Friday, August 22, 2008

Cleveland Trip

I went to Cleveland on Thursday, and I was on United Airlines this time. United has "economy plus" seating for a small fee (around $20 - 30). If you don't pick the economy plus seats, you are in the back of the plane and sandwiched in. The economy plus seats seemed to have a pretty big difference in space. I will have to remember that.

I flew to Dullas first and then I was on a small plane to Cleveland. The gates were very confusing, and there were several flights all going out of the same place. So, I asked if Cleveland was boarding yet. He said no. I sat down and about 10 minutes later (after hearing not a peep about Cleveland), I hear last call for Cleveland. Hmmm...So, they act like it is a big hurry but there are 5 or 6 other people in the same boat as I am. So, we walk down the stairs (could they make these flights any less convenient?) and we get in line. Call it a gut feeling or something but I decided to ask if this was the Cleveland flight. The man says, no, this is Jacksonville. AHHHHHH....they rush me and the 5 people behind me off to another place. Whew. I am glad I asked.

I landed before Travis, and he is flying in on a private plane into a different airport. So, I head to the hotel and get some work done. I leave at 5:45 to get him as he is supposed to land at 6:30 and it says that it is about 30 minutes. At 6:50, I arrive. It was an awful drive. First, my handly navigator in my phone took my directly through the middle of the projects. The airport was in downtown Cleveland. I was a little nervous at several of the lights, and I was very happy to get out of there. I did get to see a nice view of the water in downtown Cleveland for a few minutes. I had to drive through several "star" intersections that had very poor signs. I am not sure which is worse - star intersections or traffic circles. Then, they had this odd marginal road that you had to take almost in a big circle around and over the interstate. I was sooooo happp to finally make it. Then, I made sure to plug in "prefer highway" into the Navigator to avoid the bad areas. We had a pretty uneventful trip except that my phone died which meant my navigator died. We made it ok though. We finally got to the hotel around 7:45.

We had a nice dinner at an Italian place called Giovanni's. It was very good. I had Veal Parmigiana. I had to laugh about people ordering that in Knoxville when I worked at Olive Garden in college. They would ask for it as Chicken or Veal Parm e g anna. Hee hee...

The business part of the trip was good, and the flight home was ok. While I was waiting in Cleveland (I had 3 hours before my flight), I made some new friends. They had just gotten off of a Southwest flight that had trouble with pressurization system on the plane and had to land in Cleveland. These new friends went immediately to the bar as any good traveler should. They cracked me up saying that the wanted the pilot to keep going - what was some pain? They also said that the flight attendant made a joke that the way Southwest keeps its fares low is by flying you halfway to your destination. Hee Hee. I did have a scare in Cleveland as they said the spark plugs were broken.

On the flight from Dulles to Tampa, I met a very cool chick. You know how sometimes you meet strangers who help you make sense of your life without even meaning to? That is kind of what it was like. I was struggling with a situation, and I was pretty upset. Next thing I know, I sit down and start talking to this person who like very much like my best friend in high school. I ask her if she lives in Tampa, and she says no but her stuff is there right now. Thinking that is an odd answer, I asked more. She had worked in a job that she liked but she was tired of and wanted a change. So, she and her significant other did an around the world trip over a 7 month time period. She said they mainly wanted to unwind a relax. They didn't plan a lot, and they didn't necessarily do a lot. They did visit some friends and they did some sightseeing. We chatted the whole flight, and I asked how long she would be in Tampa. She said she didn't know. Her answers were so shocking to me that they really made me think. She said she even saw me walking on the plane looking stressed with the phone to my ear and thought about the fact that she really wasn't ready to be that connected again. Not that I could ever just take 7 months and travel around the world, but I was very intrigued by what she said. Not just what she said but her attitude was interesting. She inspired me, but I am not exactly sure on what. :) I do know that my stress level dropped about 100% after being on the plane. V ery odd but nice. I also know that I have just added something to my have to do before I die list. I want to do an around the world trip. :) Maybe not 7 months, but I want to do it. :)

Thanks Salem wherever you are and wherever you end up. Your spirit helped me. :)

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