Back to blogging… :)

This has just been such a crazy, crazy busy week that I haven’t been blogging.  At all.  I’m sorry.  I’m going to try to be better.  There are so many things I could say about the past week, but it would take a lot of blog posts.  So I’m going to boil it down into bullet points for you.  🙂

1.  Mike is in Germany which has a 9-hr time difference from Seattle.  We don’t talk anymore; we email.  It’s cheaper and more time-difference-friendly.  I write long, rambling descriptive emails.  Mike writes short, to the point emails.  I arrived in Berlin and have reached the hotel.  They drink a lot of beer here.  I’m kidding.  Mike writes longer emails than that.  But not much longer.

2.  I went to Las Vegas this weekend.  I ran a marathon on Sunday night.  My pace was awesome until mile 16 when I had significant stomach problems, felt horribly nauseous, and ended up taking forever to run that last ten miles.  I didn’t get the final race time I wanted to.  I didn’t really care.  Running the Vegas strip at night with all the lights surrounded by 43,999 other runners (I was the 44,000th one) was an incredible experience.

3.  After the race I stayed with Linda and Lia and their two adorable dogs Keifer and Zuko.  I didn’t want to ever leave; I wanted to just stay forever.  I probably would have stayed forever except that I knew Piper was waiting patiently for me mewing.  Thank you so much Lia and Linda for such an amazingly relaxing and restorative visit!  And thank you, Keifer and Zuko, for making sure that I stayed warm by curling up next to me at each opportunity!  🙂

4.  I will do a Thankful Thursday post tomorrow, when it is no longer Thursday.

All right… those are the bullet points.  You can consider yourself all caught up with my life.

I flew into Seattle yesterday afternoon and reunited with a certain little black cat who (I hope) was glad to see me.  She mewed a lot.  I think that’s a good sign.

My flight back was through the L.A. airport.  I thought it would be amazingly well-organized because it’s so huge and so many international flights depart out of there, but I can honestly say I’ve never been in such a disorganized airport before.  When I first made my flight reservation and it left me with a three-hour layover in L.A., I felt like that was excessive.  Now I understand why.

I got off the plane in L.A. at gate 36B.  Hmm.  Ok.  I found a flight departure schedule to see which gate I was leaving out of.  Gate T03.  Um… ok.  I had no idea how to relate gate 36B and gate T03, so I walked up and down the terminal looking for some signage.  Nothing.  Apparently I could either exit the terminal to the baggage claim or keep wandering around this set of 30-something gates.  Finally I asked an airport employee.  She told me I needed to take a shuttle and pointed me towards a door out of the airport building.  When I hear the word ‘shuttle’ in an airport, I think of a little train that runs neatly between two concourses.  This was definitely not that.  It was a big, rumbly, squeaky bus that must have been built in the 1970’s. The bus came and as I was about to walk down the stairs and get on the bus, one of the employees stopped me.

“Are you trying to get to terminal 6?”

“Um… I don’t know.”

“Are you going to Maryland, Orlando, Houston, or Atlanta?”

“No.”

“Then you don’t want to take that bus.  It’s for terminal 6.  Where are you going?”

“Gate T03”

“Which terminal is that in?”

“I don’t know… the departure chart didn’t say.”

“Where are you flying to?”

“Seattle”

“Oh, you want terminal 4.  Wait for the next bus.”

