Leeches: “Never Forget”
Oilbarrons: “We Are Nothing”
Rogernomix: “Bought in/Sold out”
April Fish: “Move Away”
Jason Webley: “Love Will Tear Us Apart”
Amanda Palmer: “Idioteque”
Frank Gibson: “Harriet Street”
The Thomas Oliver Band: “Baby, I’ll Play”
Black Sand Diva: “Barflies”
Sacha Vee: “See You”
Chloe Bartlett: “Freak Out”
Good Oil: “Shallow Waters”
Mojave: Blue Skies
Miho Wada: “Pajama Day”
The Recliner Rockers: “One Black Rat”
Riverhead Slide: “It’s So Good”
My Comments: A New Zealand dedicated playlist this month, which highlights all the bands I saw while on vacation there. If you haven’t read about my adventures, click here, here, here and here.
As you may be familiar from some of his past columns about his travels (Sevilla, Spain, Prague, etc.), Notes from Vivace always makes a point to try to locate the local music scene in each of the places he is exploring at one point or another during his trip. You can read about his Auckland “Mission Bay Jazz and Blues Festival” experience here , Part I of his Auckland Adventure here, and Part II here. This is a bonus “lost day in Auckland” post, focusing on attending an Amanda Palmer show in Auckland.
One of my trends during my international travels is that I end up seeing US acts. The trend continued in New Zealand where I went to Kings Arms to catch Amanda Palmer. One thing I did immediately was a cost comparison of seeing an American act in New Zealand versus Los Angeles. The day before I arrived, the Melvins played in Auckland for about the equivalent of $35. They played at Spaceland/Satellite for $20 in January. The Amanda Palmer show was also the equivalent of $35.
After taking a day trip to the Waitakere Ranges and jumping onto the Internet to read up on daily events (the earthquake being one of them), I walked up Queen Street to Kings Arms. Kings Arms is split into two: one side is a tavern, while the other side is a music venue. Whenever I go to a foreign venue, I try to relate it to a Los Angeles venue. In this case, I’m not sure anything fits. I briefly thought about Old Towne Pub in Pasadena if OTP was 8x larger, but that would result in a really bad comparison.
When I got there around 8:15 p.m., a long line stretched outside the venue, waiting for the doors to open. Since the venue didn’t look that large, I wondered if it was sold out. I walked to the front of the line. A woman in line told me they were all waiting around to get inside and wasn’t sure why they weren’t being allowed inside. I asked if she knew if it was sold out. She replied she didn’t think so as some folks had just bought tickets. I stuck my head inside and asked the ticket lady if I could buy a ticket. She said sure. I then asked if they had a photography policy. She replied that photos weren’t allowed and that it was a standard policy at Auckland music venues (I think this might apply to SLRs, not point and shoots) if one didn’t have a photo pass. So I told her I wrote for a Los Angeles blog called Intraffik (we are world famous like Rolling Stone — not!) under Notes from Vivace and was doing a write-up on the Auckland music scene (maybe that argument would work). She said she’d look into it for me. I got a stamp on my wrist and went to the end of the line.
A young lady came up behind me and one of her friends joined her. They started to talk. The second girl seemed to know what was going on with the opening act so I asked her who was playing. She said a two piece band called Casey Morton (later realized she said Katie Morton).
A third girl came up. She was very excited. The two started to congratulate her. I came to the conclusion she was in the opening band. “How did you get this gig,” I heard one ask. I didn’t hear the response. Anyways, she ran off, “I need to get ready.”
Fifteen minutes later the venue opened the doors. When I got to the door, I asked the ticket lady if she’d checked on a photo pass, “F*!k, I forgot. I’ll get back to you on that.” In the back of my mind, I was thinking, Whatever. I was suspicious of her knowledge of things. I had noticed a number of cameras in the crowd. I was in Auckland, not Los Angeles where every other person with a camera is probably a blogger. No way everyone at the venue had asked for a photo pass. Even though I was highly suspicious of this camera policy, I decided to take a conservative approach and didn’t get any photos of the first band, April Fish (not called Casey Morton; Katie Morton was the lead singer).
When we were all inside the venue, Amanda Palmer jumped up on stage in a bra and shorts. “We’re so happy to be here. April Fish was in a plane that was about to land in Christchurch. The earthquake happened and the plane pulled up. My promoter, who didn’t even need to be at this show, left all his belongings at his Christchurch hotel, jumped onto a plane and is here tonight. As far as we know his hotel has toppled over. We just got here at 8 p.m. We haven’t even done a sound check. We’ll see how this will all work out. See you all soon.” She tossed glitter out into the audience as she headed back to her dressing room.
