The Adventure Begins

Greetings from Atlanta!

After a long day and a bit of travelling, I’ve finally checked into my hotel here in Atlanta.

The first delay was because of the death on the Freeway (a suicide, apparently?) which caused the catering truck to be late. So instead of leaving at 9:35am we left at about 10:05.

The flight was relatively uneventful. You get absolutely no personal space, even on the A380. You get a headrest, which is good – but meant I didn’t really need my neck pillow. And the screen on the chair in front of you is pretty good – a good selection of movies, tv shows, documentaries both recent and ‘classic’. I didn’t use it much though, as you need to use their headphones. I have active noise-cancelling headphones, which are AMAZING on a plane. Active noise cancelling is where the headphones have a microphone on the outside detecting the ambiant noise level, and it plays the ‘opposite’ of that to you, cancelling it out. Really was worth the $100 or so they cost me. So I was watching movies etc on my tablet. It helped pass the time, and it wasn’t too arduous a journey – but I was still glad when it was over!

That gladness was shortlived, however, as I had arrived at LAX. This was horrible. Three or four other planes landed at the same time as us, and we walked down a very long halway until all passengers converge in this huge customs check area. The ‘helpful’ staff are all directing people to go queue up here, or there, or somewhere else. I remarked to the Australian couple I had sat next to on the flight that you knew we were in America because we were already being shouted at.

Anyway, we’re herded into these lines and literally queue for two hours. I hadn’t been too worried at first, as I had 3 hours until my connecting flight to Atlanta. But the longer I queued the more anxious I got (which doesn’t look good at customs, and the officer gave me some funny looks when I finally did get to her).

Once out of the initial customs check I collected my luggage and headed over to… ANOTHER customs check! This was a lot faster though, and I was out in about 15 minutes. This is leaving me with around 40-45 minutes until my flight left! After a minute or so of confused wanderings, a helpful staff member showed me where to go to put my luggage on the right conveyor belt so it would go with me to Atlanta. And then I had to ask another staff member where *I* was supposed to go! “No problem,” she tells me, “out that door, turn right and walk for about five minutes to Terminal 5!” When you’ve been flying and queuing for 16 hours – and awake 19 – five minutes walk is more like ten!

I finally get to terminal five, muddle my way through the self-checkin process, and slowly progess through the security checks – shoes off, belt off, everything out of pockets, jacket off, laptop out of the bag, stand here for the nudey-scan, shoes back on, belt on, jacket on laptop back in bag.

I get to my gate ten minutes before take off, weary, hungry, thirsty but relieved. Everything is back on track.

Or so I thought.

Five and a half hour flight on a 757 – if anything, slightly more personal space than the A380 -and I arrive in Atlanta. Hurrah! The end of my journey is nigh! Although I’m still tired, hungry and thirsty – the airline food, while surprisingly quite nice, has been in small and infrequent quantities – but I’m nearly at the end!

Atlanta airport is huge. I took the train from my arrival gate to the baggage claim area. Which is where I waited.

And waited.

I waited some more.

An hour after landing, with my luggage nowhere to be found, I eventually notice two small computer terminals with signs saying “Can’t find your luggage?” I scan my boarding pass and it politely informs me that my luggage is on ANOTHER FLIGHT which will be arriving in half an hour. Nobody had thought it relevant to tell me that was happening!! So I stick around for another hour or so until it finally… FINALLY!! shows up.

Everything from then on was simple – taxi to the hotel, check in and then go check out my room. It’s a NICE room! I’m on the 49th floor, with somewhat disconcerting floor-to-ceiling windows and just a low safety rail.

I’ve ordered some room service – stone-grilled pizza – for dinner and then I’m going to crash. It’s 9:30 in the evening here. Which means I’ve been awake – I think – for forty hours.

I apologise for any typos, errors in grammar or anything that’s wrong or doesn’t make sense in this post. I’m quite certain my brain’s struggling a bit.

When I can, I’ll be posting selected pics to Picasa, here.