It has begun. I've left Missoula, Montana, USA for Mysore, Karnataka, India. Leaving my wonderful Ann was harder than I thought. Leaving my beloved Montana and all the loved ones in it was saddening also. Nothing like leaving to make you realize what you have. I appreciated it all before, but that appreciation has deepened.
After landing in Minneapolis, I promptly found my next gate, confirmed that my bag would indeed be transfered over with no work from me and then went to find a restaurant to soak in one of those last good American meals I was sure I would grow to miss. Then, pulling a classic Evan, I skated in with about 10 minutes before departure expecting a short to non-existent line, only to find out that I was right: the line was non-existent. But then so was my chance of getting on the flight. To his drop-jawed customer the desk clerk explained that I had to be there at a minimum of 15 minutes before departure. I know, I know: I should know this. And I did, but I just had a flash moment of ineptitude (I mainly blame it on the monster headache that had been building over the day that wouldn't stop tormenting me for another 7 hours). Others will tell you I'm always late, and they are right. Anyway...
After we arranged for me to be on the same flight the next day, he mentions to me that if I call this number (which I don't have anymore, but wanted to share with you) and ask for a "distressed rate", I could get a significant discount on accommodations for the night. They had a shuttle service that would be there at the top of every hour, after catching it I went to my hotel and crashed in frustration and pain (from my massive headache). I awoke to a realization that if I didn't get out and do something, I would not sleep through the night. Taking a previous suggestion, I decided to head to the Mall of America. May as well, huh? Again, the shuttle service of the LaQuinta Inn and Suites proved to be friendly and helpful.
Yep, it's a big mall. A big mall with a frickin' theme park in the middle. I was underwhelmed by it all. I perused, I walked, I stopped at the LEGO store (which was the coolest part of it all), and then I left. Then back to the hotel for a little internet catchup, a pizza, and then to bed.
You better believe that I made my flight the next day. I was feeling much better too, so I was glad I didn't go on with my travels when I had such a vicious headache that refused to go away. Catching good conversation with so many people on the way was very nice as I love hearing other people perspective of just about anything. Here are some pictures I took during my flight:
Then I was in Newark, NJ for a small time before my flight to India. One of my last American experiences: an Indian Pale Ale. Ha!
Then a 13 1/2 hour flight with an hour delay that left at 9:40pm Eastern time and landed 8:20pm Indian time the next day. We left during night, flew through a very short day (since our arced flight path lead us through the Artic Circle), and then into the night again. Weird. I was surprisingly awake and alert when I landed. Also, contrary to my belief, my bag was not lost.