Trip Part One

Up up and away in a beautiful aeroplane.  I am currently sitting in Baltimore Washington Airport, watching the people pass me by.  As I entered into the concourse, there came over the announcement system that Ralph Nader himself was at the Borders on Concourse A, signing books.  For a moment, I paused.  Ralph Nader.  A book signed by the perpetual candidate himself.  What an interesting thing to pick up on my way out of the country.  And then, another moment.  I have an hour or so before the plane begins to board.  And I am really saddened that they informed me that there is a Borders bookstore so close by.  However, I believe that I will practice some restraint and not try to venture over to concourse A in order to see and or take a photograph of Ralph Nader.


But the temptation is there.


Airport Security was nothing major.  I did quite well, just pull everything out that you think there might be questions on, put it in the bin, smile and be polite.  I sadly did not get to go through the back scatter machine, I was kinda looking forward to doing so, but who knows, maybe in LA I will get that chance.


It’s odd, not having my cell phone with me to keep track of time and things.  But at the same time, it feels oddly freeing.  Not having to run around, forever watching my clock, making sure things go well.  I’m hoping that I will have time in Phoenix to write about my time there, but I doubt that will happen, as I barely have an hour there to get from one plane to another.


BWI is completely different than I remember it.  A lot more open, more free, and cleaner. But then, it’s been a dozen years plus since I flew out of this airport.


Saying goodbye to the parents wasn’t that hard, it was the waiting that was tough.  It was the knowing that as soon as I got in line for security, things would be busy, hectic, and slow.  And that as soon as Igot through security, I knew that I would start to feel better. So, true to form, I am.  I am calmer, I am ready, I am hungry I am moving forward with this next big thing in my life and I will be alright.


I’ll be ok in Phoenix, I’m sure the nerves will happen again in LA, but I go through security there and things will be better.  I just need to be able to sit down, maybe get online, and then things will be moving much smoother. Alright, time to get something to eat, sit back and relax for the next twenty minutes or so, and then, onto the plane I go.


There is just so much space out here.  It is astounding to me that e can have a population in this country pushing 3 billion people, and there is still al this empty space.  Granted, it’s mostly arid desert, but if Israel can turn the deserts in the middle east into a flourishing land, then why can’t we?


I’m currently on the hour long flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles, and let me tell you, the scenery outside my window is amazing.  I had intended to do some writing on this, including thoughts and musings, while I was on the long five hour and something flight to Phoenix.  But those plans quickly went awry.


I did my usual, choosing to seat myself in the back of the plane, near the flight attendants and the restrooms.  I watched the other people streaming onto the aircraft, all while trying to discreetly ask the attendant for a seat belt extender (which, it turns out, I didn’t actually need) and trying very hard not o focus on the fact that I am going to be flying for over an entire day.


Towards the end of boarding, these two dashing young men indicate that they want to sit next to me, not a problem at all.  They were cute, they were vibrant, and they were in good spirits.  Well, it wasn’t soon after we sat down that the three of us started talking.  Introductions were made between myself, Marko, and Raza.   As it turns out, they were travelling to Phoenix as part of their involvement as Fullbright Scholars attending the University of Maryland.


Marko was from Serbia and Raza from Qatar, which I had confirmed for me was pronounced like ‘guitar’ only with a hard ‘C’ sound.  That is, of course, according to Raza.  The three of us had an absolutely delightful time, talking about our plans, their studies, my relationship, my trip.  They insisted on purchasing me a drink on the flight (I had a rum and Coke Zero) and toasting to me and my future endeavors.  For once, it was not a miserable, uncomfortable flight crammed into seats with people far too impolite to talk.


We brushed on religion, on politics, on homosexuality in society, on gender bias in society.  We talked about video games and being a person our age in this moment in time.  I mentioned that I was Jewish, Raza mentioned he was Muslim, I asked him if he hated me, he laughed, I laughed, and the plane ride went on.


I had no time to really pay attention to scenery, although I was on the aisle as well, I was too engaged with my rowmates.  So engaged in fact that the others in their group started passing us back food, just to keep us quiet for a bit while we chewed.  This, of course, did not help.  I can only hope and pray that I have an equally enjoyable ride across the Pacific, as the company heading to Phoenix made the five hour flight seem less.  In one way at least.  It was still a very long flight, and uncomfortable because of how tight everything was, how tight my jeans were, and that I spent most of the flight leaning forward to give Raza some arm room.


The group that they were with is actually not the Fulbright Scholars that most people think of when they think of Fulbright scholars.  The first thoughts are of Students going for the PhD’s in some subject or another.  No, these were a group of semi-professionals, all in their late twenties, early thirties, and all from foreign countries.  The majority of the group are journalists, travelling to the United States on a years scholarship to learn, interact, and enjoy what America has to offer.  After their stop in Phoenix (they are getting to meet Sheriff Joe! I think that’s exciting!), they are heading on to Las Vegas, Hoover dam, and then to San Francisco, LA, and then back to DC.  I didn’t get to meet most of them, but I enjoyed the time that I had with the pair that I was with, and Monti, a Pakistani girl who seemed quite a bit like myself.


The flight to LA is very empty, nowhere near as full as I was expecting it to be and the scenery stunning.  I just wish that I ahd left my camera down with me.  Some of the things that I saw on my journey across the country was really  breathtaking.


We have so much space.

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