I didn’t even realize it was 9/11 until one of my plane-mates mentioned it to whomever she was talking to on her phone. But, the day did not start on such a dramatic note.
It began at about 7:00 AM, when my family dropped me off at the airport, so I could catch the 8:30 to Houston, Texas. Here they are crying about how much they’ll miss me.
I’ve flown a few times since the terrorist attacks, so was no stranger to the whole “remove your belt and shoes, toss all liquids, put all metal items in the cart,” and so on and so forth, and I had planned ahead. I wore pants that didn’t need a belt, and wore my sporty Adidas slides so I wouldn’t have to mess with shoelaces.
And perhaps because of my bare, exposed, misfortunate toe, I was NOT selected to participate in the in-depth security exam. Score!!
So then I boarded the plane, it took off, and for quite a while, all I could see out the window was clouds. Then the sky cleared, and WHAMMO! There’s Yosemite!
That was interesting, but at some point later, we flew over this weird landscape. I thought it was weird how there were all these lines and dots, as far as the eye could see. It looked like a gigantic circuit board for the microprocessor of life.
Knowing that I’d be bored on the plane, I planned ahead for my 5-hour non-stop flight, and brought Victor Hugo’s Notre Dame the Paris, which is the original French version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. But not just that – I had downloaded the book in audio mp3 format, and copied it to my iPaq, so I could listen to it while I read. If that’s not slick, I don’t know what is!
But alas, my peaceful flight was not to be. It turns out that there had so much rain in Houston yesterday, that a bunch of flights had been canceled, and today’s flights were being rescheduled to accommodate. So, it turned out that I had a surprise transfer and layover in Dallas. Drat!
So, I hopped off the plane, and took this cool ride across the airport to my new loading gate.
It was fun! That thing actually went pretty quick, and I got to stand right in the front, looking out the window watching the glorious countryside whiz past. One thing I’ve noticed about Texas – these guys know how to spread out.
Next up on my agenda: Chow Down. Luckily, there was a TGIF right next to my gate, and I had a blank list of things to be reimbursed for. I got some kind of pre-packaged almond chicken cesar salad. It didn’t have tomatoes, but it had craisins.
Next up on the agenda: board my new plane.
Turned out, it was the same plane and crew, they just made me get off and cross the airport to get back on.
The next flight was uneventful – just an hour hop to Houston from Dallas.
After the typical 20 minute wait to un-board as everyone, one after another, waits for the person next to him to pull down his or her carry-on luggage from the overhead bin before moving forward off the plane, and then we a went downstairs to get our luggage.
Mine never came.
So, I filled out a claim, and they promised to find it and bring it to my hotel. Nothing left to do there, so I went and hopped on the Rental Car Shuttle to Rental Car Central. I had reservations at Hertz for a Hyundai with a 5-speed. I haven’t driven a 5-speed in years, and was really looking forward to it.
Instead, I got an automatic Kia.
I don’t know why the sign above the board as some funky name. Maybe that’s the car’s name.
Anyway, I like to steep myself in the culture when I visit places, so when I hit the road, I tuned the radio to a mariachi station and TURNED IT UP!!! Texas baby!! (note the flag.)
I saw what looked like a quality, ethnic restraunt to get dinner at, and when I exited the freeway, what did I find, but what looked like the world headquarters for the Boy Scouts!!
And here it is, a Bar-B-Q place with a drive-through!
And here’s my catch – some ribs, peach pie, potato salad, and toast(?). If you look close on the receipt, their catch-phrase is “It’s good enough.”
Indeed it was. The meat was nice and tender, the potato salad just right, and the peach pie good enough to take to my hotel.
Speaking of which, it here it is, with me and my Kia in the foreground.
Holy nice accommodations batman! Two televisions! I can watch Cartoon Network and TLC at the same time!!! Free wireless Internet!
And the bathroom – I don’t think I’ve stayed in any HOUSES with a bathroom this big.
And the bath has jets. Slick!
And so, I’m at my room, providing Kim with a positive example of how to blog a trip before it gets overwhelming, waiting for the airline to deliver my luggage. I just called for status, and they have not seen it.
My battery only has 11 minutes of life left, and my power cord is in my luggage. I feel like a person lost in the desert, on his last legs, feeling the clock count down, before he loses all hope.
Soon, I will have to Internet. No web. No e-mail. If you do not hear from me again, you know why. Know that I love and miss you. Maybe we will meet again some day, in meatspace.