Posts Tagged ‘airports’

Black Friday…ish

Wesley and Trey’s friend, Mario, had an early flight out of Charlotte and needed to be at the airport early for a 0930 flight. We were due to get up at 0530 to get him there for 0730 however Dani (pronounced Dana, remember) decided three am would be a good time to howl like a banshee in her sleep so I was awake since then. We were getting to the airport early as Thanksgiving is traditionally a bad time of the year to travel. No one was expecting the day after Thanksgiving to be as awful however better to be safe than sorry. New TSA interventions also meant time to get through security may be increased so we arrived at Charlotte airport at 0730. Shouldn’t have bothered as there was hardly anyone there. We got Mario off safely and my plan was to attack Black Friday crowds and replace my broken laptop.

Wesley hates shopping and told me he did not want to do this. This seemed kind of mad as it’s the best day off the year for sales evidently and also, hell, black Friday … how was I going to miss this. He was convinced by his husband to go to a new Best Buy close to the Charlotte house. Thus it was I saw my first Black Friday crowd.

Talk about underwhelming.

The idea of Black Friday is that people camp out overnight in the cold and run like madmen into the store (when it is opened at midnight) to get their price-reduced teles and computers and sheets and towels and various sundries. In honesty, the prices over here are significantly reduced from ours in any case so if you come from Australia every day seems like Black Friday anyways.

Now I didn’t go there at 5 am when the store opened (I am not that mad and Wesley certainly isn’t) however we got there at 8 and there was really a slight crowd, no more than you would see on an average day.  Certainly there were no women scrabbling over each other and strangling each other with their ponytails as I was hoping. Sadly there were no blood baths. We were served instantly and had no problems getting in and out of the store within less than twenty minutes. Disappointing. Really disappointing.  I was hoping for sales carnage.

I’ve bought a laptop, better than my previous computer and costing 300 dollars less than the Australian smaller one. Wierd. Other than that computer people I am not sure what I’ve got. I did get Windows Office for 20 bucks as a Black Friday bonus!!!! And the ” and the @ are the wrong way around and driving me mental but I am sure I can sort that (but not sure how just yet.)

The rest of the day was spent in an alcoholic haze. Evidently Thanksgiving does not stop on the Thursday. I begged off to bed at 9 pm after being up since 3. I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

I am glad I have a laptop though. It’s like losing a limb when I don’t have a computer.


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Melbourne 3/11 – 0848

First leg of the trip over. Arrived in Melbourne after an hours sleep and my Dad and I arriving at Adelaide Airport at 5 am to take advantage of the free coffee at the Qantas club.  We were not alone. The place was heaving! I am writing this in the Melbourne Qantas club lounge and there is no one here.

What happened to Melbourne time? Why is it an hour ahead over here and not half an hour? Did they not do daylight savings? If not, why not? Why did we? It has been extremely annoying and will be one of the things I address when I rule Australia.

The other thing I will address is the banks raising  mortgage interest rates by double the Reserve Banks suggestion!!! Thanks for that. That’s  a  taken outside and against the wall firing squad response when I rule Australia. Let them be warned.

I may be sleep deprived and slightly psychotic.

I am already sweaty. I am not sure what it is about customs that makes me sweat as though I am a convicted criminal. I probably shouldn’t have watched Midnight Express at a formative age. I know I am just leaving the country and my passport is in order and the closest thing to a drug I have is an antacid but it’s the principle of the thing. I worry.

So I am off to shower and hopefully stay awake for another 2 hours. Hopefully this rambling sleep deprived missive is amusing and not too worrying. I’ll sleep on the plane. Hopefully they all have sound canceling headphones so they can’t hear me snore.

There will be snoring.

See you in LA

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This is kind of a to-do list to remind me of stuff as well as give you an insight into what the impending US trip will entail.  But it’s more to remind me …. As you know my memory is  über tragic.

List of things to do still:

Organise travel insurance (any ideas?)

Book hotel in Washington, the Omni.

Book Mental Health Conference in Washington, which is why I need the above hotel. (Work has very kindly said they will pay for this and half the hotel room. Nice.)

