Monday, January 25, 2010

Part 2: United Strikes Back

OK picking up where we left off. I arrive in LAX on time and have to find my way across from terminal 2 to 6. Changing terminals in LA is pretty annoying as you have to go outside and cross streets and stuff but I eventually figured out where I was going. Unfortunately, I was flying United because they were quite significantly cheaper than the other airlines at the time I got around to booking. I learned my lesson about this two years ago and vowed never to fly United to Australia again, but like I said I figured the difference wasn't worth paying more than twice as much money. The main problem with United is that economy seats do not have their own entertainment system, there is just one TV at the front of each section of the cabin and you have to watch whatever they put on like it's the mid-90s or something. On a 14 hour flight or whatever this is extremely annoying. Luckily I knew to bring a book to read.

So we board the flight and as usual we are delayed taking off. Nothing out of the ordinary. Eventually the captain announces there is a problem fueling the plane and they are trying to fix it. The longer this goes on the more clear it begins to seem that they are not going to find a way to fix it. After about 3 hours or maybe more we have to disembark the plane and wait in line with a million other people for a hotel voucher. Our flight is rescheduled for 11am. I got to the hotel around 3 or 3:30 and slept for maybe 4 hours since I wanted to get a shuttle to the airport before everyone else on my flight got up. Upon arrival at the airport I learn the flight has now been delayed another 11 hours so I am officially a full day behind schedule after all. They offer hotel vouchers again but I decide to just stay at the airport and play online and watch sports, one of the advantages of being on pacific time is that evening games on the east coast start at 4. I proceeded to lose $50K playing 1k/2k 8-game and 200/400 cap PLO. I've billed United for this and threatened to sue, but either they didn't get my e-mail or they are calling my bluff.

Eventually it's time to board and everything goes smoothly this time. The flight sucks with them playing crappy movies that I try to force myself to watch. I fail, but luckily they put me to sleep for a little bit. No idea how much I actually slept but it wasn't heaps by any stretch. We eventually land in Sydney and I get to wait two hours there for my connection. At this point I obviously regret not paying the extra money for a direct flight on Qantas or some other reasonable airline. Anyways, the flight is uneventful and I arrive 11:30am, with plans to play the bounty event at 12:30 if I can.

Customs in Australia was hilarious. I forgot to declare sporting equipment (I brought my golf clubs) but they were super friendly about it and much more interested in talking about my playing poker for a living and telling me how awesome that is! Oh and you have to fill out this form for the money it'll only take a few minutes. In retrospect, I was lucky that I got female customs agents as they were clearly taken by my Canadian accent and natural charm (and the tick in the >10K currency box). Wearing the same clothes for two days and being jet-lagged as shit I no doubt had an irresistible glow (read: smell) about me. At first I thought it was just that Aussies are more chill and laid back in general, but in hindsight it was clearly my good looks and charisma that got me through customs with so little hassle.

I ended up making Tony 40 minutes late for the tournament so he could let me in to drop off my bags and get cleaned up, but that's about 37 minutes longer than he lasted in the last one he played so I figure I was doing him a favour. I eventually crossed the street to the casino and got the last seat in the bounty event. I could already tell I was destined to win it to make up for all the bad luck I had on the trip there. I was envisioning the smug, cocky look on my face as I would tell the story, "But then I shipped the bounty event for $150k, so I guess it was all worth it after all." I busted two hours later.

Basically all my friends busted around the same time though, so we started drinking, ate dinner, and then I passed out at 8 from the jet lag and alcohol combination. The next day I went golfing with Stevo and Chris on a glorious summer day in Melbourne, and couldn't help but think; "Well, I guess the trip was all worth it in the end".



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