It's about an 18 hour flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne. The plane lifted off so smoothly that I didn't realize we were airborne for a couple of minutes. I might have been a bit distracted by the fellow in the next seat, who was intent on telling about the "guys party" he and a couple of his mates had been on. They were from Perth and had gone to Las Vegas to do some drinking ($3000 bar bill one night), gambling, and so forth. Perth to Vegas seems like an awfully long trip to do that kind of thing, although they did take a copter tour of the Grand Canyon.
Qantas starts off by feeding you dinner, then you can pick from about a hundred movies (I watched Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows and part of LOTR) or try to sleep. Breakfast at 5am Melbourne time. We were in the center of the plane so didn't have much of a view, but at one point
The flight landed about 35 minutes early although waiting for the baggage made up for that; we were starting to get worried that two of our suitcases might still be in LA. just before dawn we could see the sky layered in the spectrum, with indigo at the horizon and going up though the rest of the colors to red.
Through Immigration and Customs and a search dog sniffing at our baggage, and then Josh and Gwen were waiting for us. They took us to the home of Gwen's mom, Marguerite, where we recuperated from the flight for a bit. Gum trees along the fence, bamboo and other tropical plants in front, roses and a lemon tree in back. Australian homes are much like ours but with little differences. Each power socket has an on/off switch next to it. The roofs are mostly metal or tile due to risk of brushfires. The doors are a little wider, the doorknobs higher. Big black and white magpies.
We packed a picnic and headed to Woodlands Historic Park, then walked around a bit. We saw lorikeets, and a sapling gum tree with a cloud of orange butterflies feeding on the sap. and even spotted a couple of kangaroos. We speculated on their origin. Fourteen hundred years ago, no doubt they were hopping along the Volga with round shields and horned helms; then they were overrun by the Mongols, and now we have the Khan-ga-Rus.