It's bizarre to think that as I write this, Rio is fast asleep pretty much on the other side of the world. (Well, judging by their tendency to party, maybe that's being a bit naïve.)
Perth and Rio are not exactly on the other side of the world from each other. In fact they're about one third of the world's circumference away, not half, as they would be if they were literally a whole world apart. Both are well to the south of the equator in the southern hemisphere with Rio closer to it than we are. Rio is actually just in the tropics, whereas you'd have to drive all the way up to Exmouth, here in WA, to get as far north as that. But as far as time is concerned, Rio is 11 hours behind us. Manaus, where I'll be next Wednesday night, is 12 hours behind.
To fly from Perth to Rio, then, one would think it would be quickest to fly south, over the south pole. It's about 13,500 km away as the crow flies but no airline flies over the Antarctic.
But such are the peculiarities of the economics of air travel, on Saturday morning, before dawn, I will set off in almost the opposite direction to fly there through a rather bizarre route.
Flight 1 - Perth to Sydney (3,283 km)
First, I'll set off almost due east. This is the way I started out last time in 2009 - to Sydney and then onto Auckland before doing a massive flight around the Pacific to Santiago, Chile. This time, though, it's just to catch a flight to London.
Flight 2 - Sydney to Singapore (6,278 km)
It'll seem strange flying back over WA to Singapore, having just gone all the way over east, but there you go. I chose this route only because it happened to be the cheapest available on the day.
Flight 3 - Singapore to London (10,884 km)
The longest stretch is just over a quarter of the earth's surface away, from Singapore to London. Where I'll arrive very early on Sunday morning.
Flight 4 - London to Rio (9,231 km)
I actually have longer in London than I thought, so if anyone fancies a few Sunday morning bevvies at Heathrow, I'm up for it!! So then, just after noon, it's south to Rio, again, almost another 1/4 earth diameter away.
The overall journey will be about 29,676 km, then. That's 2.2x as far as a direct flight would be and represents flying round almost three quarters of the way around the world.
I'm hoping that I'll get enough (booze induced) sleep time on the flights so that I'm not completely jet lagged at the other end.