Friday, February 27, 2009
random travel observations
I decided when I was on my walk around the hotel grounds this morning that the complaining I did earlier made me sound very spoiled. The truth is that this venue seems pretty ideal for a conference and I am extremely lucky to be here (and I mean that in so many ways). It would be great if it didn't cost $3.25US for a coffee but it is what it is. And I am assuming there will be free coffee once the conference starts in earnest.
Yesterday was a very long travel day. I miscalculated and finished my book way too early in the trip. As a result, my notebook is filled with random observations I made as I sought to fill the time:
I always feel nervous and guilty when I go through security, immigration or customs. I feel like I am going to be "caught." This is ridiculous since I never lie in these situations or smuggle.
There are signs up at US Immigration stating that all travellers will have their hands scanned and photos taken. I only saw this happen to one person. He was an older white guy so not sure if this was random or some new kind of profiling I've never heard about.
You wouldn't know that the North American economy is in crisis, judging by the number of people who are travelling. Both my flights were full, with long standby lists.
My flight out of Chicago was delayed because the plane was struck by lightning. Folks were very upset but I kind of felt that I would rather have a safe plane than one that left on time.
I have never had a sandwich in an airport that didn't taste like cardboard.
One woman seemed to think that the airport was a great place to find a boy friend. In the waiting area in Chicago, I overheard the following conversation:
40ish Blonde Woman (flirtatiously): "Watcha readin?"
Attractive 50 something man: Mumbled title.
Woman: "Is it a Christian book?"
Man: "I suppose it is."
Woman: "That's what I had heard about it."
Woman: "You seem really interested. You just keep writing things down."
Man: "Just noting some things."
Woman: "Do you live in Dallas?"
Woman: Launches into detailed explanation of where she lives. Mortified I get up and leave.
Some time later, after we change gates, I see them again. She is calling out to him, "Don't go away! I'm a catch!"
A few minutes later, she has moved on to another man. From across the waiting room I can hear her talking about going to church.
So - was she prosletyzing or cruising? Or both?
When I am desperate enough, I will read anything. Apparently this includes the in-flight magazine (this month's issue features the NBA) and something called Skymall. I found myself coveting this and this and thinking this was kind of gross. And then I felt guilty that I don't have anything like this to protect my neighbours from my unsightly air conditioner (but what would protect them from all the unsightly dog poo in my yard?). I could go on and on. And the prose in the catalogue was fantastic.
I was too shy to talk to two women I saw at the Chicago end of my flight who I guessed were going to the conference. I redeemed myself by greeting them as we waited for our bags in Dallas. They told me that they have been coming to this conference for six years. They promised me that I was going to have a wonderful time. They also told me that they are expecting 1,000 participants this year. Wow.
The "Networking Opportunity" I mentioned in a previous post is happening now. Time to take a deep breath, gather up my leis and head on down.