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Dublin to home

After a day full of tarmac-sitting, I am back on my poor old ibook at home.

The Ryanair flight from BVA to DUB was chaotic and cattle-like as usual, but the pilot had an interesting intercom annoucement in flight: “Italy have won two-nil in extra time.” This leaves me in a serious predicament as I cannot root for Italy or France. I guess I will have to stick with pulling for Portugal in the consolation match.

Dublin was… interesting, as I had a blister ballooning up seriously (for the first time in my life from walking, I think). We saw some churches and did lots of grocery shopping and park benching, and Alana got to attack another H&M (after devastating the one in the Forum des Halles).

The airport wasn’t that bad, as I got to wash my hair each night in the sinks of the deserted mezzanine level facilities and change clothes each day… so I am feeling almost human even after the super-day of travel. This morning we checked in at 0445 for our 0645 flight, which was fine though stuck on the ground in Dublin long enough to mess up connections for some people.

I was particularly impressed by the purser, who kept track of everyone’s connections and rebooked someone’s from the air. The small sandwich’s red cheddar was also pretty tasty (and well beyond what one would expect for such a short haul flight from a US carrier. But it wasn’t a US carrier, it was LH.

I picked up some Toblerone and Haribo goodies in the duty-free in Frankfurt just to be a tourist for a few minutes. Yum. Frankfurt had a quite strange procedure… I ended up going through thorough (hand wanded, no metal detector frame) security just to get between different concourses on the same terminal. Then… well, the boarding process just confused me. I got on the plane, though.

The long hop was pretty uneventful, although the “snack” served at Charlotte’s lunch time was unexpectedly tasty… I had an extra of it too. Pretty decent mini-sandwich with some flavor in the mustard and some tasty little “pretzel bites” from the UK.

Charlotte’s layover was fairly long even after waiting for over an hour, as a US citizen, to re-enter my own country (that always irks me, since I can get into an EU country in under 15 minutes). It looked like they were taking every X person for Customs inspection, but we managed to escape–though I did not escape a trainee at passport control. Apparently someone with a similar name might be on a watchlist… the trainer suggested that one could ask if I had ever lived in Illinois, but that she wouldn’t pursue it since it was a common name and there was obviously no resemblance. Interesting…

Chinese food and Cinnabon improved the layover. Not cool: to get on a computer with Internet access in the airport, you can pay a mere $15 for the first hour in the business center. If you can afford to pay that you must be doing a pretty good job with your business, but I’d imagine if you are paying that sort of thing regularly you’ll be wondering where the money went soon.

The flight from CLT to HTS was marked by another 45 minutes of tarmac sitting, for which I was thankfully only semiconscious (as now). A group back from a Caribbean cruise in the back of the plane kept me from drifting off with annoying voices nearly on a level with the Spanish school group on the way to Barcelona.

The McKees met us in HTS and my dad met me in Cross Lanes and… here I am, with a fresh Hong Kong student visa newly occupying page 14 of my passport. I don’t even want to think about clearing my bed off so I can sleep on it but that (and getting things together to move to Morgantown on the 8th for three weeks) is an urgent errand.

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