Friday, June 18, 2010

Back again

It's been a month since I last posted.  I'm not sure where to start. So let's go stream of consciousness!

Part 1--Austin
I last wrote shortly before Memorial Day, when I left town to go to Austin to see an old college friend, C., get ordained as a Catholic priest.  On that trip, I brought the purse that I had restored--so that's an entry I need to do, the purse restoration entry.  

Back to the trip to Austin.  I left first thing Friday morning.  I drove about 45 minutes from here, to get to a smaller, but cheaper airport.  I had never been there before, and so I updated my Garmin, and full of hope, drove to the airport.  It wasn't difficult to find at all, and the traffic was almost non-existent.  There was only one airline servicing this airport--Continental--and the waiting area had only enough chairs for about 12 people.  But that was OK--the airplanes that flew out of there only held about 12 people.  

The neat about the airport was that it served both commercial and private just walking down the hall a few feet from the commercial waiting area, there was a lounge for the private pilots and an office area with maps and a computer for planning a flight path.  On the commercial side of the airport, there was an actual cafe/grill.  Usually in airports of this size, the only things offered to eat are out of vending machines, or perhaps a few premade sandwiches.  But not this place.  The whiteboard in front was offering the "222 special"--2 eggs, 2 slices of bacon, 2 slices of toast for $2.22.  Besides the indoor seating, the cafe actually opened out in the back to a large covered patio area with picnic tables.  There were people sitting out on the patio.  

There were 8 of us on the flight out.  There were 4 TSA agents that checked us in.  Because the waiting area was so small, a conversation started up between one of the passengers--someone who worked for an oil exploration company and was travelling to Houston--and one of the TSA agents, and the whole group got drawn into a conversation about BP and what was going on in the Gulf.  

It was the smallest plane I had ever ridden.  There was no overhead storage space, and only one seat on each side of the aisle.  There was no flight attendant, just the two pilots.  There was no overhead light, either, but the air vent, the light, and the compartment for the oxygen mask, were all built into the side of the plane.  I had been a little nervous about flying in such a small plane, but the flight was not bad at all.

I landed in Cleveland.  I was scheduled to transfer to Houston after a 4 hour layover in Cleveland, but I noticed on the flight monitors that there was another flight for Houston leaving in an hour.  I asked if it was possible for me to fly standby on that flight, and I did indeed get on that flight.  Houston Intercontinental is a nicer place to layover than Cleveland.

On the flight to Houston, they played "When in Rome", starring Kristin Bell.  I didn't want to spend $3.00 on the inflight headphones, so could only see what was going on.  I wandered around the shops--got myself some nice smelling hand lotion from the sample bottles at the L'Occitane en Provence shop, and snacked with a fruit smoothie from the Nestle Tollhouse bakery.  I people watched, ate a cookie, played solitaire on my phone.  The corridors were tall, airy, and bright.  It honestly wasn't a bad way to spend a 4 hour layover.       

The flight from Houston to Austin was unremarkable.  It was around 6pm when I landed in Austin.  Unfortunately, my husband, who was supposed to arrive in Austin around 7pm, has his flight delayed until 9pm.  We had plans to have dinner together at one of the local restaurants.  But I ate at the airport instead.  It turned out alright: the airport had a number of local restaurants represented, and I had Salt Lick BBQ, which had been featured on the Travel Channel.  It was indeed good.

After eating, I found a quiet terminal to curl up and take a nap for a few minutes before my husband arrived.  I was surprised at how cold they kept the airport.  I looked for a sweatshirt, but the ones being sold at the airport were $30.  

We got our rental car.  I found out that my husband thought that I was going to bring my Garmin to help us get around town.  I had not brought it, but we used our iPhones instead.  For some reason, the first time I pulled up directions to the hotel, the map told us to make a left turn off the main highway.  We followed it, realized we were going the wrong way.  I re-entered the address--and this time the iPhone showed that we should have taken a RIGHT off the main highway.  We were on the correct road--just on the wrong side of it.    It was easy to correct--just a U-turn and a few minutes, and we were at our hotel.  Besides that, all other directions provided by our iPhone in Austin turned out to be accurate.  My husband would drive, I would hold the phone and read the map out loud.

Breakfast the next day was at Cafe Java, not far from our hotel.  I would recommend it.  It was clean, service was fast and friendly, and prices were average.  Then, it was to the ordination.  The church was packed--even though we arrived almost an hour early.  We were able to find a seats in the last row on the side of the church.  I then practiced taking photos with my new camera.  

The ordination ceremony started at 10:30 and took 2.5 hours.  I got lots of good pictures--well, good considering that they were taken from the very last row of a large church.  I was happy though, and the camera purchase was definitely worth it.  

After the ordination ceremony, I met up with my college friends.  One of my friends had brought along her neighbor and co-worker, Rebecca.  Rebecca knew me--my friend had told her that I was "the one with the most sense, but also the only one who almost burned down the apartment."  ::sigh:: Those were the good old days!  

Rebecca had gone to the University of Texas, and was therefore familiar with Austin.  I suggested we go to lunch at The Magnolia, another famous Austin restaurant.  Our whole group went-Rebecca knew how to get there, but my husband and I used iPhone directions--this time with full success!  There was lots of eating and talking.  Afterwards, the rest of the group returned to the church to attend C's first mass.  My husband and I went to the movies, instead.  We saw "Babies."  We then stopped at Target, where I bought a hoodie for the flight back and we picked up food for dinner.

I wonder if I'm becoming a food tourist.  

The next morning, I got on a flight back to University Town.  The hoodie kept me comfortably warm on the plane.  On the flight from Austin to Houston, they were handing out free inflight headsets.  I was happy--I got two pairs.  I would be able to watch in the in-flight movie from Houston to Cleveland.  Except, that this time, the plane from Houston to Cleveland didn't have TV screens.  Foiled!   However, for any other long flights in the future, I have spare headsets.  I will remember to bring a one next time.  

End Part 1  (The penny remains)


Anonymous said...

I can't wait for Part 2! of your handbag!

: )

Janet said...

I didn't check it to be anonymous!