Chris' Original Blogbeque

A fresh, vinegar-based examination of life

running diary of travel

Posted by Chris on September 24, 2007

On espn.com, a writer named Bill Simmons sometimes keeps a “running diary” of events like an awards show or all-star game. I thought it might be fun to do the same with 36 hours of traveling—and if not fun or entertaining for you, it would at least entertain me. Alas, the running diary died a premature death, as you will see…

Thursday 9 am
I just got dropped off in downtown Champaign, going to Aroma Café before going over to the Amtrak station. I check my confirmation email for the train one more time, just to make sure it’s 11:14 and not 10:14—for some reason that number is in my head. That must’ve been the time when I was supposed to leave a week ago. I also save some articles to the computer from the internet to read over the next couple of days.

10:30 I get to train station, and, on the board it says my train leaves at 10:14. I feel sick. I check the email again. It says 11:14. I ask woman at counter. I’m okay. Not a good omen.

11:09 I feel encouraged when I think, “Hey, it’s been a little over two hours already, I only have to do this 17 more times and I’ll be there.”

11:35 The train is quite nice and roomy. There are even electrical plugs next to the seats, something I’ve always wished they had on planes.

11:40 I wish you could roll down the windows. They should build a train with convertible tops, or at least a sunroof.

Noon A guy who just got out of jail is calling all his peeps on my cell phone. I thought I had been told by the New AT&T that I would lose rollover minutes that expire during the six months I’m gone. Then, when I called to delay the suspension of my account, I was told I lose ALL my rollover minutes, period. Talk away, friend.

1:34 Tall buildings, yay.

2:36 I’m now on Chicago CTA train to go to the airport. At one stop, I hear music. I’ve never heard music in the Chicago subway before. Lo and behold, I look out the window, there is a young black woman playing a rock-and-roll style, red electric guitar with an amp. And she is singing “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”.

3:35 Get to the airport. Guy walking from train has a man purse.

5:35 I swear I think I just saw Dean Smith. I’m not even joking. Looked just like him, navy blue sports coat, same clothes like he would wear to a basketball game. I was going outside to meet Jeremiah who was bringing me my luggage that I had left at his apartment, so I couldn’t turn around and ask him. Not even to India yet and I’m leaving potential cool opportunities on the table…

6:30 I just realized that I didn’t take my small liquid containers out of my carry on bag at security—and they didn’t say anything.

6:34 You know how it’s annoying when a public place has poor quality single-ply toilet paper? Chicago O’Hare has poor quality half-ply TP.

8:30 On the 777 (or “Triple-Seven” as the stewardess called it).

9? Did you know that there are people in this country suffering from “infobesity”? It is information received through email with no value to the reader, and it is running rampant in corporate America. I feel like we need some kind of Biggest Loser-esque reality show for all these corporate workers with sore hands from sorting through spam on their Blackberries and Treos. (listening to “The Issues” station on SkyRadio)

9:15 central? Our “flight map” feature doesn’t work. I was looking forward to this, to see where we were, to have a clock that would tell me what time it actually was at any given point. I have no idea what time it really is now—I have officially left behind the fourth dimension, but I feel some dementia (I just made that up, you know it’s funny).

Watching “Everybody Hates Chris” which I’ve never seen, despite being a huge Chris Rock fan. It’s hilarious. He provides the narrator’s voice and gives some great punch lines. My favorite so far: “My mom thought kilowatts was a race riot in the 60s.” Honorable mention: “He won the Oscar for Best Non-Supporting Father.”

At this point, we landed in London. Everything took a turn for the worst at that point. In Britain, you can only have one carry on OR personal item. So I had to stuff my computer bag into my carry on duffel. Hence, I could not access things as well. Also, I could not find a single plug to use in the airport—so I didn’t bother buying a converter yet. Which was a mistake. Because later in Chennai, I would wish I had one, and there were hardly any stores at the airport. Then, it took me about 2.5 days to get a hold of one here.

I only slept about 1 hour I think on that first flight. When we landed it was daytime, 4 am, yet on my time it was only 3:30. Next flight left for Chennai around 1, except we sat on tarmac for at least one extra hour.

This one really sucked out my energy. I also began to feel somewhat physically ill during this flight. I don’t want to dwell too much on complaining about this stuff. The rest of the trip was not good. I missed connecting flight in India, because we got in late, had to go through customs, wait for bag, etc… at that point, piled worry on top of other problems as I wondered if message got to ppl to meet me at airport at night instead of morning

Finally, arrive in Kolkata, get bags, people are waiting for me (praise the Lord). took 1.5 hours to get back to place I’m staying from airport. It was dark, raining, rain coming in car, I’m tired, feeling sick, etc… anyway, I slept poorly that night and felt really bad about life and my decision to come.

I’ve been really craving the computer, for comfort. For its familiarity. For music when I’m sitting in silent, empty room. For distraction when I couldn’t sleep. Now, I have computer and other things are better as well. Will separate that into other entries.

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