I think that LAX paid that employee to stand there and individually direct travelers rather than actually put up appropriate signage and name their terminals, concourses, and gates meaningful names.  Anyway, I waited for the bus to get to terminal 4, and then got on.  The bus looked even older than the bus for terminal 6, and it went even more slowly.  We went so slowly that I could have outrun the bus.  Easily.  Even after having run a marathon three days earlier.  The bus drove in between these painted yellow lines that were acting as road markers, but since the entire huge airport complex was a sea of concrete, the bus actually could have taken a much shorter way to get to terminal 4 except that it was apparently very important to stay inside the lines.  We got to an “intersection”, which basically meant that there was a set of yellow lines running perpendicular to our yellow lines, and the bus stopped.  It waited while a Boeing 747 rolled down the opposing “street”, and crossed in front of us and then barreled down a runway and took off.  Watching a 747 cross the road in front of you is a very surreal experience.  I still half feel like I dreamed it.  Once the plane crossed the “road” the bus started moving again with a jerk and several squeaks.  We arrived at terminal 4 about fifteen minutes later and disembarked.  I walked up two flights of steps into the airport and found myself confronted by signs pointing to gates.  Go left for gates 35 – 42 and right for gates 30 – 34.  There were no signs for a T03 gate anywhere in sight.  There was a flight departure schedule there, so I checked it.  It listed my Seattle flight, but it didn’t have a gate listed next to it.  Hmm.  I started walking further into the terminal, but I was stopped by an airport employee.

“Where are you going?”

“Gate T03.”

“Ah, ok.  Go to gate 34B.”

“The schedule in terminal 7 said to go to gate T03.”

“Where are you going?”

“Seattle.”

“Yes, that’s right.  Gate 34B is to your right.”

Um… ok.  I guess Gate T03 equals Gate 34B.  I went to gate 34B and waited for my flight.  Even with the slow bus ride, there was still a long wait.  I was starving, and there was a sign for a food court, so I followed it.  The food court consisted of a burger king, a fish place, and a starbucks.

I had something to eat and then went back to wait for my plane to board.  As it turned out, the airport employees didn’t announce boarding, so people just started lining up on their own to get into the plane.  That was ok, except that since we weren’t boarding by rows, things got pretty congested and crazy in the plane with everyone trying to get to their seats.  The first class passengers were also kind of unhappy that they hadn’t gotten to board first.  Oh well.  We all got on eventually.  🙂  I also noticed that we were getting on an Alaska Airlines plane, even though my flight was supposed to be Delta.  The Alaska Airline stewardesses said we were going to Seattle, though, so I didn’t let a little thing like flying the wrong airline stop me from boarding.  Ultimately I didn’t care what airline I flew.  Except that I found out after boarding that Alaska Airlines doesn’t serve those little bags of peanuts that Delta does.  Live and learn.  🙂

When we got off the plane in Seattle and I saw a huge sign that said, “This way to terminal and baggage claim” I felt relieved to see some signficant signage that told me where to go.

The thing I found the most interesting about that whole incident is that I had never had that type of airport experience before.  Everything about it was a little Alice-in-Wonderland-ish.  I kind of expected a Cheshire cat with a huge smile to tell me that what I actually wanted was gate P14Z37, and that T03 was the type of gate name that could only lead somewhere stupid.  The airports I’ve been to have always been very well-organized and had an over-abundance of signs.  This was just interesting.  Maybe I just flew into the wrong terminal and there are other terminals there that run like clockwork.  Regardless, it was interesting.

I have limited news on Mike, since he isn’t the most wordy email writer.  Here’s what I’ve gathered so far.

1.  Germany is interesting.

2.  They drink a lot of beer there and it can be hard to find water, especially non-sparkling water.

3.  Christmas is VERY big in Europe, and Mike has already been to four Christmas festivals.

4.  Berlin has a Space-Needle-like structure, and Mike visited it.

5.  Mike is going to see the gate that used to be the gate for the Berlin wall this weekend and will probably also visit a museum.

So anyway, there’s news of Mike and me.  And here I am again, throwing my random thoughts at you guys.  Hopefully you’re glad to have me back to blogging.  🙂

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1 Comment

Filed under Holidays, Random Thoughts, Travel

One response to “Back to blogging… :)

  1. Jim Armantrout

    Karen, Nice informative post. I flew through LAX once years ago, apparently it has gotten much worse. Jesus keep you. Love Dad

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