Find a tie. Buy a tie. Not polyester. (And all the ties with the design I want are polyester. This is called Welcome to Nigel’s Life!)

Send Wesley the itinerary

Organise meetings for possible employment

Get my iPhone sorted so I can use it in the States.  (This is possible, right?!  Last time I was there I didn’t have a mobile. It was like being without a limb)

Buy number 7 of the 10 Wonders of the Food World to take to people in the States (You’ll see, American people. You will all thank me and be amazed at my genius. Again.)

Buy Piggy Jim Jams. Not polyester.

Buy Horlicks. No-one sleeps well over there. Horlicks fixes everything. (Did you know my insomnia has been cured since I started night duty. I’ve gone from getting maybe 3 hours of sleep a night to 8!!!!! I am super stoked! I was just in the wrong time zone.)

Book Hotel In MD. (the first two nights of the trip I’m hanging with Ray again. We’re going to shoot guns!!!  )

Pack. (Lightly. I am being taken clothes shopping when I am there.  Evidently I lack style!!!!   I know!!!!!!   The man with four shirts lacks style!!!!   As if! )

There is much more I am sure. That seems light. I suppose as long as I have tickets, money, passport I can wing the rest.

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Back… ish

Back in Adelaide after a relatively uneventful flight.

Certainly way more uneventful than the poor sods who are currently waiting at Heathrow for the volcano to stop erupting. We missed being interrupted by five minutes. Literally. Amazingly good luck and thanks to everyone who wrote expressing concern. Shame on you guys who didn’t. hehehe

I’ve got jet lag and sleeping badly and the house is wierd and full of bugs… how do they get in????

I’ve still got some posts to complete and put on here. Posts I commenced and then didn’t complete due mainly to tiredness

So keep checking. A few more entries before I put this holiday to bed. And I will sort out the flick’r finally.

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Lounge room – Heathrow

Buying into an airline club membership was money well spent. It is soooooo much more  pleasant here then mingling with the masses downstairs until you have to. When you’re tired, and we’re tired already before we even start thanks to CHIL, its been a Godsend.

CHIL turned out to be even worse than we thought. cockroaches are fun Lauren, get a mirror ball out for them and they will boogie all night. breakfast was surprisingly decent after they worked out who we were… didn’t update the room numbers.

gotta go. Flight being called. More soon.

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Since I wrote yesterday I flew from Toronto to Charlotte with Air Canada. This was an experience. Smallest aircraft I have been in for forever. A CRJ 100/200. So old it had propellers. Not really but it was very old. The flight was quite delightful with a very sweet stewardess who told me I was her hero for the flight… ie I was sitting in the emergency exit.

She very kindly explained to me how to open the door in the case of an emergency, pull lever down, pull door in towards you, throw door out the hole, follow the door. I smiled sweetly and told her I understood her instructions and would be able  to handle myself manfully in the event of a crisis. All the time she was talking to me thought I was thinking, “Sweetie, if there’s a crash my plan of action is to run up and down the aisle screaming and grabbing everyone’s oxygen mask and inhaling deeply.” Fortunately there was no such event.

Charlotte is really pretty from the sky. It looks like it’s populated with monopoly houses.

I then had to travel to Murrylund ( Baltimore airport) flying with US Airways at technically 2000 hours. The flight was late. We left the airport terminal (note the use of the word terminal) at 2020. We coasted to take off and were revved up to go. Then the storm hit.

The plane was packed. Literally sardines in tins. The seat pitch of US  Airways flights is non existent. My knees were in the back of the seat of the person in front. To stretch your legs you have to dislocate your knees and slide them under the chair. And to add to the joy there were two very loud jokers behind us who regaled us with their humour. “There was this one time. In Band Camp.”  (Yes, American Pie – hysterical. That didn’t get old quick at all!) “Lets get going cos I’ve got to f*** my woman” – (hold on to him sweetie – he’s a keeper)  “If I don’t get a smoke soon I’m going to go Postal” (Surely he should have been chucked off at this point – I could have joined him.)

