So, I'm here in sunny and currently temperate Modesto, California. I left home at 5 in the morning for the 8:38 am flight (I don't mess around when it comes to the security measures of large airports that are an hour away) and arrived at the modest Modesto airport at 5:30 pm local (8:30 my time.) Did I mention that I've had cumulatively only about two hours of sleep?
I've had, cumulatively, only about two hours of sleep.
Three connecting flights and the last one was about an hour late. Upon said plane, I met a man named John T. Law. For some reason, I find this extremely humourous.
TAMPA INTERNATIONAL, and LEG ONE:
TIA is a glorious mess of ill-lit signs and spaghetti-style roads, the confusion it causes is not unlike the confusion its home city causes. Once inside, it's relatively easy to navigate and security was surprisingly quick. And you want to know something funny? United seems to have gotten rid of the First Class cabin of the smaller AirBus planes because now you pay through the butt for those seats and the only thing they afford you is that you get on and off the plane faster. Take that, Mr. Business Man! Never mind that there's now and Economy Plus where if you pay an additional amount of cash (this trip, it was $59), you get five more inches of legroom (they seat up at the very front of economy)! They also charge for Snack Packs ($6) and the $15 baggage fee…but you can reuse the headphones that get hastily shoved into the seatback pocket for free.
Anyway, the flight was pleasant enough. I couldn't sleep and the plane voted on which movie to watch since Someone Screwed Up on getting the October movies onto their server or whatever. Our choices were Then She Found Me, Speed Racer, and The Visitor. People actually voted for Speed Racer (yeah, I liked it, but c'mon! A pan and scan version on a teeny, tiny monitor? No thanks!
The Visitor won.
The movie, in case you don't know, is about a man who gets caught up in the arrest of an illegal Syrian immigrant who's shown him a new rhythm to life through the djembe (African drum.) I thought it was excellent, but there was one older gentleman who took exception to the film having a little something to say about deportation based on ethnic profiling. Whatever, man. Everyone else seemed into it and it was a good flick. Richard Jenkins was awesome.
Anyway, the landing was one of the smoothest I'd ever had even though I saw an AIRPLANE ON FIRE AS WE WERE LANDING OMIGOD! (I'm totally serious, but I'm hoping it was like a training exercise or something…still, not something you want to see while LANDING A PLANE OMIGOD! and there I was in…
DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, and LEG TWO:
Other than some loose birds in the Denver airport, I don't have much to say…except that my flight to San Francisco was at gate B42. Heh. Oh, and they overbooked the flight. Magical. Skunk Anansie on my iPod kept me awake as I sat there waiting. Thank God for iPods. For serious.
The flight itself was nice. Whereas I was in the middle during my first trip, I had the window from Denver to San Francisco. It was only two and a quarter hours so they played some specially produced NBC shows whilst I tried to nap. Tried being the operative word here. Every once in a while, I would twitch awake, like myoclonic jerks, but it was just my hyperactive brain doing its thing. Very annoying, though.
Other than that, an uneventful flight into mountainous San Francisco….
SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, MODESTO AIRPORT, and THE FINAL LEG:
The "puddlejumper" (small aircraft used to shuttle people between a small airport and a larger international one) leaving for Modesto was late. Really late. An hour late. Because the pilots or ground crew thought that it might be a good idea to change a ratty tire.
In the meanwhile, as some of the business class flyers complained, I took some photos of pretty, pretty mountains. I will post them to my Flickr later. Maybe tomorrow.
Finally, they let us board this Indiana Jones era two propeller airplane, which is noisy as all get-out, and as soon as we're airborne, we land in Modesto where I met one of the shuttle drivers and we get to the airport and I get checked in. Almost immediately, the director of the film festival finds me and asks me to come in and meet the other organizers once I get situated in my room.
And what a room it is… It's got a bed AND a couch AND a kitchenette with a minifridge and everything! And a ginormous bathroom.
So I go back and do the meet and greet thing, though I'm not exactly wonderful company after a bazillion hours in travel, but I do my level best, grab some dinner with two of the organizers, and then come back to my room to write this up and eat one of the best turkey burgers I've ever had from a restaurant and take a long, hot shower.
Yes, a nice end to a long day. Now, I'm going to pass out. I'm so thankful that I decided to come in today instead of tomorrow, which is the first day of the festival. And so thankful that they've hooked me up so nicely!