“Life is not a journey to the grave with intentions of arriving safely in a pretty well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming… WOW! What a ride!” – Hunter S. Thompson I want to send out a HUGE thank you to Deni and Anthony from Air North. Two shining stars in my ever-expanding book of people who have helped me cross the globe under this dark cloud of volcanic ash… In Singapore, I was able to change my flight from Darwin to Kununurra to today (Friday) instead of Saturday. Absolutely stellar. Yet when I arrived at the check-n desk in Darwin, I was informed that Qantas had already issued me a ticket for Saturday’s flight and I would have to buy a whole new ticket to get on today’s flight… I must admit once more that I started to crumple. I just feel like I’ve been fighting on this journey every step of the way and, well, the PMA (positive mental attitude) is hard to keep up for 5 days straight on little sleep! However, Deni and Anthony saved the day. Unlike many of the other airline employees I have dealt with in person or over the phone the past week, these two were empathetic, understanding, and frankly, soothing!! Right off the bat when Deni tried to check me in, she noticed I was born in Kingston and immediately freaked out (in the way that, say, my mom would freak out if she ran into Bobby Orr on the street. Okay maybe not THAT much of a freak out…). She spent 15 months living in good ol’ K-town back in Canada and gave me a high five as she rattled off her old address and fav hangouts. THIS was someone I could trust. Similarly, Anthony got on the phone and proceeded to call Orbitz and Qantas to sort out my tickets. With his Australian charm he worked his magic and half an hour later I had a boarding pass! I’ve given Deni and Anthony the race website and my blog, so I’m hoping this won’t be the last I hear from them! I’m thinking I’ll like Australia….. Now, onto more important things. Like buying all sorts of food! With Oz’s strict import requirements, most of what I’ll be eating next week during the race will have to be bought from airport stands and perhaps the hotel gift shop? If it is fatty, salty, high calorie and dense, I want it!! I’ve also consumed enough food these past 12 hours to feed a small but obese army. I feel like a goose getting fattened up for the slaughter. Probably not too far off – with everything I hear about the course, it may indeed be a slaughter…. ONE MORE LEG TO GO!