Suzanne's Second Estate

A web log of my thoughts, activities, life....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

17-Hour Airport Adventure

This weekend I went to Charlotte, NC, for a writers conference. I stayed the weekend, so I could spend time with my cousin and her family. I had a wonderful time.

Yesterday, I arrived at the airport four hours early because that was a convenient time for my cousin to give me a ride. No problem. I love airports, and I enjoyed rocking in the famous rocking chairs that line the main corridor of the Charlotte airport.

I arrived at Dallas/Fort Worth at 5:30 p.m. My connecting flight didn't leave until 8:45, so I decided to enjoy a sit-down meal at Chili's. That's when I met Ramón. They seated him right next to me. Since the tables were in awkwardly close in proximity, I struck up a conversation with the college-aged guy. I found out he was from Switzerland and was traveling around the U.S. visiting people he knows from, get this, the professional skate slalom circuit. He's a professional long board skateboarder and slalom skateboarder. He was flying to Denver; I was flying to Colorado Springs.

We enjoyed a nice chat over dinner and then I walked to my gate. A few hours later the trouble began. A severe lightning storm shut down the airport for over an hour. All flights to Denver were cancelled. Soon I saw Ramón walking my direction. Since, the flight to Colorado Springs was not cancelled, he asked if I would know a place where he could stay should he be able to get on my flight. I called Jared, who was quite willing to host an International houseguest and even offered to drive Ramón to Denver the next day.

Thus the wait began. Ramón was able to get a seat next to mine, and our plane was set to leave on a slight delay. Soon word came that the flight that would be taking us to Colorado Springs was unable to land and had gone to Lubbock to refuel. The verdict: Our flight would not leave until 10:40. They sent us from gate 31 to gate 37 and then back to gate 31, which amused us. Ramón and I found a kiosk with free Internet and he took several videos as the weird happenings began. For example, at about 10:55, a crew of guys wearing hard hats and reflective vests approached the kiosk.

"I'm sorry, folks," the foreman said. "But we're going to have to disassemble that and move it 6 inches to the right. Fire hazard." Then the cots started coming out — every few minutes we'd be offered one. And there was the random police officer riding the two-wheeled upright scooter, which I thought looked like an old-school lawn mower. He kept zooming back and forth, and he wore a helmet.

Then the departure time slipped from 10:40 to 11:10 to 11:25. Our plane actually took off at 12:30 a.m., seven hours after we had arrived in Dallas. But I had a friend. And he showed me amazing pictures of European cities where he'd skated: Amsterdam, Paris, Vienna. Our good humor continued until I dropped him off at Jared's. He pulled out a Swiss chocolate bar. "It's such a small gift," he said, "for your help." But, of course, I thought it was a sweet ending to a, crazy day.


At 11:49 AM, Blogger Kelsey Donahue said...

This is a great story Suz! I am glad you are back safely!

At 11:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

dontcha just LOVE europeans!?

At 5:56 AM, Blogger Danielle said...

Hooray for random meetings with strangers-become-friends! What an awesome story :).


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