In Case You're Wondering What I'm Thinking - Travel Edition

It's been a very interesting week with two trips from NC to NY - the first to NYC, and the second to Niagara Falls. Call it poor planning that I yo-yo'd back and forth, but it is what it is. So I decided to make the most of it. As Yogi Berra said, "You can see a lot by looking around." Here are my observations:

  • One of the standard instructions on airlines these days goes something like, "And as an added security precaution, we ask passengers to refrain from congregating in the aisle." It was a lot funnier to hear the flight attendant from La Guardia to Charlotte suggest we not conjugate in the aisle.
  • Public restrooms are architects' way of thumbing their noses at us. No matter how well designed the building, the restrooms are a joke. Given that your luggage must stay with you at all times in an airport, why are the entryways to the restrooms 28 inches wide? I love doing the dance with other men as we try to slip past each other. And whose idea was it to make the stall doors open INWARD? You have to step back into the toilet to allow enough room for the door to swing wide enough for you and your luggage.
  • It pays to be prepared for just about anything. My presentation this morning went off without a hitch, thanks to a conference organizer who had her PC laptop with her. The location, which bills itself as a premier conference facility, had no projection connector for my MacBook. Yeah, I know I should have taken mine, but am I really the first speaker who showed up with a Mac???
  • Conference facilities that host events drawing people from all over the country who have to fly into a major airport 30 minutes away, and no airport transportation? Really? The car rental lobby must be mighty powerful in these parts!
  • Travel can be a miserable experience if you allow it to be. I've seen two groups and two newlywed couples board aircraft to find they're not sitting together. Travel agents can book seats together, and airlines' online reservation systems allow you to pick your seats. So pick 'em!
  • Some airlines now allow you to upgrade your boarding status for a few extra bucks. If you're boarding in Zone 5 (read: last on, no overhead space), pay the money for priority boarding. You don't want to be the one dragging your carry-on back off the plane for a gate check.
  • When in an unfamiliar restaurant, I skip reading the menu. I've started asking the wait staff what their most popular menu items is, and I order that. Not everyone can do this, but my steel stomach enjoys it immensely!
  • Carry a small container of Vick's Vap-o-Rub or some lip balm with menthol. In crowded airports or touristy areas, you're bound to be surrounded by someone whose culture or lifestyle precludes or prohibits the use of deodorant. A dab of this stuff under your nose will help you suppress your gag reflex. Another option is to offer to buy the offender(s) some deodorant. That rarely turns out well.
  • More and more I see people wheeling children around in strollers that probably cost as much as my first car. These behemoths are enormous - the Hummers of the stroller world. They should put one of those beepers on those, like you hear on trucks that are backing up. It would make it safer for everyone.
  • One way to make the world a happier place is to offer to take pictures. Everywhere you go, there's a couple taking turns with the camera or a family with one member who will never be included because they're the designated photographer
    This kind stranger was supposed to be taking my picture in
    front of Niagara Falls. Do you see the Falls? Didn't think so.
    I kept trying to move her over for a better angle, but my hand
    signals were apparently as good as her English.
    . I've never had anyone reject my offer to take their photo together. Just make sure you use THEIR camera, otherwise it's creepy.

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