13 September 2003

Road Warrior

This humble spot in the net galaxy has been silent for a few days as I adapt to a new job that requires airport hopping and hotel living. It's been some years since I had to do the travel thing and my first foray back into the jet setter realm did not go smoothly at all.

First, this internet thing indeed has transformed travel planning into an easier experience, or at least a more convenient one. Click, click, click and presto, a complete travel itinerary is conjured up. However, one must be cautious as I booked my first trip on Yahoo! Travel, and was unfortunately unaware that Southwest Airlines is not included in the generated lists of available airline flights. So I settled for a stopover flight on another airline.

On the departure trip, my connecting flight was delayed a couple hours, all due to some sort of mechanical failure with a backup generator on the plane. When I finally arrived at my destination, the rental car company I booked a reservation with was closed. Luckily, one of their competitors was still open and had a car I could rent. Then I made my next error. Instead of meticulously studying a map, or perhaps sketching out a route using the aforementioned wonderful internet travel tools, I obediently followed the simple scribbled directions on the back of a discarded receipt. Which got me completely lost in a strange city at a very late hour. I did finally find my way to my lodging selection, but many hours after my scheduled check in time.

The return trip was just as rocky. On Friday, at 3:45 pm, we made a big breakthrough on the project I'm working on, and became engaged in pursuit of accomplishment. But I had a plane to catch. And it was difficult to abruptly disengage to head homeward. So I started my journey back a little later than anticipated but still I alloted enough spare time to accomodate such happenstances. Then I got stuck behind a traffic accident on a busy Friday rush hour. I circled the complete perimeter of the airport, somehow missing the entrance to where the general public enters and exits. Instead, I was scrambling to get out of private airfields. I did make it on time, though. Catching my connecting flight was a close call, too, because the departure gate was on the opposite end of the arrival gate. I hustled to the gate and made it onboard, but after landing in Phoenix Sky Harbor, I discovered my luggage did not. Yoy!

Some other notes recorded...

  • Be prepared ahead of time. I've been online so much I think I am oblivous to managing without net access. Download and print out (or store to PDA) needed information. Having to pull out and unfold a notebook computer to confirm or double check arrangements at a reservation desk is clumsy.
  • Bring enough reading material. One book and a magazine isn't enough and in cramped quarters using a notebook computer is unwieldy. The news stores and book dealers in the airport have a pitiful selection
  • Bring some snack foods onboard. Just some peanuts or cheese would be suitable enough to compensate for missed meals.


1) The subconscious knows that you are hurtling through the air at 500mph, 5 miles above the ground,held up by a couple of jet engines made of too many parts, spinning faster than metal was ever intended to rotate. I never count on getting any real work done--something engaging in the walkman or a good mystery novel are better traveling companions.<br>
2) A fistful of granola bars are better junk food than junk food.<br>
3) I know--and accept with monklike resignation--that things at home will go to hell in my absence.<br>
3a) The strausplace website is down.
Been trying to get with the hosting provider - they've ignored my emails as of yet and I'm out of town until Friday...

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