May 11, 2002
The Arrival


Well, I'm here.

I still don't have a phone, so I am using the computer center on base for internet access. This is somewhat less than optimal, so until I move into my permanent room (Monday if I'm lucky), I can't even talk to AT&T about phone service, let alone actually *have* phone service.

After yesterday's ordeal, I understand why people hate flying. I've never really had hassles before, but yesterday made up for that in spades.

I arrived at the airport, and was told that (unlike every other flight I have made) I could only check *two* bags (I had intended to check three); they would charge me $50. Then the counter attendant looked at the smallest bag, and informed me that I could take it as a carry-on item (this was in addition to my laptop). I was a bit perplexed, as I thought the problem was limiting the number of carry-on items, not checked baggage. Whatever. Then she informed me that the larger of my (now two) checked bags was over the weight limit, and was going to cost me (again) $50, unless I was able to make it fit under the limit. 15 minutes and three repacking sessions later (this is all in front of the ticket counter, BTW) I finally got it (just) under the limit, and it was processed through.

Then, armed with a boarding pass, I head over to the security checkpoint, and the next round of fun begins. Of course, the laptop has to be taken out of the case, and the row of eight rechargeable AA-cell batteries emptied into a separate container (else it will look like a detonator). Of course, I forgot about my nail clippers (which were confiscated), and while my stuff went through the x-ray machine, I get the wand treatment. The metal eyelets on my topsiders set the wand off, so they make me take them off (leaving me barefoot in the terminal) so they can verify that I don't have anything in the 1/4 inch soles of my shoes.

The flight itself was uneventful, and all of my luggage arrived intact. When I went to the ground transportation counter to enquire about a shuttle to my destination, he asked me "Do you have a reservation?" which is always a bad sign when one doesn't know that a reservation is usually required. He looked at his watch, and informed me that if I was quick, and there was room available, I might make the shuttle that was departing in five minutes. Well, I got a seat (the last one) for the 3 hour, 20 minute trip to the base. When we were about halfway there, we had to switch shuttles (the one from the airport went in one direction, the one we wanted went in a different direction). It was then that I forgot to grab my laptop computer, something that I did not realize for about 30 minutes. Luckily, the shuttle drivers confirmed that my laptop was still there, and we arranged for a delivery time (they brought the computer to me this afternoon).

When I arrived, it was 10:20 on a Friday night, so of course nobody was around to check me into the command. The barracks staff weren't sure where to put me, so they gave me a room in what might be the worst barracks on the base (it is being renovated right now, so it's all torn up and rather down-at-the-heels) and told me to be ready to switch rooms on Monday. I'll be happy, as this barracks is rundown, noisy, and confusingly laid out.


posted on May 11, 2002 05:34 PM


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