Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Napa Hop

Back from a business trip to Napa, CA. So great to be in the familiar landscape. The Bay, the bridges, the aroma, the humidity (low, but more than Colorado) the people - the well-heeled, in-style folks where every hostess is stunning and even the 80-year-olds have the correct hair and clothing to be seen at the right place for lunch. Vineyards, olive groves and retail, retail, retail. A Whole Foods/Trader Joe's/Cost Plus every 2500 feet or so. Additional small local eateries and lovely food and wine. *sigh*. Also a rental house with non-working wireless and ants in my laptop. Water ants from Argentina now making themselves to home in everything in Napa and this house but the food.

But first, the getting there: a long cab ride to the Pwello "airport" in the falling snow. The door was unlocked but no one around when I arrived. Soon two people appeared to check my bag and take 10 minutes on the phone - the phone? - to get an approval code for the debit card I offered for my bag charge. The other three passengers arrived and shortly we were offered the security check. Four Official People with Uniforms (OPwU)submitted us four Suspicious Looking Folks to the most scrutiny I've encountered in any U.S. airport. All four OPwU checked out my 3 oz bottles as there was some question as to whether they were 3 oz. or an illegal 3.5; my shoes examined, my purse searched, my laptop bag gone through, my person patted down and subjected to a pap smear (complimentary). After we passed inspection the two counter people that check my bag and issued my boarding pass ran around the outside of the building, loaded our bags, switched their hats and entered the security area to ask for our boarding passes. That they had just issued to us. I feel insulted that she didn't remember me from ten minutes before at the check in, but rules are rules. When we were finished boarding, they changed into new hats and seated themselves to fly us personally to DOA.
OK, maybe they didn't fly the plane themselves, but almost. It was a quick, easy flight, made more amusing by the FAA-required prerecorded rules to observe in the unlikely event of a water landing before take off. The reading light in the cabin where so dim as to make incapable any reading of printed materials until landing and good overhead light in the terminal.
Here's the view from above during the trip: frozen tundra, some frozen tundra, more frozen tundra, the Rocky Mountains in the distance, frozen tundra and a herd of cattle.
Mid-air I look out the window to the wing (the Great Lakes Airlines plane is small enough that almost every seat has a good view of the wing) I see a small door labeled "Battery Compartment". I prayed they were fully charged.

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