We were stuck on the tarmac for 2 hours and 40 minutes. 2. Hours. And. Forty. Minutes. It is technically possible to go insane under duress I discovered.  I don’t blame US Airways at all. I am all for flying safely and not flying if it’s not safe. My beef was that we were being held hostage on the plane and after, say, an hour they should return to the airport and allow people of the option of staying or leaving and pursuing other avenues. There is evidently law that states the plane has to return to the terminal after three hours but, with the greatest respect, that law was written by someone who had never endured being stuck on the tarmac in a sardine can with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum for five minutes let alone three hours.

I spent the entire time willing the flight to be cancelled so I could get off the plane and  beg sanctuary from Wesley in Charlotte. My friend Ray was picking me up from Baltimore airport. I had rung him to advise him of earlier delay and my anticipation that the flight would arrive near 10. As the flight got more delayed I wanted to ring him to tell him to go home but,  due to my mobile not working in the US, I couldn’t get through. I eventually asked the irate woman next to me to borrow her phone which she kindly allowed. At that very second of getting the phone it was announced we were leaving and had to take off. Turn off your phone please, Sir.

The plane eventually took off at 2240 and we got into Baltimore after midnight. Everyone was exhausted and defeated. Even the jokers had shut up. I was so stiff and sore. I limped off the plane to ring Ray who, by rights, should have gone home to bed but (God love you sir!!!) was still waiting for me.   I have never, ever, ever been so glad to see someone in my life.  Seriously  the Knight in Shining Armour award goes to Ray for services above the call of duty. He was waiting at the airport for hours.

He picked me up and found me a hotel and made sure I was safe and settled in the room before leaving me to get some sleep. Complete and utter thanks buddy. You have no idea how much you saved me. I am forever in your debt.

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Not sure when this will be published. Apologies for missing yesterday but it was crazy busy with getting to Heathrow and getting back from Paris on the Chunnel. In the ridiculous way of the traveller I have been in four countries in the past 24 hours. I am completely manky with sweat as American airlines now only allow one item of luggage per flight (so I elected to take the laptop and sacrificed the hand luggage which had the gear for a shower.)

I am writing this in Toronto Airport on word 10 with the view of transferring it when I get wifi connection.  Got up super duper early at 0530 which was really 430 as the clocks went forward this morning. Had a nice trip on Air Canada next to an irish teacher who likes his drink and other things. Arrived in customs in Toronto and the guard was itching to strip search me. The questions you are asked and the sneer with which every answer you gave was received made it so special to arrive in the country. Honestly do they train Border Security to be so rude. I talked to the Irish guy after we got through customs and he had received the same treatment.

We were fingerprinted (more eye rolling), picture taken (eye rolling and tutted), stood on an inexplicable mat for no apparent reason, had our hands and bags and laptops swabbed, shoes removed. Thank god they didn’t make me take my belt off like they did in Heathrow as these trousers are ridiculously too large for me and I almost mooned  Customs. It was however the only thing they didn’t ask of me. It was a ridiculously humiliating experience. I am all for border security and want to fly safely but do they have to be so mean spirited with it? As the Irish Guy said, “You are called Sir twenty times and it is meant zero.”

We discussed our experiences over a $11 pint of beer!!!! $11!!!!!!!!!! Even the alcoholic Irishman thought that was crappy and bought duty free wine and drank that. Ah, you crazy Irish.

Anyways I am off to Charlotte and then Murrylund ( the pronounciation of Maryland evidently and you’ve got to deepen your voice when you say it) and back to Charlotte for the rest of the week.

The pilots who are transporting us to Charlotte are discussing what has happened on The Young and the Restless. I am not filled with confidence.

My English Readers… Ie Rachel. Can you let the fam know the mobile isn’t working here. Thanks!

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Singapore Lights

VERY quickly writing this.

Got to Singapore. Showered. Quick blog thing to tell people we got here.

If you fly to Singapore, arrive in the middle of the night.  The lights in the harbour and surrounds are stunningly beautiful

Tried to take a picture but all I got was airplane window.

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