Twitter feed from Katie Morton. ktjohanna: We JUST missed the quake: plane was descending to land when it hit so we turned around and are back in Wellington. Our hearts go out to all. 7:06 PM Feb 21st via web
The first band up was April Fish. The lead singer was the excited young lady from outside. She was on keys and her band mate was on the guitar.
They put on a short 4 song set (perhaps driven by the fact that everything got delayed by thirty minutes) — a quiet, quirky set. For their last song some quick hand signals were made. Katie pointed “1” with her finger. Her guitarist also pointed “1”. She then crossed her arms into an “X” and he followed suit. “Our next song is called ‘X.’ I wrote this while we were looking at maps. ‘X’ as in X marks the spot.”
Jason Webley was up next. There was no wait between sets. As soon as April Fish left the stage, Amanda Palmer jumped on to give a brief introduction and on he went. His name sounded very familiar to me. I realized that I’d seen his flier at Thirsty Dog for a Thursday set he was doing there. Well, also, he’s in a musical duo called Evelyn Evelyn with Amanda Palmer.
Anyways, the first thing I noticed was that he is a very energetic singer who has a major spittle problem. One time he let loose and it flew off the stage. A half-second later a girl near the stage looked grossed out. For one of his last songs, he divided the audience in half to act as his orchestra. Violins stood on one side and the trombones on the other. I stood in the violin section. He tried to create a distinct separation between the two musical instruments as he wanted us to view this as a war. And to top it off, he wanted us to sound louder than Wellington.
After Jason finished his set, we had about a thirty minute wait. Amanda Palmer’s promoter (or stage hand) got on stage. He went up to the keyboard and taped on her set list. He then pointed out to the patio area. I’m not sure if a lot of folks understood what he meant by his hand signals, because people kept looking to the stage, but out on the patio I saw Amanda Palmer singing to those outside. She looped behind and came through the back of the room. She climbed atop the bar counter where she serenaded us with a ukulele and the song “Makin’ Whoopee.” She then pointed to the crowd up by the bar. They screamed. She took a dive and crowd surfed to the stage – probably a good 10 yards.
She sprinkled her 2.5 hour set with various stories and quotable quotes.
Story 1: Last year when she was in Auckland, she’d just finished the first “Twilight” book. “It’s like cotton candy. I read it in four days, knowing it was bad for me.” When she arrived in Auckland, she had an exorcism performed on stage. Someone from the audience yelled out, “Did you read any of the other books?” “No.” “What are you reading now?” “The new Bill Bryson book.” I assume she meant “At Home: A Short History of Private Life.” That immediately made me a big fan of hers as I had started my Prague column with a quote from Bill Bryson.
Quote 1: “I like peanut butter and beer.”
Quote 2: “That takes real bravery to write a real hippy song. I may as well get a butterfly tattoo.”
Story 2: She performed a guerilla show in a small town in New Zealand. She did it on a random street. It was a very long street, which created a problem: people found it hard to find the exact location. She got a tweet from a female fan who said she had yelled out “Chicken Man” to find other fans.
Randomness of quirkiness filled the last hour or so of her set. Jason came back on stage. They did a skit of Billy Joe’s “Piano Man,” pulling seven people up onto the stage, assigning them different characters from the song.
Some funny equipment malfunctions occurred. Jason went up to the keyboard and it blasted us with static. They quickly turned it off. When they switched it back on, it refused to work for ten minutes or so. The piano chair kept collapsing down on Amanda. She couldn’t figure out how to get it to go higher so Jason would set it at the proper height. She’s sit on it and it would go back down.
There was even some beer surfing as the crowd transported a couple beers from the bar to the stage.
They then went on this series of, “We have two songs left for you. I know there is a curfew.” I swear it went on eight times. Actually, I’d say this represented my one irritation with her set. You’re like, okay she’s finished, oh wait, she’s not. You hit a climatic end and you soon realize it wasn’t the end.
To end the set, they sang ‘The Drinking Song.” Upset (joking fashion) that everyone wasn’t singing loud enough and wasn’t drunk enough, they had everyone twirl around 12 times. And yes, people did twirl. Yes, practically everyone (I gave it about 6 twirls). As the clock hit 1 a.m., the set came to a close with:
“If God wanted us sober
he’d knock the glass over
so while it is full
we drink up.”
