet) week with Eric, Olive and Eric at their place in Haworth, West Yorkshire. It was really good to see my cousins up in Yorkshire. Had a pleasant week with them. They live in a lovely, traditional terrace house in Mytholmes Lane. Again didn't do a great deal - the weather was wet and windy most of the time I was there, and I was still recovering from my cold. Eric took me into Bradford one day, where I admired the lovely building Waterford's bookstore ocupies (and purchased some more SF to read on my travels :-) Also enjoyed walking round Howarth, which is very picturesque.
I was pleased to catch up with an old friend I knew from Uni, Colin Wright, who'se now in Newcastle. We rendezvoused in Manchester on Thurs 27 Feb, had tea, and then he drove me back to my cousins - a long round trip for him, but a great chance to see some countryside and talk.
On Fri I caught the train back to London, where I stayed the night at Marie & Simon Gregory's. It was good to see them, even if only briefly. They had a prior engagement that evening, so I took myself off to the movies (saw "Mars Attacks" which was very silly and very funny! Jack Nicholson makes a great President :-) We did get to talk for a bit though. They seemed pretty happy with everything - busy, since Marie has a new full-time job, and Simon's getting a lot of consulting work, but in general they seemed relaxed with it all.
Sat 1 Mar, and it was back in the air. Flew out of Heathrow on a SAS flight to Oslo, then (eventually) on to Trondheim. Lots of stuffing around in airports waiting for connections, sigh! But arrived safely, and was met by Svein's son who drove me to some temporary accomodation in an NTNU guest apartment. So I was finally in Trondheim, ready to start the next phase of my sabbatical at NTNU.