(Written during the course of Sunday…)
Airport blogging. Charlotte-Douglas Airport.
I’m absolutely knackered. I don’t think I’ve drunk so much in one weekend in my entire life. We got back to the hotel at some absurdly late hour, having toured a couple of bars in Charlotte with some absolutely fabulous people, particularly Anna, Alicia, Dwight, Jason and Claire – they really looked after us brilliantly and made sure we had a great time. I gave away a shedload of my business cards to complete strangers, and apparently we arranged to meet a girl in London next weekend that Dwight just randomly accosted in the bar and said "Hey! I want you to meet these guys! They’re from England!" We called this a "Dwight moment". Dwight is a huge bloke, 50% bald, with a totally disarming and engaging manner. He creates Dwight moments with people completely at random. A few years ago he had a moment with an extraordinarily beautiful woman in a bar, and she fell for him entirely. That was Alicia and they’ve recently married. Lucky bastard! Maybe I need to start creating a few Graham moments.
Actually, I don’t remember big chunks of last night’s events at all, and Neil, Kev and I sat over breakfast this morning trying to piece everything together. Unfortunately, all I have is a set of pieces, few of which actually fit together into any sort of order. I think they are the same, and we kept having "Oh, and what about the Siegfried and Roy conversation?" and "What about when you told that woman about meeting the Duke of Edinburgh?" discussions, not to mention "do you remember the ‘to ming is a verb’ discussion?"
Anyway, I can’t sit here looking at this any more, as I’m simply too tired. I have got to the airport very early, so can relax here and have a nap. Earlier, I took a stroll around the Uptown area of Charlotte and rattled off a few pictures which I will share with you, before zipping here in a stretch limo (well, you have to do these things in style you know!).
UPDATE: Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.
Well, the Dallas skyline doesn’t look quite like it used to in the titles of the TV show (cue bad impressions of Larry Hagman talking about the way his "Daddy" used to do things, and Ken Kercheval just acting badly). The airport, however, matches the state of Texas by being absolutely vast. AA have three whole terminals here to themselves – there are silver aircraft as far as the eye can see. I’ve just walked from the far end of terminal C to the middle of terminal A, eschewing the option of taking the trAAin. That’s how vast this place is – the airline actually have their own rapid transit system within the airport to move people around just between their own gates. Apparently, Delta, Continental and all the other airlines have their facilities away in other parts of this enormous airport, which, as you approach it by air, you can see is about the size of a small English county (and that isn’t much of an exaggeration).
However, in spite of its vast size, and in common with Charlotte, there are no power points here to enable me to power the laptop, so I’m glad I charged the battery fully before I left the hotel, as I’ve got another hour and a half here, and it’s good to be able to plug the headphones in and get some audio entertainment to block out the sounds of the place. St Louis, San Francisco and Los Angeles all feature them, and dead useful they are too. However, there is WiFi available here, and I’m becoming increasingly convinced that it might be useful to have functionality on the laptop. Mind you, that assumes I could get it to work. I had problems with the high speed net access at the Marriott in Charlotte – I couldn’t send email, as access to both the SMTP servers that I normally use did not seem to be working. It cost US$9.99 per day, but that probably makes it comparable to the Net2Roam costs that I would have incurred. I also doubt that it was working at the claimed 10mbps, as it seemed to be slower than my home 512k broadband access.
I’ve just taken another Advil, but this time not to combat the hangover (which has nicely abated), but to deal with my cold symptoms, which seem to be getting steadily worse. Getting a short nap on the flight from Charlotte helped though.
The weather here is disappointingly cloudy, so the view towards downtown Dallas isn’t as good as it might be. And, frankly, you’re not going to see much anyway, as there isn’t a good line of sight available – the outside of the terminal is cluttered with airbridges, aircon kit, pylons and goodness knows what else, which not only diminishes the view, but means that the interior of the terminals are much more dependent on artificial light. It’s not a great airport design – I can see why people don’t like it. Charlotte, on the other hand, has a clean and simple, elegant and functional design, that was highly usable.
Hmm. Maybe I need to start an airport review section. My favourite airport that I’ve been through is, undoubtedly, Santa Barbara. It’s small with a good atmosphere. Of the bigger airports, Barcelona would probably be my favourite. Functional, with a little bit of character too.
Oh well, homeward bound. Apparently it’s turned chilly at home, but having played my long sleeve shirt card on Saturday morning at the luncheon for out-of-towners at Cynthia’s house (nice lady – though one of those aggressively single late fortysomethings, but great fun), I’m left with a rather light Claiborne black short sleeved t-shirt to withstand 12 degrees Celsius. Not well planned. Still, the pimptastic jacket should come to my rescue.
One thing is for sure – when I get back, I need to do something serious about weight loss. I’ve been quietly accruing pounds over the last few weeks and months, and this trip has really compounded matters due to the vast quantities of food and drink consumed. So, I’ll be off beer and on vodka slimlines, off lard and on lettuce, and off my butt and out walking. And I’ll log my progress in the sidebar of this site – I’m going to work on the same basis as the last time, losing around two pounds each week. To cut myself a little slack, my aim will be to lose 14 pounds (one stone) in eight weeks. I’ll have a weigh-in on Tuesday morning. Anyone up for joining me?
Right, time to go find a bottle of water for the flight (at least there is no shortage of stores here), and then get some reading and people-watching done. I’ll publish this when I get home.