There was also a collection of funds for Christchurch. They passed a bucket around the crowd. If I recall right, they collected over a $1,000 NZ.
I headed off to my hotel/service apartment and four hours later I took off to see some glow worms at Waitomo Caves. Later someone informed me that a more appropriate name would be to call them maggots versus worms (click here to read about Notes from Vivace’s adventures at the Waitomo Caves)
As you may be familiar from some of his past columns about his travels (Sevilla, Spain, Prague, etc.), Notes from Vivace always makes a point to try to locate the local music scene in each of the places he is exploring at one point or another during his trip. You can read about his Auckland “Mission Bay Jazz and Blues Festival” experience here and you can read Part I of his Auckland Adventure here.
I went off to see Sacha Vee at Sale St. Sale St. is this really nice bar where the patrons generally dress well. It had a large patio area and generous space inside. And the door guys were super laid back.
There was a small crowd that sat near the stage for her 1.5 hour set. Sacha Vee is a singer songwriter with a neo-soul sound that would fit in perfectly at Hotel Café.
As I left, both security guys shook my hand and asked if I’d gotten any good photos.
Friday night was the biggest pain in the butt when it came to deciding where to go. Bands were playing everywhere it seemed. Out at the Juice Bar there was a touring band. Out at Thirsty Dog, a singer songwriter was kicking off her tour. Cassette Number Nine had a band coming in from Australia. I was keen on doing the Cassette Number Nine, but near my hotel I saw a poster with a list of five bands playing at a place called the Whammy Bar. Next to the bands were the cities they hailed from: Auckland, Wellington, and Hamilton – all New Zealand cities. Now I had a major conflict: a touring band from Australia that actually sounded interesting? I checked out their Myspace page. Or some random New Zealand bands? Since both locations were within walking distance (that sort of depends on how much you like to walk) I thought maybe I could hit both up. I walked over to Cassette Number Nine first and asked the door guy when the bands started. He said 10:30 and 11:30. I headed up to the Whammy Bar. I wasn’t sure of the exact location, but earlier the hotel/service apartment staff helped me out there. I’d actually walked right past it a couple of times. Once, I saw folks in comic book costumes walking into the bar so the venue is used for multiple events. I asked the guy at the door, “You have bands playing tonight?” In a very enthusiastic voice, he said, “Yes, punk bands.” I decided to stick to the Whammy Bar.
Okay, let’s see how wild these Aucklanders can get.
The bar was not at floor level. When I entered, I walked down a series of steps into the basement. Almost immediately, the look felt familiar. The smell was so absolutely familiar. Even the cavernous floor had a familiar look to it. Hey, wait, Mr T’s Bowl?
The first band, Rogernomix, started around 11:30 p.m. A young woman fronted the band and she couldn’t have stood more than 5 feet tall. She wore a sundress that would fit in perfectly at a Farmers Market. Hmm, what sort of punk music is this band? Their set started and don’t judge a book by its cover. The music started with a scream and she didn’t stop screaming until the end of their quick four song set. I tried to capture some photos, but got tossed to the side (somewhat violently) by two guys starting a mosh pit. I soon learned that I better get some quick photos of the bands and then exit from the front of the stage as soon as possible. The two went on not just in a mosh pit rage, but a boxing match that seemed in need of a referee.
The second band (Oilbarrons) up also gave a quick four song set. They were another primal screaming punk band. This time led by a tall guy who measured around 6 foot 5 inches. I suspect he also worked at the Whammy Bar. He got even more of the crowd going at it.
The last couple bands I saw had a change of tune. More vocal driven. Much more of what I’m used to in the Los Angeles area. That didn’t stop the mosh pit folks which now numbered near a dozen. I just have to explore this mosh pit experience with you. There was head locking and the tossing of folks against walls. I quickly understood why the pillar in the middle of the room had padding. One guy got flung head first into a wall. A small barrier I stood behind will no doubt come crashing down some day, because bodies throughout the night slammed against it. One guy with glasses got tossed into the mosh pit by his friends. He looked at them wondering why he’d gotten tossed into the pit. He joined in a little, but mostly just bounced around. Crowd surfing was the norm with a couple folks launching themselves into the air. They would get ready to launch. Folks would notice and stand crouched and ready, waiting for the Evel Knievel to launch himself off a ramp. It was almost more fun watching the mosh pit than the bands.
