It took several minutes for the alarm clock to bore its way into my consciousness. After about 5 hours of sleep, I really wasn't ready to wake up. But it was 7am and I had a plane to catch. My destination: Adelaide, for the linux.conf.au 2004.
I managed to drag myself through the breakfast/shower/pack routine by around 8am, and dragged Emma off to the airport. We had time for an overpriced coffee before I had to head off for the plane. I read Steve Martin's new book "The pleasure of my company" on the plane, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. The trip was uneventful - I arrived in SA, jumped in a taxi and headed off into town. I asked the taxi driver before I got in if I could pay with my credit card, to which he replied a slightly hesitant yes. After a while of whizzing through the streets, it became clear that the taxi driver didn't actually know where I was going; just the suburb. I showed him the address, and he pulled out the street directory and started to try to read it while driving. This made me just a little nervous, so I offered to look it up for him. I fairly quickly found the destination and proceeded to give the driver directions (I mostly remembered the map from the conference web site, so finding the accomodation was quite easy). When we pulled up in front of the college where I am staying, I held out my card for the driver to process. He pulled out the card terminal, holding it nervously and asked: "Do you know how to work this?" It seems I am doomed to be providing technical support, even on "holidays". So I walked him through how to use the system, even doing the logon, entering in pickup and destination codes, rounding it off with a small tip - for him, not me. I still don't know why.
Outside the college, I ran into Daniel, a guy I know from Melbourne. He was with Tom, a british guy and later Jeff (jdub) arrived from Sydney. We all went out for lunch up the road, and before long the Coopers started flowing. Gradually more people arrived, and as the group grew, so did the rounds. We sat around all afternoon, talking about all sorts of stuff - not all related to Linux. I met a bunch more people, and I am stil struggling to remember all the names.
By late afternoon, we decided to move to a pub, and found The Archer down the road. We managed to get a large table upstairs on the balcony, and had some very nice food along with even more beer. (Not just Coopers this time.) A marathon discussion of version control systems ensued, with CVS, arch, subversion and aegis all being dissected (along with why you should use one over the other for various projects). I met even more people, some familiar names, more than I can remember.
Time rolled on, more people came and before I knew it it was after 9pm (still on old time). I decided to head off, as I still had to buy some sunscreen and toothpaste. I ended up walking around the city for about an hour (burning off a few beers in the process). I managed to confuse myself with the local time (which is 1/2 an hour different from Melbourne), and so missed out on even more sleep by the time my alarm went off the next morning. But at least I arrived at the conference - a whole hour early!