Sunday, December 21, 2008

From Rio to Chicago

I can't believe it! I managed to get through Miami pass control, pick up bag, drop it off at connections, get through security control and get to the gate for the Dallas flight all within 25 minutes! That's stunning. I was fully expecting to lose the flight to Dallas. Instead I boarded with ease. I'm overwhelmed.

On the shuttle to pass control and again going through security I came face to face with a noted Brazilian comedian whom I've seen many times on TV. He was on the same flight from Rio as me also. I thought of getting him to autograph a book I've bought Marcia as a present, but I've never done that type f thing and any way he was in business class and they'd have thrown me out (and of course he was probably trying to sleep, as was I). In the shuttle he was most quiet, obviously avoiding eye contact with the several people who recognized him also, and keeping attentive eyes on a young girl I would take to be in granddaughter. I'm not the fan type of person - I'm happy to let him be private when not performing.

Flight out of Miami was fine, the guy next to me not so fat that he invaded my space. Looking out, it was a delight to see the Beach, the strip up towards Boca Raton and the way in which the condo developers have been able to introduce lagoons, islands, channels and canals in the design of their gated communities - it might be plastic commerce but at least its different and I'm sure more pleasant to see from the ground.

Strangely you can see something of the same thing flying into Dallas. The developers hare have used waterways, lakes and pools to create different vistas in their communities also. Must be a fashionable trend - and to be encouraged. Bringing water into a landscape is an old practice - the original paradise of the Persians had such features - and is infinitely pleasurable to see.

Landed in a fresh skied Dallas, to instantly feel the chill in the air. My bag came through almost straight away (twice in one day!), the shuttle turned up as I walked into the hall and I was checked in to the flight to Chicago instantly. Something just has to go wrong here. Sure enough, I was given a 'special search' code on my boarding card so my handbags were swabbed, but I'm used to that - it's happened at least five times this year.

Strolled through the shopping areas, bought magazines for myself and presents for Marcia, Mother and Paul. Grabbed a coffee and muffin at Starbucks and connected the Mac and iPod to power to charge myself for the next jump.

The flight to Chicago was delayed by almost two hours; fortunately my flight from Chicago was late enough in the evening that this wasn't going to matter. The reason for the delay, I thought, was the snow storm passing over the mid-west and through New England. In this case it was the consequence of a Continental flight going off the runway at Denver and bursting into flames the previous night.

Landing in Chicago the effects of the storm was evident however, with snow shovelled off roads and runways of the airport. Walking out into the boom from the plane my breathe froze in a cloud before me. Definitely below zero...

Finding my way to Terminal 5 was most frustrating. In this terminal signs represent the way things were before they restructured everything for security reasons.

So you find yourself going in circles. I grabbed someone, who was kind enough to show me the way and commiserate with me - and yes she had to do the same several times a day. And here I am criticizing the airports in Brasil. Chicago O'Hare is right up there with them ...

Got through controls in time for the scheduled Swiss Air flight to Zurich - which of course is also delayed 'thanks to weather conditions'. And in this area of the concourse there is no area to eat or relax; just the usual seats and the floor, where I 'camped', connected the Mac to power and wrote up this blog.

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