Sunday, 30 August 2009

Travelog part IX

I'm still blogging on GMT+1 (British Daylight Time) for the moment. It's now 1:30PM and we've had lunch; M and I are watching simultaneous Star Trek, complete with the usual fiddliness of sync.

27/8/09 1:37PM. Captain reports we're passing Greenland. Meh. Can't see a thing, as it's on the opposite side.

5:00PM. Changing timezone, it's now 12:00 EDT. Captain estimates we'll be on the ground in 35 mins, if we get the nearer runway, or 40 mins if we get assigned the other. Incidentally, the far runway means we'll overfly a couple more US states. The Yanks don't seem to understand that states are allowed to be fairly large...

12:25PM. Landing shortly, suspending.

2:11PM. We've landed and collected baggage. Thanks to the Traal battery crash mentioned earlier, I have no information as to where we need to head next. After several failed attempts to get wifi to load emails, I get to an information desk which sells us 7 minutes' internet access (on their public-access computer) for a few bucks. Not cheap but we need this. Now at least we know the flight number and departure time, so we can happily kill the next hour - the flight isn't even on the boards yet. We poke around, looking for three things: a GPO (vital), a place to sit (vital), an internet connection (highly desired), and food to eat (pretty vital). Err, FOUR of our ... I'll come in again. NOBODY expects the Highly Esteemed Goon Show! Ha ha ha ha! Ahem. Anyhow. We got three of the above, so I'm typing this all up offline.

2:44PM. Michael goes off to look for wifi, flight info, and maybe a place called "The Lounge". I tell him that I'll swap SIMs in my phone and get onto the US number. And then, just what I always wanted to see. The pocket in which I'd placed both the AT&T and the usual Optus SIMs had been umop... and the Optus one was there, the AT&T not. Great. So not only am I unable to charge my phone here (charger takes 240V and won't take 110 - unlike, for instance, IBM laptop chargers), but my SIM card is loose in my backpack. No WAY am I tipping the whole backpack out looking for it - not here. In fact, I can't think of any time when I WOULD be happy to tip my backpack out, until maybe we crash in a hotel room... twelve hours from now. No thank you. Phone is bricked till we get home, I think.

2:51PM. M returns with news of our gate, so they're probably taking checkins. Let's go.

4:16PM. We're on the plane, it's due to depart, but we haven't gone yet. Meh. So what else is new.

4:22PM. Pushback. At last.

4:58PM. Takeoff... that was one slow taxi. (Wing congestion. Also fuselage congestion.)

5:44PM. For random reasons I begin contemplating takeoffs and landings. Traal and I have done quite a few of them so far. I counted fifteen, in fact; however, it has been noted that one of the goals of aviation is to maintain approximately equal numbers of takeoffs and landings, and at the moment, there is an imbalance in favour of takeoffs. Hopefully we'll be able to rectify this within the hour.

5:48PM. Ah! Me public. (No particular reason, just felt like saying that.)

5:52PM. I ask Michael, "Got a screwdriver?". My armrest has three screws in its underside, all of them extremely loose. Do Northwest Airlines not care about these things? Guess not.

7:40PM. Landed, transferred, and taken off again, all in somewhat of a hurry. Michael has the details of a couple of spiffy things we saw in Detroit Airport, so I'll be brief: They have two-lane travelators, and an express tram (works sorta like a monorail or maybe cable tram) for moving large numbers of passengers around the terminal efficiently. The tram is also very effective at moving two people backwards and forwards while they examine the tram itself... fortunately we weren't the last to board our connecting flight!

7:45PM. Changing to Texas time - it's now 6:45PM. We have two hours and some of flight, so we'll be down about on schedule.

2:11AM. Been a while since I wrote anything down, mainly for lack of GPO. Landed, met Anthson, found our baggage (yes, in that order), and went with him to a Tex-Mex eatery where his parents were waiting for us. Had dinner together. Went off to an Irish bar and chatted for a while. Now M and I are crashing in a little motel, Anth's gone home; he'll meet us in the morning at 8AM, so we have a nice five and a bit hours' sleep before we have to wake up. Time to crash, I think. Been quite a day, especially considering that we picked up six extra timezone hours along the way and called them all part of Thursday!

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