Actually, neither flight was exciting, which is just fine with me. I spent the past half week in RTP at a business meeting, which was actually quite fun, considering you’re on the go from 8AM to 10PM each day. Luckily my back pain had cleared up enough that I was down to a single dose of ibuprofin, so the flight was fine, although the office chairs were a little stiff.
Travelling for business is fun – as long as you don’t do it too often. Except for this month (several trips unfortunately planned very close together), I’ve been successful in travelling just enough to still be exciting. I must admit that having a big company travel agency really helps. While the policies are byzantine, and you can get really strange looks if you try to do something out of policy, the travel website is actually pretty easy to use, and has a good variety of flights and hotels.
Stupid benefit I enjoy almost out of proportion to it’s value: we get a Hertz #1 Gold club membership just for signing up. Along with earning miles or something that I’m not too sure about, the coolest thing is that Gold members have the cars waiting for them at the lot: your name is on the board (an interesting privacy issue, I suppose), you walk to your spot and drive away. Much cooler, somehow, than standing in yet another line at the rental counter.
I was also almost absurdly lucky with dinners: a local co-worker suggested a place called Piedmont that turned out to have excellent food, the two people I went with each had a love of good food equal to my own, and a manager paid for it, saving me the trouble of putting that line in my expense report. Yum and simplicity all in one. And the team dinner the next night was at a kitchy place called Bogart’s, so we saw The Maltese Falcon in the background, although we were having too much fun to bother watching. The food was surprisingly good, nearly as good as the first night, too.
The one disappointment was the bar staff. What would you order at a place called Bogart’s? I suppose there are a couple of valid answers to that, but if you love Casablanca as much as I do, you’d order a Champagne Cocktail. Disappointingly, the waiter (who was pretty funny) came back and said the bartender didn’t know how to make it, what should he do? I will admit at this point that I myself neglected to mention the bitters when I told him how to make it. The result was pretty good nonetheless, probably because he ended up giving me a generous amount of a decent cognac. Whoo!
Coming home, I was again struck by the oddity of air travel. I rush out of one meeting, wait in lines at the airport wishing I had worn shorts and a lighter colored shirt. Just two hours later, I walk off of the plane to sleet and frozen rain atop a dusting of wet snow. Very discombobulating for the body to make the change. I think it really struck me since I’ve been reading the Aubrey/Maturin novels, and was thinking about the human condition in a much earlier time.