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Thursday, June 24, 2004

Back where the ground stays firm, even if the sky blows away
Haiku: Tea
Hands around my cup,
Comfort warming to my soul,
Peace found in tea leaves.
--6/24/04

Cathy's Quaking Adventure
Which was the greater adventure of last week--being the "ghost" passenger on my flights or being in an earthquake? Earthquake, hands down.
While the actual flights were extremely smooth--surprising with all the bad weather across the country--getting ON the planes was not. I will make a very long and boring story short--I guess the travel agency mixed up my first and last names, and the ticket agents could not find me on their passengers lists. I ended up not getting on my original Delta flight out of Ft. Wayne but being transferred to American, to go to San Diego through Dallas. When I tried to board in Dallas, using the boarding pass issued me in the Fort, it got spit out and I had to have an entirely new one printed out.

I had M. in our office double check my flights home, to no avail. It was the ticket agent in S.D. that discovered the name mixup; she corrected it. I flew into Chicago (big mistake) and felt okay about my boarding pass for the last hop...until the flight was cancelled due to, what else, a storm in Ft.W. Guess they had 'em every day I was gone.

My goodness it is difficult to get out of Chicago--it's the great yawing maw of travelers. I could not get an American flight out of there before 9:30 Friday morning (and this is about 5 p.m. Thursday). Got on the phone to the travel agency (make 'em earn that commission!) while I waited (and waited) for my luggage (a miracle! it came!) and after 45 min. or so seemed to be on a United flight out at 9 p.m. Meant a long evening of waiting and perhaps I should have tried to rent a car, but that's a four or five hour trip at rush hour too!

Unfortunately, to get back to the United check-in, the information booth guy told me I had to go OUTSIDE and walk AROUND the terminals...which proved even worse than it might be normally because they are working on the sidewalks and I periodically had to cross the street and walk in the mediums.

After arriving at the United terminal,which is beautiful and chaotic, I found the right line--the longest, slowest line ever--the rebooking line. Here's me, Miss Hoosier, in the line with all the international passengers...I'm a 20-minute flight from home and those folks were trying to get to London, Japan and ... Newark!

After 45 minutes or so it's my turn and the agent was SO nice...also the agent working next to him, a lady who said she'd been working since 4:30 a.m.! He worked and worked to find me...to switch my (very original) Delta ticket to United...tried to make phone calls...after 15 minutes, no luck. I ended up buying an entirely new ticket at an exorbitant price.

On my way to security, looked at my ticket, and to my horror, although my first name was now correct, my last name was now "Beems." That is NOT my last night.

Of course, that alerted the security person and sent me straight to the high risk line.

After the embarrassment of having my very messy carry-on searched and my person wanded, I was through, and could finally go to the restroom, get some dinner (a slight appeasement, as they had a Wolfgang Puck Express there), and read my book for three hours.

After finally getting on the plane home, another delay--the Jessica-Simpson look-a-like flight attendant kept counting and counting us--we were three passengers over. I was sure it was all me--under the three different names I'd been booked under for the trip.

Thank good, three former stand-by passengers spoke up and it seems they accounted for the overage. We were off!

The lights of Ft. W. never looked so good and I was beat when I walked in the door at 11 p.m.

Wish we all could be California girls
I did like the Sunshine State, although I discovered the San Diego area has something called "June gloom" which results in cloudy skies, at least in the mornings. On Wed., they lasted most of the day.

But Monday was very sunny in the afternoon, which I had free, and spent at the very nice Hyatt pool. Got sunburned. In the evening, walked to all the shopping--did I get exercise or what!

Tuesday was Earthquake Day, the biggest the San Diego area has had in TWENTY years. Lucky me! The first little jolt felt like here at work when they dynamite at the quarry. The second--no question something was going on. Turned out to be a 5.2!!!! We ran outside--but nothing happened for several minutes so we trailed back in and finished the sessions.

At 5:30 I was back in the room and turned on TV and learned more about earthquakes than I wanted to know, considering I was on the 12th floor of the building and there was a 1-5% chance of a BIGGER earthquake in the next 72 hours. Not a big chance but I felt the need to get out of there and on lower ground. Took myself to dinner at a nice Italian place across the plaza and ate, read, and drank a very nice wine for 2 hours.

Watched Mystic River when I got back--very well done. I had liked the Dennis Lahane book also.

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