Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Arrival in Madrid, Spain

The gods of air travel must have been smiling on me yesterday. Greg and Ossie gave me a lift to RDU, and when I got to the counter, I found out I'd been upgraded for my trip from Raleigh to Madrid. Not only did I get bumped up to Business Class for the eight-and-a-half hour leg from Miami to Madrid, but I also got First Class from RDU to Miami. Score!!

Called Mom again while I waited for the plane. Calling her is pretty much an everyday event at this point – she's not gonna make it much longer. She sounded better than yesterday, but she's getting weaker and weaker. The flight to Miami was OK. The guy next to me never said a word, which was fine by me. There were 2 screaming babies a few rows back, but they were far enough away I could tune them out. I even managed a 15-minute catnap during takeoff.

The attendant in First Class was pretty funny. When he brought out his tray of steaming towels, he also had a glass of juice on it, into which he'd placed a chunk of dry ice. It looked really cool and made for a great special effect. I didn't realize the attendants were allowed to have personalities in this day and age.

His dry ice trick reminded me of a couple of parties my girlfriend and I threw back in the late 80's. We owned a home about 4 blocks from the old Capital City Ice Market & Grill, near downtown. I'd go buy 10 pounds of dry ice, and then during the party, I'd fill the kitchen sink with water and drop in a couple of pounds. Nerdy fun! Needless to say, I'd be glad it was all gone before I got a buzz on – I didn't want to accidentally touch the stuff with my hands, as it would supposedly burn your skin right off.

Before each of my flights, I also got access to the Admiral's Club, which is American Airlines' First Class Lounge. Those cheapo's now charge for wireless internet and have all but eliminated food (except for pretzels & cookies), so other than (a little) privacy and the ability to plug in my laptop, it's really not a big deal to be in one of the airline lounges these days. (Kinda like the myth of being backstage at a rock concert -- people think there's all this wild shit going on backstage – NOT!) And besides, I love people watching at airports, which is waaay better in the terminal than in the lounge.

On the flight from Miami to Madrid, I slept a total of about 15 minutes. Just couldn't fall asleep, so I read (a bunch) and watched 3 movies and 2 TV shows. Saw "27 Dresses", "Jumper", and "I Am Legend".

Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and current FOX-TV football analyst, Terry Bradshaw, was on the Jay Leno show last week and was raving about what a great movie "27 Dresses" was. Like Terry, I'm a sucker for a good romantic comedy, and he was right, it was a great movie. I'd definitely watch it again.

"Jumper" had a decent little sci-fi premise to it, but would never stand up to repeated viewings.

I had seen "I Am Legend" before, another sci-fi tale, and really enjoyed it. Will Smith is always fun to watch.

My plane landed a few minutes late, baggage took forever, and then the supposed 10-15 minute drive to the hotel stretched into about 40 minutes. Upon check-in, I was told that the hotel's brand-new (as in installed in the last two days) internet system wasn’t up and running in guest rooms, yet. So I had to sit around the lobby and take care of the usual 40 or so emails I'd missed due to yesterday's planes, trains and automobiles.

I finally got up to my room about 11:45am (5:45am back home). Been up about 24 hours, so I set my alarm and took a 3-hour nap, from which I could barely wake up.

I thought I was gonna have a quiet night, just kinda slip off by myself and get a bite, then maybe crash around midnight. But no…

Five minutes before I walked out, Molly called me in my room and asked me why I hadn't yet joined everyone at the bar.

Oh, well…

Five minutes later, it was hugs 'n mugs time. It was good to see everybody again. Hadn't seen these folks since February.

Many beers later, we walked about 3 blocks to a tapas restaurant for dinner. Then, back to the hotel bar. I have no earthly idea what time I got back to my room, but 3am seems reasonable…

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