Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Into the West

A red gibbous moon set to the West over Orient, New York as we cruised through the darkened streets. Ron, my driver, eyed the road, ever mindful of the deer that congregated on and along side the road. There were seven of us in the car, all bound for overseas adventures. My compatriots were a family including a father, mother, their son, as well as the mother's sister and her son. They were bound for a family gathering in Bonaire via San Juan, Puerto Rico.

We kept mostly to ourselves, sharing a few snippets of conversation. Our thoughts were mostly on the long flights each of us had before us. We were bound for Kennedy Airport, and fortunately, the traffic was light due to the winter vacation.

I was able to quickly check in at and make it through security. The TSA agent at Kennedy was already short with the international travelers. She bemoaned the lack of "public courtesy." I think she forgets too quickly that most of these people do not speak English well, if at all, and are not used to checking through American security. I kept a smile on my face however, and moved on with little trouble.

My first of three flights over the next twenty hours or so, was a flight from New York to Detroit. I had been worried about the weather, but we were not delayed at all and the weather in Detroit was favorable as well. Since I take at least four of these 10,000 mile trips each year, I am able to maintain a "Silver Elite" status with Northwest Airlines quite easily. The main perks of this membership is automatic upgrades to first class on domestic flights and the privilege of checking in at my convenience.

The first class cabin was sparsely populated on my flight, with only three of us in the five rows of seats. I had plenty of room to stretch out which is nice. My only regret is that this is the shortest of my three flights, and I would much prefer to have the first class seat on the flight from Detroit to Japan.

While we were taking off, I heard the sound of a notebook hitting the deck, and due to the steep incline of our take off, it began sliding right down the center of the isle. A quick slide of my boot, and I had arrested the notebook mid-slide and with a little footwork, I was able to corral the notebook into my seat for safekeeping. There was a Northwest logo on it, and it turned out to be the head flight attendant's book. He had not seen me get the notebook, so he was frantically calling the rear flight attendant to be on the look out for the wayward notebook. He was most appreciative of my recovery efforts.

Once we arrived in Detroit, I made my way to my gate, and found that I had about a four-hour layover, so I made my way to a "Chili's" restaurant and had some lunch. While I was enjoying my chicken sandwich, I observed a man drop a "Airbourne" pill into a full glass of beer. I can only imagine that the lemon-lime tablet gave the beer a "Corona with lime" taste to it. The waitress had offered him a glass of water, but the guy insisted on taking it with his beer. I hope he enjoyed his immune system boosting brew.

My last minutes here in the US for several months draw near, so I will sign off and continue when I reach Saipan.

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