I have to say I obviously go to the wrong shows in Los Angeles, because I never see such violent mosh pits here. In fact, I was at the Five Star and folks got angry with a guy who tried to start a mild mosh pit. I figure that wasn’t much of a punk show anyways so perhaps it doesn’t count. So maybe a better example is when I headed off to the now defunct Mime where I’d say a more punk atmosphere reigned. Yes, there was an actual mosh pit going on, but that mosh pit would get laughed at in Auckland, New Zealand. Shoot, I’ve been at shows in Los Angeles where the band will tell the audience to calm down, because there are girls up front. Personally, I have to say I enjoy our more subdued pits here in Los Angeles.
Noticed 1: The lead singer of Leeches assigned himself to water duty. One guy asked for a water. He rushed off to get it. Then two others requested water and off he went to the bar. Finally, he ended up getting a couple more: one for himself and the last member of the band. He did this all with a smile.
In the audience, I noticed a guy with a Terror LA baseball cap. The band Terror had come through Auckland that week. The guy punked his way through the set. What else should one expect of a guy wearing a Terror cap?
Noticed 2: As for Wasteland, I sensed that the band members weren’t on the same page. The drummer and singer seemed to constantly be talking back and forth, negotiating how to begin a song. Half their songs took two or three attempts to get off the ground. All the other bands mentioned that they had one or two songs left in their set. For this band, the music just stopped. The drummer got up to put on a shirt. The lead singer seemed to assume they had one more song – as did the audience. The mosh pit looked confused, unsure what to do next. Finally, the lead singer walked into the crowd and everyone gave them a cheer. Someone is getting kicked off that band, I think.
A couple highlights from the late afternoon/evening night were a couple two year-old kids having the time of their lives. One played next to me while I listened to one band. He was learning to climb over a wooden post. Another nearly stole the show at another set as he started dancing it up in front of the audience. He seemed rather proud of the attention he was getting from the audience.
Quote of the evening: “We’ve lost our bass player. He’s reverted back to his natural state. He’s up a tree. Anyone got a banana?”
As I headed home for the night, I got onto a city bus. The driver showed three fingers and then motioned out forty. I couldn’t help but wonder if he assumed I didn’t speak English. In fact, a small shock that hit me while in New Zealand occurred when I walked through the Auckland Airport. I saw English everywhere. I could actually understand everything. You might find that funny as they do speak English in New Zealand. When travelling in Spain and the Czech Republic, my first cultural adjustment was realizing the fact that I understood very little of what was written around me. This wasn’t true in New Zealand and it felt strange – as weird as that might sound.
Heading home. After leaving the Jazz and Blues Streetfest, I decided to hit up the Gourmet Burger Joint to get a vegi burger. Honestly, not that great. Maybe they need to get some Morningstar vegi burgers into New Zealand. In general, my experience with New Zealand sit down restaurants did not go well. There were a number of days where I got sick after my meal. The only place that I really enjoyed was a Japanese Restaurant next to Cassette Number Nine called the Sushi Factory. Indian. New Zealand vegetarian. It all made me sick sick sick. I didn’t get sick eating at the Gourmet Burger Joint, but as mentioned, it wasn’t all that great. I got my best meals in New Zealand at the food stands – one being a pocket pizza. I did try a couple unique New Zealand Brands: Tip Top Ice Cream and L&P Lemonade. Both were tasty though I wouldn’t say unique in flavor.
To end my last night in Auckland, I ate my burger in my hotel/serviced apartment, watched thirty minutes of “K-Pax” and made sure I had everything packed. I went to bed and a moment later I woke up at 3:13 a.m. That’s right, exactly at 3:13 a.m., 2 minutes before my two alarms were set to go off – the bedside clock and my cell phone.
The crowd noise from outside woke me up. Every few seconds shouts pierced the night air. As I rushed out to catch my airport shuttle, I saw streams of young people walking up and down Queen St. It was 4 a.m. and I was up with the college crowd. In fact, as I looked across the street, I saw doors on a colonial-style building wide open, lights blazing inside. The doors had been shut the whole time I’d been in Auckland, but were now open for the Saturday night party scene.
One interesting thing about Auckland was seeing what seemed like hundreds of young people parading in groups to – most likely – dance clubs on Friday and Saturday nights. They would all be dressed in costumes so maybe it was also some kind of fraternity/sorority initiation.
