Saturday, September 30, 2006

Oh, The Places You'll Go

Yesterday, I started this year's big trek toward
The Ice. My Mom and Dad took me to the airport
and after a nice lunch, I was on my way. O'Hare
seemed really busy, even for a Friday afternoon.
O'Hare is one of those great places for people
watching. People from all over the world, all
headed in different directions. One addition I
hadn't seen before was a huge dinosaur that was
in the middle of Concourse B. It seemed to look
right at home, as it's neck curved to match the
curves of the terminal.

The flight on a United Airlines Boeing 777 was
pretty uneventful, however the plane was packed.
I didn't see an empty seat, and it's a pretty big
plane for a domestic flight. One thing I thought
was really annoying though was the bossy flight
attendant that was speaking on the intercom. She
seemed to possess the need to tell everyone what
they needed to be doing and when. Not in a helpful
way, but in a "you need to listen to me because I'm
important" way. Right before landing, she instructed
the whole cabin that noise reduction headphones were
electronic devices too and that they needed to be
turned off immediately. All in a very snotty tone.
Someone in the back of the plane yelled out "I can't
hear you...I have my noise reduction headphones on".
The whole back of the plane cracked up and I'm sure
he would have faced her wrath if she had heard him.
Denver International Airport (DIA) was exceedingly
busy as well. The only thing that seemed out of
place though were two twenty-something guys speaking
Russian on the train, going to the main terminal.
They seemed oblivious to everyone but themselves and
wouldn't get out of the way when the doors opened or
closed. I don't think they were trying to be difficult,
they just weren't being very bright.

I rented a car at Hertz and made the drive toward my
hotel for the next couple of nights. Renting a car is
getting prohibitively expensive. The rental cost actually
is pretty reasonable, but the gouging begins with the
taxes charged by the city of Denver. Also, gas prices
were $2.89 a gallon at the airport. Only 79 cents more
expensive than what I last paid in Indiana! Through the
rush hour traffic, (When isn't there traffic in Denver???)
I pulled into the Staybridge Suites. It's a hotel I've
stayed at a couple other times while in town for business
and it's ok. Nothing great, but clean and some decent

This morning, there was some miscommunication and most of
the people attending the first day of training at Raytheon
Polar Services in Centennial were 2 hours early. Apparently,
the hotels were told that we were starting at 7:30 instead of
9:30 so we all got to sit around waiting for two hours. Nice
waste of time. After we eventually got started, I got my per
diem, a brand new pair of composite toed work boots and info
regarding my computer passwords. There were a lot of new faces
that I hadn't seen before. Especially since I haven't spent
a summer at McMurdo since 2001-02. Over half the room were
FNGs (F...riendly New Guys). There were about 20 people that
I knew and we got along really well. The two guys giving the
Safety presentation did a good job, but the material was a
real snore. Literally, for some. So after a half day of
more training on Sunday, it's back off to DIA, then LAX,
Auckland and Christchurch. Lots of travel and a long time
sitting in airplanes. 12 1/2 hours across the Pacific alone.
At least I'm flying with some nice people.

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