Saturday, July 19, 2008

Trip notes

Firstly, I must say that my visit with my daughter and her family was the best ever. Enjoyed spending time with them and just relaxing in a picturesque setting that was sun-drenched and delightfully warm, but not too warm for the most part. Hey, like my daughter said, "We love the sun in Washington, since we are so sun-deprived most of the year!" Everyone's doing well and I'm so glad I got to visit them.

My granddaughter is very musical and now has a harmonica to play (which she's picking up quite naturally, much to my delight!). I tried my best to take in and soak up every moment we spent together; she's growing up so quickly.
Now... on to some observations from my travels. I am a people-watcher. During my layovers I learned a few things about myself. I like my personal "space" and prefer to sit in less populated areas. I don't mind chatting with someone if I am in the mood, but travelling is wearying these days and I would much rather read my book or catch a bit of the news on tvs that are mounted here and there in the terminals.

Sometimes I just like to sit and stare. It can be very therapeutic when you're just tired. Try it sometime. Don't stare at anything in particular... just stare blankly, with no visual focal point; and just breathe deeply. It's relaxing on the eyes, body and nerves. It's like the stare that you get just before your eyelids close and you don't even know they've closed. That kind of stare.

And, no, I am not talking about going to your "happy place." This is simply staring for the sake of staring. Got it? I highly recommend it; especially after you've been cooped up in a plane and have 1 of 2 choices: stare at the back of the seat in front of you, or sleep. I guess you could read or listen to music or use some electronic device once the flight attendant gives you the "all clear." Okay, so there are more than 1 or 2 choices. My point is... what was my point (oh, the joys of getting older and short term memory loss)? Oh yeah, it just feels good to have my eyes look beyond the seatback in front of me, so that kind of staring is relaxing. But, I digress...

There are many sounds and noises to be heard while one is sitting and staring blankly at the airport on layovers. The constant drone of people walking past, the boarding announcements over the intercoms, the at first startling and then annoying cries of overtired children who cannot nap or run amok as they would love to because their beleaguered parents are just doing their darndest to make it through the next leg of their flight. The children only know they are not happy (miserable) and their parents only know they must reach their destination without doing something horridly embarrassing in public they might regret (yes, parents are only human). Oh, I do not miss those days. I never took my children on any flights (lucky me). Just road trips... but that's another blog subject for another day.

The most annoying sound I heard was the incessant beep, beep, beep of the trams they use to transport folks who need a break from walking (physically challenged, parents of small children or many children, etc.) and have a substantial distance to get to their next departure gate. I did finally get used to the beeping, but then one lady driving a tram decided to honk her horn as well; while she serpentined her tram behind, bulldozed her way through and left behind the unsuspecting pedestrians she honked at, barely easing up on the accelerator to allow room for said pedestrians to move out of her way. So it was beep, beep, beep, honk-honk, beep, honk-honk-honk, beep, beep as she approached, and so on until she was out of earshot! That's enough to make someone go over the edge.

The most memorable part of my travel was on the 2nd leg of my flight, from Seattle to LAX. The plane was piloted by a father/son team. The pilot (father) was flying his last flight and then retiring. He gave us a very smooth flight and even made a turn around Mt. St. Helens so that both sides of the plane could catch a glimpse as we flew over.

As we were preparing to land at LAX, the flight attendant announced that upon landing the plane would be hosed off with water by a couple of LAX fire engines; but that there was no cause for concern: we weren't on fire. It was just a tradition for pilots on their last flight to have their plane hosed off on the runway as they taxied to the gate on their final landing. Needless to say, there was much excitement and applause by the passengers as we received our official "hosing down" there on the tarmac.

I was quite amused by the woman sitting in front of me as she was having a great time during the flight, chatting it up loudly with the man sitting on the end of her row (they were separated by a seat). She had imbibed at least 2 Screwdrivers and became louder and more animated and boisterous as the flight progressed. When the announcement was made about the "hosing" tradition, she yelled, "Hey everyone, we're history!" I'm sure she meant we were taking part in something historic, but those were her words nonetheless.

She then said, "Isn't it a tradition to kiss the pilot on his last flight?" As she got up from her seat after the flight, she said, "I'm going for it!" She nearly ran down the aisle to where the pilot was standing at the door and repeated, "I think it's a tradition to kiss the pilot on his last flight!" as her lips met the lips of the willing and smiling pilot; then dashed off just as fast as she'd arrived. He was still grinning ear to ear as I wished him a happy retirement shortly after his traditional retirement kiss. All in all, a very unusal but enjoyable and entertaining experience. Historic, in fact.

That's all for now...


Jennifer said...

Oh yes, the beep beep of those trams at Seatac. I have ridden those many times when my big butt just could not walk any further. They are annoying- and when the tram driver honks the horn- ack!

I spoke with my friend at Curves and she said she played clarinet before and would love to teach D how to read notes as well as teach her some basic clarinet stuff! :) YAY! I'll keep you posted.

That's true- Dad and you never did take us on any flights- I can understand why. I've flown many times alone with D and it's rough! (Especially when she was 3 years old...)

Sara said...

haha, that's an awesome story!