Anyways, I arrived first at the shuttle stop. Taxis drove by to see if I wanted a lift to the airport, but I waved them off. A couple other airport-headed passengers showed up. I was thinking the shuttle would be empty at 4 a.m. So wrong. The shuttle was about 75% full with fellow international travelers. The airport was also relatively busy. I snuck my way onto the plane with luggage that weighed way too much, getting a lecture from one of the airport personnel in the process. I will definitely need to start thinking about switching up my luggage situation, considering all the stress I’m getting from it.
As is my norm, with my extra New Zealand currency, I bought a large Toblerone chocolate bar.
As is the heading-to-the-USA norm, once I got to the Sydney Airport, I was asked to leave the gate area for the flight to the USA. Barriers were put up and then we were allowed to re-enter the area once our passports and boarding passes were checked. As I roamed around the Sydney Airport, I noticed a row of Vegemite. And then it hit me. During her set, Amanda Palmer kept making jokes about Vegemite and how no one really liked it. I wasn’t sure what she was talking about, some inside New Zealand joke, I figured. And then at the Sydney Airport, I finally got the inside joke, it’s that nasty Australian paste that they put on their sandwiches.
The cool thing about the Sydney Airport: they have free Internet access.
Customs. As the flight neared LAX, the couple I shared a row with got into a big argument about their customs declaration. The wife asked how much the husband had purchased in New Zealand. The husband replied, “Make an estimate.” The wife replied, “No, we need to be accurate.” I was with the husband, make an estimate. Is customs really going to get on you if your estimate is off a few dollars? The wife went digging through their various receipts. When she finished filling out the customs declaration, she punched her husband. “What was that for?” “Because you could at least thank me for looking through all of our receipts.” I heard the figure $600 tossed out. Mercy, I was only bringing in less than $50 (which included my Toblerone chocolate bar).
While I was filling out my customs declaration, I noticed green ink stains on my declaration. Hmm. I looked at my hand and it was all green. My uni-ball pen had exploded. Awesome. At least I didn’t have a difficult time going through customs and was soon on my way home.
If you don’t have a smart phone (like me), you won’t feel out of place in Auckland. I saw way more cell phones versus smart phones. In fact, I’m betting that those with the smart phones were tourist. Peer pressure hasn’t hit there yet.
I honestly feel like I only barely touched the surface of the Auckland music scene.
The one problem with my hotel/serviced apartment was that I was on the first floor. I had a nice view of electric meters. And I don’t know if it was due to my being so low to the ground, but I heard the constant chirping of a million cicadas. If I hadn’t brought ear plugs along, I would have gone insane. The plugs didn’t work perfectly, but it at least kept the noise level down a degree. There are 42 types of cicadas in New Zealand. My recommendation should you ever head to Auckland is to bring some ear plugs or you’ll go insane.
When I arrived in Auckland, my first encounter with other tourists started at a bus stop. I was waiting to board the airport bus when a guy started talking to me. “So where are you staying.” “Off Queen Street.” “Okay, that is Central Auckland, you can take a taxi with us and we can split it.” I felt bad when I replied, “I already have a ticket for this bus. Sorry for any misunderstanding.”
When I first arrived in Auckland, I must admit a wave of disappointment hit. Auckland definitely doesn’t carry the historical weight that Sevilla or Prague do. I, of course, had to quickly adjust my perspective as I knew I’d come to Auckland not for history, but for the natural wonder of it all.
I took a couple day trips. One to Waitakere Ranges and another to the Waitomo Caves (pictured right). The cheapest of the day trips was to Waitakere Ranges. It was a half day trip and totally worth it. The tour guide was cool – even though he told jokes that were way too cheesy. Heading to the Waitomo Caves to see the Glow Worms was on the expensive side and when I noticed I was only going to spend 45 minutes in the caves, I questioned my sanity in spending that much money, but I have to say it was totally worthwhile.
I also took a ferry to Waiheke Island where I hung out on the beach for awhile and checked out their small row of art galleries. I also spent a day walking up two volcanoes. Auckland is built over a number of volcanoes. The two most famous ones are One Tree Hill (U2 fame) and Mount Eden. I quickly understood what Amanda Palmer said when she mentioned that New Zealand had a hot sun. I ended up getting sunburned.
If one is looking for Tourist Assistance, the I-Site visitor centers are really helpful. They’ll book you on tours, help with car rentals. Just really awesome help.
