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Guest unauthorised blog today, an email from Junior@Large (see photo at bottom of this page). Some of this email echoes unknowingly Spike's recent messages from the States.


Well, old fella

I am here in Ottawa, although it was a bit of an ordeal getting here. My original flight from Melbourne was cancelled, due to fog which had lifted by the time the flight was actually cancelled... The skanky mongrels at United were very tight-lipped with us, telling us to "sit down please, we'll take care of everything," for about four hours while we sat in the departure lounge. Somehow I ended up among the last 5 people in the queue to have flights rescheduled, and I left the airport at 4pm, the flight having been cancelled at 9 in the morning...

The charming folk at United did however manage to reroute me through LA with an overnight stay and FIRST CLASS tickets from LA to O (Ottawa) via C (Chicago, that is ).

More fun was had at LAX, where United refused to honour their accommodation offer. A large ex-military-type Robocop rule-based customer-service automaton/arsehole offered a pre-recorded, "I'm sorry sir, I am not authorised to authorise your request. Please step aside."

I managed to speak with a human next to the robot, who's only offer was for me to "Apply in writing to United Headquarters in Chicago for compensation. Thank you Sir. Have a nice day!"

No way... This was THEIR problem... They had not listened to my whole story, they had just grabbed my redirected flight schedule (on air New Zulund ) which I realised had a different reference number, tapped it in, seen nothing, and given me the Conflict-Resolution 101 standard responses.

So, just as I had rephrased the n+1th combination of my story, whining/begging that this was their fuck-up, I pulled out my trump card: the original itinerary they had not looked at, with its own booking number, and told them to Stick It!

Actually I just meekly pushed it onto the counter with a lame "Would this help???" It did. With no apologies, my accommodation voucher was torn from its stub, my name scribbled on, and I was on my way. I am not sure if Auto-GI Joe Model GI215.3i had a peripheral vision module installed, or whether his non-verbal communication lobes had been fried in the Gulf War, but my voucher wave and nod of thanks were not acknowledged.

At the luxubricious (luxurious as a brick) "Holiday Inn LAX" I began a stroll through the surrounding neighbourhood to get a feel for life in the poorer outer suburbs of Los Angeles. One street behind the hotel, three houses (yellow painted concrete boxes) were boarded up, one with dire trespass warnings. The inhabited houses had razor wire on all fences, no gardens, and one lucky resident had a burnt-out car with no windows out the front. OK... Back to the hotel.

US domestic First Class was fairly second class - about equivalent to Qantas economy class. I think I sat next to a rapper, although he wasn't talkin'. "Mr Farrell" I assume was not his stage name.

Flew into Ottawa as Canada day fireworks were going off all over the city. At least ten separate displays were going at the same time. It quite amazing to watch from above, evoking fond memories of Dresden and Tokyo.

Canada day is Canada's New Years, as NYE is usually spent at home in front of the fire at Grandma's. Hundreds of thousands of drunk kids were walking the streets, puking drinking and snogging as I got off the plane. After a few beers with M[gf]'s friends, and a day of adjusting (ie sleeping), we walked around Ottawa with some other friends, then home for a BBQ for all of us, where conversation turned to astrology, and then fortune-telling and finally a "me (me) vs mystics of the world (all of them)" conversation.

I am quite balanced and open in such scenarios, I realise that my stance may appear just as dogmatic to them as their's does to me, and I try to explain that the 'powers/energy' is really just their mother's/fortune-teller's/goldfish's exceptional emotional intelligence and highly tuned perception. Also if there were some 'thing', then they could/should form a theory of what it is, and possibly devise a test for it. Anyway, I don't know why I bother - you know how much progress these episodes make... perhaps just to steer conversation in a more palatable direction.

We're off to parliament house today, for a private tour by M's dad. should be fantastic.

They want to go soon, and I'm still un-showered.

Cheers, Love, Nat.


I don't know where he got that attitude to authority figures from...

[Addendum: I was wondering if that guard was going to say this]



Posted by: expat@large on Jul 04, 05 | 10:07 am | Profile


United is really going to the dogs. Which hurts me as I have over 300,000 miles with them. I had a bad experience with them in SFO my last time in the states.

Posted by: Skippy-san on Jul 04, 05 | 2:20 pm

Nat sounds much er.... nicer (?) with his words. But with certainty. That, I gather must be from your gentle nurturing....

Posted by: bohemianlisa on Jul 05, 05 | 8:24 am

Nat has a MUCH more analytical mind than I do. You should hear him on Game Theory - my nictitating membrane comes across and MEGO.

Nicer? I wouldn't go that far.

Yes I would, he really is a sweet guy; he can be much more sensitive to others' feelings than grouchy old me. I just blather on without thought of the consequences: he seems to actually care! (I DO care, I just don't seem to.)

He has no love of psychobabble nor of supercilious satrapical nobodies; neither does his dad.

Nurture? Gentle? You'd have to ask him. I think I was more of the bad example than the guiding hand.

Posted by: expat@large on Jul 05, 05 | 12:51 pm


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