DUG 2006, Day One

2006-03-19 5:32 PM

I left Wilmington this morning at 10:55. CDF, MDF, and I had left the house around 9:30 and got to the airport in plenty of time. I had time to check in and then walk around and look at the shops for a while. By the time I got back to the gate, they were already loading, so overall, timing was good.

The plane to Charlotte was small, but not too small. The inside was tight, I had to duck my head to keep from bumping the exit sign in the isle, and if I stood up straight, my head could touch the ceiling. It had about 18 rows of four seats, so it could probably hold 70-80 people. The flight from ILM to Charlotte was very smooth and I was looking forward to the rest of the morning.

The plane going to Washington was bigger, it looked like it could hold 120+ people. I got stuck in the middle seat of 3. I started out on the isle seat, but then ended up moving over one so a late passenger wouldn’t have to climb over me. I don’t know if that was the best idea or not. The guy to my left, John Anderson by the ticket stub he forgot, was slightly gruff to start off with and got grouchier as the flight progressed.

They served refreshments (peanuts and a drink) on this flight, but then forgot to give the guy to my left his coffee which he complained about for the rest of the flight. The guy on my right was a young man who’s father had apparently been a pilot — at least one of the flight attendants had flown with the guy’s father. So because of that the flight attendants paid him a lot of attention, which only irritated the guy to my left, since they still hadn’t brought his coffee (he did get cream and sugar).

The captain has said that it was cold and windy in Washington, and we might have a rough landing, but I didn’t realize just how rough. As soon as we started on the approach to the airport, the plane started bouncing around in the turbulence. After a few minutes I started feeling sick. Fortunately my stomach held together, but my hands and legs got all tingely like they had gone to sleep — who knows where all that blood was going. But we made it down safely, and the worst was over. Strangley enough I started having hiccups as we taxied along, and they didn’t go away until I was out of the airport.

I had to take the Metro to the hotel, but the station was one escalotor ride away from the bagage claim area, so it was very convientient. It felt a little like riding trains in Japan, except I could read all the signs this time. I bought a ticket for $1.35 which would take me to the Wardman Hotel/Zoo station. I had to switch tracks once, but didn’t have a problem finding which one. I had to wait for about 10 minutes at the intermediate station — which was under Chinatown — and stood in a big underground area beside a black family. The mother was telling the (i’m assuming) father not to take the baby’s pacifier away unless he wanted the baby to start singing, which most other people with think was screaming. Hmm… Also there were a bunch of people with cameras, either a tourist group or a photographers convention I guess — probably tourists, since they seemed to think they could take pictures of the whole subway station from the balcony and use their flash to light it up — which I thought was doubtful.

Finally I got to the exit station and went up two sets of escalators. The first was very long, almost made me dizzy and sick again looking up it. But soon enought I was up and out of the subway tunnels, and only one block away from the hotel! It actually took me longer to walk around to the front of the hotel, than it did to get to it.

So now I’m in the hotel, registered for the conference, and thinking about what I want to eat for supper. I saw Joel in the hallway and he suggested Chinese, or Mexican down the street. He’s going to go eat with friends, but we will both be at the reception at 7 PM tonight. I got some coffee and a muffin from Starbucks after deciding $8.00 for a sandwitch was too much at the hotel’s gourmet “take-out” shop.