While in Auckland, I got mesmerized for some reason by their street signs. Enjoy some street sign photography. (click on images to enlarge)
As you may be familiar from some of his past columns about his travels (Sevilla, Spain, Prague, etc.), Notes from Vivace always makes a point to try to locate the local music scene in each of the places he is exploring at one point or another during his trip. You can read about his Auckland “Mission Bay Jazz and Blues Festival” experience here.
Saturday to Monday
Why Auckland, New Zealand?
A number of small reasons led up to my decision to fly off to New Zealand:
1. “Lord of the Rings” was filmed in New Zealand – though not in Auckland (“The Piano” was filmed around Auckland) – so there was that built-in intrigue.
2. New Zealand is known for it’s natural wonders. I went in late February and since it is in the southern hemisphere, I was dealing with Summer versus Winter weather.
3. My last two vacations were to Europe and New Zealand was not Europe. Czech and Spanish were the national languages for my last two vacations and vacationing where English was the official language seemed like a good idea.
And why not another New Zealand city like Wellington? Honestly, going to Auckland was much cheaper.
The trip. A storm system hovered over Southern California when I left Glendale for LAX via public transportation. I caught a lucky break as the rain stopped until after I transferred from the bus to the Metro rail. While on the Green Line, the rain came down in torrents. Other than the rain, only two minor events provided any sort of excitement. First, I just missed a Blue Line metro. The Blue Line Metro has two rail lines. I entered on the wrong side and by the time I got to the other side of the track, the doors were closing. I imagined myself in one of those movies where the good guy is chasing after the bad guy and the bad guy ducks into a Metro car just as the doors close (actually, isn’t that usually the other way around, the good guy just escapes the bad guy? — whatever). Also, I did do my good deed for the day. An elderly man was attempting to get a senior discount ticket, he kept on hitting the wrong buttons so I leaned in and worked it out for him. Of course, I don’t know if it was so much of a good deed versus me just wanting to get my ticket.
My flight was via Virgin Australia. Instead of flying straight to New Zealand, my flight first diverted to Sydney, Australia. There are flights that go straight to Auckland, but the cheapest Expedia deal was via Sydney, so via Sydney I went.
Let me just say that the Virgin Australia Experience (and I do believe the ‘E’ in experience should be capitalized) starts at the ticket counter. You come in from your hectic travel to the airport and your mood adjusts immediately. Mood lighting and soothing pop-rock music greet you as you enter the area. Modern lamps grace each of the ticket counters. You’re like, “Hmm.”
And you read quirky comments like such that are written on your ticket:
“The Stub: Ever wonder where this part goes? So do we.”
“The Big Bit: This part of your ticket is fiercely loyal to its owner. While The Stub cavorts off to who knows where, The Big Bit sticks around to help you get to your seat. Treat it well, and it will be yours forever.”
It isn’t like the mood adjustment totally removes the pain of air travel. When I got to the counter, the ticket lady told me to put my carry-on onto the scale. It came in at 10 kilos. She told me I’d need to check it. I was like, “Why?” In the past, I’d never had to check my carry-on due to weight constraints (even though in the back of my mind I knew this restriction would hit me eventually). She told me it had to weigh less than 7.5 kilos. She asked if I wanted to take anything with me (as I also had a Jason Bourne-inspired shoulder bag with me). Hmm, I said, “What if I removed these books?” I pulled out a “Lonely Guide” travel book and a Nick Hornby book. She smiled. The weight dropped down to 9.0. I took out my various adapters/rechargers. It dropped down to 8.0. She smiled again and let me remove my carry-on from the weight machine. Of course, my shoulder-bag probably weighed in at 10 kilos at that point.
I have this problem with checking my luggage. I avoid it at all costs. A few years ago, my luggage got lost twice in a row. After those experiences, I’ve always attempted to use a suitcase that would slide into the over-head bins. Of course, the airlines wanting to apply fees to everything so that they can increase their revenues and knowing that many of us only bring a carry-on to avoid those fees are now going for a weight restriction. Maybe I’ll just have to deal with checking my main luggage from now on; however, I’ll probably still bring a small carry-on with clothes to cover me for a couple days should my checked luggage get lost in the grand scheme of things. As you can see, Virgin Australia or not, I do not trust airlines to keep track of my luggage.
After the desk clerk allowed me to cheat the luggage rules, she noticed that my itinerary took through Sydney. “You need a Visa to enter Australia.” What? (more…)