Travelogue: Philadelphian Sauce

I’m writing this post in offline mode due to lack of WiFi, which means that by the time it goes live, I’ll already been in New York and likely have been for several hours. As I write this, however, it’s early morning in the Philadelphia airport and I’m waiting to board my last flight to Buffalo. Why Buffalo? Why not Buffalo? I haven’t been to the Buffalo airport before. Maybe it’s nice. I guess I’ll find out.

The Philadelphia airport is nice, although it’s pretty different compared to the other airports I’ve been in. I had to take a shuttle to get to my departure terminal. Riding in a shuttle isn’t a weird experience for me; riding in a shuttle that’s driving around airplanes on a runway is a little weird. I guess I haven’t been in enough airports to know how common this is.

I only have two complaints about Philadelphia’s airport. First, there is a criminal lack of coffee shops on offer here. I’m assuming this is because I’m at Terminal F, which seems to be under construction or renovation. Hopefully, they are constructing and/or renovating some coffee shops. Second is the WiFi, which doesn’t seem  want to work, no matter how hard I try. Connecting isn’t the problem; it just won’t let me go anywhere. It’s very frustrating.

My watch and my smartphone both agreed that it was 7 AM, although my Zune, my laptop, and my internal biological clock agreed it was more like 4 AM. My body’s not the boss of me, however; my smartphone is. In my search for coffee, I ended up in some fancy new-fusion cocktail lounge bar thingy with a trendy name, modernist furnishings, and roughly four million flatscreen TVs. You know you’re in the future when you are surrounded by flat screens.

I wanted to mention this place, Re:Vive was the name, I think (told you it was trendy) because I ordered an omelet so I’d have something to go with my coffee. Nothing crazy, just your basic omelet with cheese, tomatoes, etc., overpriced as only airport fare can be. However, I want to mention this omelet because there was something magical about the sauce they used on this thing. I have no idea what this sauce is. It doesn’t correspond to any of the known sauces in my mental sauce database.

I’m forced to conclude that it is some sort of secret Philadelphia sauce that they’ve hidden from the rest of the world. The server looked nervous when she brought the plate. Maybe she could tell I was an outsider and not worthy of the sauce. Either way, it was amazing. It was so amazing that I’m certain there’s something malevolent about it. It’s probably some kind of blood sauce harvested fresh from the bodies of the stillborn, or somesuch. You just know sauce like this isn’t vegetarian.

So that’s my little story about Philadelphia and its sauce. I wish I could post this before I board my next flight, but the airport WiFi seems to hate me, as I mentioned. Maybe it knows I tasted The Forbidden Sauce

Travelogue: Live From Sky Harbor

I’ve flown for twenty minutes and I’m already writing my first travelogue. God, I’m such a nerd.

There aren’t a lot of things to do while waiting for one’s next flight. One can read, of course, and you can be certain that I brought an ample supply of literary material to keep my mind so occupied. One can also drink beer, which is something I’m doing right now; this may well be my final Kiltlifter until I return to the western United States next week. I’m not certain this fine brew has made it all the way back to the east. In fact, I’m not sure if any of my favorite brews are known to the people of my ancestral land. I’ll have to investigate while I’m there.

What else can one do while waiting for your next flight? One can blog, which is what I’m doing! The WiFi is fairly shoddy, though, so there is a very curious time-delay between what I type and what appears on the screen. It’s unfortunate when I notice a typo, because the text tends to keep scrolling for several more seconds until I can arrow back to correct myself.

I started my travels in Tucson little more than an hour ago. My first flight brought me to Phoenix, which I noted was slightly ironic given how excited I was to fly out of Tucson . . . right into Phoenix, which where I always fly. All roads lead to the Shy Harbor, it seems.

It’s going to be a long night for me. My next leg will take me into Philadelphia, which is an airport I’ve never seen before. I worry that they won’t have any of my favorite beers. I’ll probably have to drink some strange Pennsylvanian beers. I wonder what that’s going to be like.

It’s funny, because as much as I’ve grumbled to myself and my coworkers this week about the amount of layover I’m going to have (almost as much layover as actual travel time!), the truth is, I’m really enjoying myself. Aside from my horrific experience last year, I really enjoy traveling. I like the flow and the feel of it. I like people watching. I like drinking in strange airports and typing on my little laptop and thinking about the world.

I also really enjoy red eye flights. Seriously, the plane from Tucson to Phoenix was less than a third full. When the captain told us he needed several people to move to the back of the plane to “balance things out,” rather than worry about the fact that planes can apparently become unbalanced, I leaped to my feet and proceeded to back of the plane to secure my very own emergency exit row. As I explained to the guy behind me, I really enjoy the extra leg room . . . and if the plane did go down, I could totally be a minor hero by valiantly opening the emergency exit and ushering my fellow humans to safety.

The only downside to this experience was that I’m now completely spoiled for the rest of the trip. I doubt I’ll be lucky enough to get my own row again, but we wants it, precious, we wants it. Ahem.

What else can I tell you? Not much; it’s incredibly weird to be on a flight that lasts only 2o minutes. I kept looking out of the window trying to figure out which Tucson streets we were flying over only to realize that we were already over Phoenix and preparing for landing. That was strange!

In my opinion, all flights should be twenty minutes long and allow you to have your own row. This would make flying an optimal experience.

That’s probably what it feels like for rich people when they fly. I think I would like to be rich someday. I may or may not blog again when I arrive in Philadelphia. We shall see!

Not Feeling A Lot Of Confidence About This

Disclaimer: sarcasm incoming. I realize that travel alerts issues for citizens in the Middle East and North Africa have no (actual) bearing on my own travel across the country.

This is the kind of headline that contributes to my persistent feeling that now is always the wrong time to book a flight. A travel alert warning about possible terrorist attack, you say? That certainly makes me feel better about my decision to fly now as opposed to any other week in the previous eight months. This always seems to happen, too. Last year it wasn’t terrorists; it was hurricanes.

“But I’m not flying to a state that has hurricanes,” I said when told of this hurricane danger. “I’m flying home to Arizona.”

“Yes, but still,” the employee at the ticket counter said with an understanding nod. “Hurricanes.”

“Hurricanes?” I asked.

“Hurricanes,” she agreed dolefully.

There seems to be a certain threshold when it comes to flying. A frequent flyer should expect some of their flights to work around this sort of general anxiety, since such a person is always in the air. For me, however, who flies perhaps once a year at best, you’d think my chances of avoiding “anxiety-induction season” would be pretty good.

The fact that I still receive ominous news about hurricanes or terrorists or dangerous space-rays leads me to the conclusion that flying sucks, always and forever. It exists in a state of uniform suckitude. There is no suckier apex to which flying can aspire.

Aside from travel alerts, I’m also somewhat annoyed that I have more hours of layover than I will actually spend flying. Ah well. It will give me plenty of time to work on my grad school papers, I suppose.

Silver linings, and all that.