Friday, April 1, 2011

Mystery Birthday Trip

A quick update: I made it back to Iowa as scheduled yesterday. No delays, no weather issues, no luggage problems. It was nice to get on a plane, depart and arrive on time.

How did I get to be in Florida? My friend, Jacqui, was turning a very special number this year and her mom planned for her a mystery birthday trip. (Okay, Jacqui said once she started saying she was 40, she suddenly felt free, so I’m just helping her feel more free.) All Jacqui knew was that it was in the continental U.S. and it was warm where she was going. It was supposed to be a surprise up until the very last minute. I would call her only briefly, get what info. I needed and then try to hang up; I was very scared I would be the one to spill the beans. The beans did get spilled but not by me. Via her Facebook wall, her loving uncle just wanted to wish her fun on her birthday trip to Daytona Beach!!

Saturday morning, the boys bring me to the Des Moines Airport (Audrey was at a band contest). I already knew my flight was delayed a half hour but when I checked in, it was another half hour delayed. That meant I was cutting it really close to my connecting flight from Memphis to Orlando. The helpful Delta Airlines woman looked and looked for another way to get me there. The best option was to take a different flight that would send me to Detroit, then to Orlando. I would get in an hour after the others arrived, but that wasn’t too bad. She also upgraded me to first class from Detroit to Orlando and gave me a food voucher. Those were both nice things. I was hungry. I had already been in the terminal 3+ hours and had yet to actually fly anywhere.

Once on the Detroit plane, I sat next to a woman, Bonnie, from New York. She had just flown in to adopt a cat; a Maine Coon named Faith. Her trip was a whirlwind one. She left N.Y. at 4:30 a.m., picked up her cat in Des Moines, and was flying back. Her employers adopted the cat for her and paid for her plane tickets. None of us heard a peep from 14 week old Faith. Thank goodness! A baby we can understand and all work to help out someway, but what does one do with an upset kitten in an airplane? Good luck, Bonnie and Faith.

Once in Detroit, I figured out my next terminal, and took the tunnel to get there. The tunnel is quite long, has a moving sidewalk, which I skipped because I don’t mind walking and I needed the exercise and I wasn’t in a hurry. The tunnel looks likes this:

Blue Tunnel

No wait, it looked like this:

Green Tunnel


Rainbow Tunnel

I know, it was very cool. Who would want to rush through that? Plus, it had nice music playing while the colors changed. I would have never seen this had I gone on my original flight to Memphis.

Then I got to my gate, and guess what? The flight was delayed. So now, instead of being an hour late, I was going to be two hours late. I have never flown first class before, but now that I’ve tasted and seen, it is like the garden of Eden and I want to go back! Bigger chairs, bottled water and other drinks available right away and a pillow and blanket. I was so tired though, I just sort of read my book and zoned out. I got to order food and when it came I was quite surprised at how good it actually was. The salad was green, crispy and cool and the turkey breast was decent. I would have gotten a glass of wine, but I was just too tired, kind of dehydrated and still had plenty of traveling left to do. Adding some vino would not have been good for me. I didn’t really want to talk to anyone but my meal perked me up and I started talking to the woman beside me. I asked her if she had been travling all day. She answered yes and as it turns out, she also started out in Des Moines! She is from Grimes and had been to Huxley! How small our world can be! I never got her name, but we had a wonderful conversation.

Jacqui met me at the airport and we loaded up our car for our hour long drive to Daytona Beach. Along with Jacqui, was Shari, Jacqui’s sister-in-law, and Debbie, a former co-worker and mentor to Jacqui. They are all from Minnesooota.

We were exhausted when we got to our condo and bed was not far from us. Good-bye, Iowa. Hello, Florida.


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