Monday, March 5, 2007

Moonlighting as a Travel Writer

My morning started out bright and early at 0400. Having successfully packed everything last night and still getting to bed at a reasonable hour, I was able to be on the road by 0430. My first stop was historic Dallas Love Field. Being the frugal traveler that I am, I parked in the B garage, which allowed me the chance to enjoy the Garage Pedestrian Concourse Artwork. As a worker in the digital printing field, the image-changing murals are of particular interest to me.

I was counting on long lines at the Southwest ticket counter to give me the chance to get my paperwork in order, but there was no waiting so I had to quickly dig out my confirmation number. When I checked my bag through to Honolulu last December, the girl called her coworker over to see the tag - I guess HNL doesn't come up very often. My ticket to Birmingham today wasn't nearly as interesting.

I remembered to stash my pocket knife in my suitcase before checking it, so I didn't have to throw this one away. I handed the gal at security the wrong boarding pass. It had a large 'A' on it, and the other had a large 'B'. 'A' comes before 'B', right? No, that was my Southwest boarding section assignment.

It was too early for any logic that complicated.

I made sure to go to the bathroom twice before we boarded, because I hate having to use the lavatories on the plane. I boarded with group 'B' and found a nice window seat near the back of the plane, sat down and instantly had to go again.

Fortunately, the flight from Dallas to Houston lasts a whole of 60 seconds - I'm sure the flight crew was wearing roller skates as they rushed around picking up drink cups almost as soon as they were handed out. I'm surprised they didn't just run up and down the aisle with the squirt bottles like football coaches use.

I was excited to fly into Houston Hobby Field. I had seen pictures of the stately old terminal, and I just love the historic architecture. There was a big mural next to Wendy's that showed the old terminal as it looked in the '50s, with a flight crew headed out to an old Martin 404. Ah, the Golden Age of Aviation when only the well-to-do could afford to grace the halls of the airport.

There is a new terminal at Houston Hobby Airport. It's fancy and modern and laid out so that you have to go through security to get from one terminal to the other. You can rest assured that the well-to-do flyer of the '50s would have balked at the indignities of this Federally-mandated hazing ritual.

But I digress.

I soon had all of my clothes back on and found myself working on (gasp!) work while I waited for my next plane. I found that the bathrooms in terminal C are much better than the ones in terminal A, so I guess the odyssey was good for something.

The miles to Birmingham seemed to fly by (so to speak) as I buried myself in my C++ code. I succeeded in breaking the driver that I was working on so bad that it has taken several hours to fix the damage. I'm sure that somehow this was caused by trying to use the silly little pointing stick mouse-thing with my elbows tucked in to my side.

When I got to Birmingham, I was able to retrieve my luggage and get a rental car without much hassle. However, they must have just sprayed the car with some smelly stuff, and after working so hard at building a clean environment at home I found this to be really annoying. So I rolled the windows down to let the car air out. The cool breeze felt nice and the smell dissipated nicely.

When I got on the freeway, however, the noise of the wind was too much, so I put the windows back up. But then the smell got too strong, so I put the windows back down. Then I remembered the earplugs in my pocket that I always use for flying, so I put those in, and that worked. Except that I had to turn the radio up rather loud, and the cool breeze was becoming downright cold, so I had to turn the heater on. This setup lasted for about 50 miles.

I had a really lousy salad at Hardee's for lunch, which I ate with a spoon because it was easier than using a knife, and I only got lost twice trying to find the company I'm visiting, and my hotel room is nice but the wireless internet is flaky, and I had a better salad for dinner at a place called Rosie's Cantina but it's nothing like that place in Haleiwa, and it's getting late and I'm really tired and I think it's time to go to bed.

I hope I can sleep - if not I'll just get up and blog some more.


Nicole said...

Aaahhh....airline travel. Ick.

Just be glad you are traveling this week and not last week, which would have been a really bad time to be stuck in Alabama.

Don Carey said...

Fortunately, the tornadoes didn't hit where I am. But the weather is certainly much better this week!