Monday, February 20, 2012

Notes from the Road

(Written some time ago)

I took a nearly 2-year break from travel, on account of pregnancy and taking care of baby, but now I am baaaaaack. I forgot how nice it is to travel alone. Actually, how nice it is to travel at all. Mmm... The smell of airports. Cinnabon and bleach.

Sitting at a very fancy hotel. Devices hooked are computer, phone (hooked to computer), and my trusty breast pump. Just pumped and dumped 10 oz of perfectly good breast milk. What a waste...

On the upside, since it all goes down the drain I can have real coffee... So I just had a double espresso, because it's going to be a long night.

(A few days later)

My flight back was in early evening in order to have the time to meet an important person after I was done with work. Something came up, so that meeting didn't work out. As a result, I had a lot of time to kill. I also killed two Buds while trying to connect to the free but completely useless restaurant wireless network. Also faced the apparently common phenomenon of the iPhone camera just going black; a solid restart took care of that, but my faith in Apple products was shaken nonetheless.

Before boarding, I planned on pumping. Usually, I lock myself in a bathroom stall, hang the pump and the battery on the coat hanger and pump standing up. But, this time I squeezed myself and my luggage into a tiny stall, hooked everything up, only to discover that my battery had died. Facing substantial engorgement and a long flight time, I took the pump out into the common bathroom area, plugged it in, and then pumped in front of all the other women using the airport bathroom. I was trying to be discreet; I hope nobody was scarred by the sight of me pumping. All I know it was not a very pleasant experience...

As I boarded the first plane, all prepped to read some trashy magazines (a treat to myself as I had spent the last several days working like crazy), they turned off the central lights, but -- alas -- the light over my seat was dead. They were apologetic pro forma, I was thoroughly unamused. Why does nobody ever offer partial refund or some perk to offset the absence of convenience that every other passenger has? I ended up napping for an hour. Oh, well.

My airline has these seating groups, and I am always in the last one, probably because I travel alone. I also travel light on these 2-3 day trips, with just my purse (OK, it's a really big purse these days) and a small carry-on bag that can fit in any airplane's overhead bins. I hate HATE people with roller bags that are clearly too big to fit the right way, then they have to go sideways and take up more room than necessary; they should just check this luggage, but don't because they'd have to pay a fee per bag. As a result, on my connecting flight, not only did I have to wait till the very end of boarding to get on, but by the time I boarded all the cabin space was taken and I had to check my teeny tiny carry-on, and then of course had to waste even more time waiting for my luggage at baggage claim. The flight attendant was beyond patronizing. I was extremely ticked off and fumed during the entire flight...

4 comments:

inBetween said...

ah, yes, it is lovely to travel alone and light. Have a wonderful night in a big hotel bed all to yourself!

I hear you on all the airplane frustration... so been there on all fronts. I have a credit card that gets me frequent flier miles on one of the airlines I fly most, and that automatically gets me into at least boarding group 2... just an idea...

Barefoot Doctoral said...

Last summer was my first long plane trip where I didn't have to get up every few hours for pumping/baby/pregnancy reasons in several years. It felt supremely luxurious. I certainly do not miss my pumping in bathroom days.

Enjoy your Buds, espressos and sleep in a bed alone!

Cherish said...

I hate flying. For many reasons, but it all sums up to the fact that flying sucks.

Having time alone in a hotel room is awesome, though.

Anonymous said...

I used to get super excited if I got an exit row seat for the extra legroom - but aren't those charged extra now? I'm a tiny skinny girl so extra room doesn't mean too much, not enough to pay for on a grad student salary anyways. Annoying as it is, if it saves on gas energy, I guess it's good for the environment. Overall, there is less stuff being carried on the plane, hence less fuel, etc.