Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Crossing

I have just crossed the dateline on my way to Guam. This morning was more than a little hectic. After finding out the night before last that I had, in fact, misread my ticket and I was scheduled to leave on SUNDAY and not Saturday as I had planned, I was ready for an extra 24 hours of calm and relaxation before the trip. This was not to happen.

Happily I was able spend an extra day with Cristi and was able to make it to a party I thought I was going to have to miss. A colleage, Kevin Hall, was having a crawfish ("craw-fish" for all you on-bayou types) boil as a fundraiser for hurricane Katrina victims and, yes, it was a fundraiser although we had plenty of fun eating 50 pounds of crawfish, drinking more than a little beer and picking mangoes and star-fruit from the trees in their backyard.

Sunday morning (today) we got a call from a colleague who had just gotten word he was going on the trip. Yes, the call came at 9:00 am to be on a flight to Guam at 2:00 the same afternoon. I was happy I had as much notice as I did. Cristi and I rushed off to pick him up, dashed by his professor's house to pick up an exam he will be missing (so I can proctor it for him on the ship) and then it was off to the airport (half way across the island). A little more of a whirlwind than we had planned, but exciting, and all worked out for the best. We arrived with minutes to spare, checked our bags, through security, a quick Kahlua pig sandwich, and onto the plane.

Continental accomodations have been surprising to say the least. We just finished a hot lunch of ginger beer with salad, bread, and metal utensils including a knife. Not five star, but certainly more than one can expect as of late. Ice cream and coffee followed shortly thereafter. I have a window seat (14A) in the mini-cabin between first class and coach. If you are ever on a 767-400 to Micronesia, this the place to be. Only 5 rows so it is quite with plenty of leg room, seat power for the laptop, and video screens for each seat. We are cruising at 34,000 feet at as speed of 550mph and it is -43 degrees outside.

Across the thousands of miles of ocean, the view has been beautiful. The sea has been as calm as a sheet of glass for the past hour or so and the crystal white clouds rise like pillars between sea and sky of safire blue. We arrive in Guam this evening and then it is on to Saipan where I will meet the rest of the crew and find out what the next few days have in store.