32 Days of Adventure
The adventure begins, of course, with my least favorite form of travel; flying. Today’s flight schedule has me flying Calgary to Chicago O’hare, and on to Istanbul.
First leg of the flight is on something called SkyWest, which is apparently a leg (arm, or other appendage) of United Air Lines… which must fly routes with few if any discerning travelers. The flight is onboard a Canadair Regional CR7000 aircraft.
Now I’m quite a patriotic Canadian. Born here, silly enough, and patriotic enough to have spent the majority of my adult winters wondering why I don’t live somewhere warm, and turning down numerous invitations to go for “Polar dips”. At any rate, being a Canadian, one thing I know we are not famed for, and that’s a long and well steeped tradition of building airplanes. In fact, if I’m not imagining it, I believe this jet is being built by Bombadier, who originally manufactured snowmobiles…so if we have to make an emergency landing in Minnesota we should be good to go. If I recall Bombadier foresaw the lowering demand in snowbiles due to global warming, and switched their business model to airplanes to get people out of here.
When I stepped aboard this airplane, a couple of things struck me immediately… the low ceiling was first, because it struck me in the forehead. But as I found my “business class” seat in Row2, I began to suspect more trouble. On the back of the seat, directly in front of mine, the sign read… Fasten Seat Belt If Seated. I took a quick look to see if there were hand rails for those who chose to stand. Worse yet, was the rest of the message on the seat back, stating… Use Bottom For Floatation. If this little medal tube carrying human life, was going to go down anywhere over water, I obviously had written instructions to find the heaviest person on the airplane, and hang on to their bottom. While the thoughts may have been somewhat entertaining for a brief nanosecond, the reality of an emergency was gloomy.
Our entertainment on this flight was presented by the fellow one back and across from my seat, watching a movie on his DVD, without using private headphones.
The flight to Chicago from Calgary is slightly over 3 hrs. of what is scheduled to be my 16 + hr. travel day. After about an hour on this pretend airplane, the cabin attendants served their version of lunch. I was flying business class, so fully expected a nicely prepared lunch. What we got was a cardboard snack-pack, with some pretzels, nuts, a weird pasta ration pack that appeared to have been left over by Britain after the revolution. To make matters worse, while tasting this awful concoction, I seemed to have dropped some bit of it on the front of my slacks. Of course, it looks like I’ve stained it, so for the remainder of my voyage to meet up with the NCL Jade, I’ll look like I stepped away from the urinal before I was done.
Our little cigar tube of human flesh arrived in the skies of Chicago, above O’Hare airport about 15 minutes early, yet we were delayed circling for 45 minutes, to make up for the airports flight’s delayed schedule. Simply stated I’m guessing that if too many airplanes are landed on schedule the airport does not qualify for the late flight arrival post schedule federal rebate program.
Once on the ground we were notified that our flight would be berthed in C terminal… which was the furthest point it could be, yet still be in the same state, from Terminal M where my flight to Instanbul would be leaving from. As I exited the airplane I searched for the departures board, but to my chagrin there was nothing listed for Istanbul. I asked several airline representatives who knew nothing about a Terminal 5, but could tell their friend everything they wanted to know about the double latte they were holding from Starbucks that they were clinging to.
With less than implicit directions I ran through the various terminals in search of the elusive terminal MIn fact several times I reminded myself of the characture of OJ Simpson, in his infamous scene. I needed a white Ford Bronco though.
Getting from Terminal 3 at O’Hare to Terminal M(which is likely officially registered as part of Montanta) is an adventure on it’s own. To begin with, none of the staff members or TSA security guards one encounters along the way, really knows either. With less than an hour to find this elusive terminal, I began to sweat… I mean sweat. Enough sweat could have been collected off of me to supply all of the tears for Gone With the Wind.
I was beginning to feel like a coronary as I raced through to find Terminal 5, but all I could spot along the way were juice and sport bars. I just barely made it onto the airplane before it took off for Istanbul. The perspiration running from me like I’d just run the Olympic flag through San Francisco.
The 10 hr. flight to Istanbul was quite pleasant, and uneventful, with good service… though they were only showing 2 movies on their entertainment. I’ve flown Turkish Airline once before, and would do it again anytime. The disappointment to this flight came at the end. Of course, as all the luggage was removed, no bag for Kuki. Seems United had chosen a different vacation for my suitcase.
Overseas flights are rather notorious for lost luggage, so I did pack a few items of clothing in my carry ons. I’m still missing a lot of toiletries etc… since you can’t pack sharp things or liquids. But I can exist as is for about 3 days. We’ll see if my luggage can catch up to me in that time frame, or not.