Tuesday, July 10, 2007

San Diego to Atlanta via Charlotte

This is the first day of six weeks I'll be meandering through England, The Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Denmark and Iceland.

I'd like to say I'm writing from somewhere new and interesting, but I'm just on layover in Atlanta. Not to say Atlanta isn't full of characters, but it's a lot like the other two airports I've spent the last two days in. This "two days" business is partially due to rain delays in Charlotte, and partially due to the distance from San Diego to London. But mostly because the jumbo jet from Charlotte to London was broken — something we had to wait an hour sitting on the plane to find out.

Charlotte Aiport Lounge (before delays)

Besides the lost sleep, long lines and semi-competent staff I don't really mind cancellations or delays. It gives you a chance to meet people. While we waited for the news that we'd hav to get off the plane, I talked with an old Sri Lankan woman about place names, food, music, religion and tribulation. Once you get off the plane, the spirit changes a bit. We may have just as well been actors recreating Exodous: in search of something other than Egypt but not sure when we'll find it. Sustained by a common goal producing this strange mob/brotherhood, though we each had a different story:

  • The short but feisty tie-dye wearing English woman with "rodents at home", who wouldn't be able to teach her Tuesday kickboxing class
  • The freckled son and mom who left LAX at 4am
  • The very Scottish man who would miss his job interview
  • The savvy, sarcastic, balding and bespectacled businessman with plenty of horror stories ("A friend once was trying to get from Singapore to Johannesburg, but got stuck in India. They told him it'd be three days, and he ended up on some convoluted route through Athens involving a bus.")
  • The understanding guy who finished the last of his cash in Vegas and couldn't afford a place for the night

After waiting in various lines and talking with no less than four US Airways representatives, I arranged today's flight and picked up my bag. I was ready to sleep in the airport, but my overprotective mom insisted on arranging a room for me at "Sleep Inn", a few miles away. You know you're in North Carolina when you take "Billy Graham Road" to get to the hotel.

Charlotte Aiport Lounge (before delays)

Fortunately Delta is easer to work with than US Airways and I got here pretty easily. The major highlights were sitting next to Mrs. South Carolina and overhearing conversations:

Woman 1: God, I hate this airport.
Woman 2: Yeah, I'm never coming back.
1: I've got to, I just bought a house here.
2: Well I've had enough, I'm going to Florida.
1: Oh, I just moved from Florida... too many hurricanes.

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