(A successful blogger once said that one should never assume that people have read posts already published, so to enlighten those reading this, I suggest the prelude.)
I connected through Atlanta from Johannesburg, which was pretty standard as far as landing and disembarkation goes, only to revel in the patience of custom officials. There was a queue eleven miles long, some of the people was still standing on the runway. The officials were extremely unsympathetic towards passengers with connection flights, thereby redefining my understanding of not giving a shit. We all know that in these frustrating times, the best thing to do is to keep your mouth shut, get that stamp and run like hell to the next terminal.
I have to say, the employees of Delta Airlines makes everything better.
Onward to Cleveland where the weather sucks. It’s cold and it rains and was generally miserable. I have been told this is what the people of Ohio has been waiting for, as it beats the white stuff falling down. The hotel in downtown was nicely located so I could visit a few hotspots in the region. Actually, I was running from one hotspot to the next as I needed to get out of the cold. I’m convinced that evolution has thinned the blood of people in Africa, and my recent weight loss is something I regret now. If only for the four pounds that’s now missing from my frame.
What’s up with the plastic utensils at breakfast? In a country where guns are everywhere, I find it hard to believe that they don’t trust the residents and visitors with a real knife.
Next stop was Minneapolis, Minnesota. There is something strange about how Americans quote their cities, always adding the state. Is there more than one Minneapolis? If there is, I apologize for my ignorance. (Scott, I didn’t realise, but it seems I found myself in the Midwest.) The airport is a lot bigger than one would expect. Please allow for extra travel time if you have checked bags. In the time it took me to walk from the airplane to the luggage carousel, I lost an hour, I’m not even kidding, I literally had to reset my watch. It was such a long walk, I made friends with a nice old lady and we had enough time to share our life stories. Actually she did most of the sharing.
Waiting outside in the cold and rain, I was struck by all the happy, smiling faces of people seeing family and friends. Didn’t they realise how miserable the weather was? We went to a great restaurant and I had me some steak and some wine and life returned to awesomeness. Leaving Minneapolis was a bit of a challenge as I got delayed on departure and…
Delayed on arrival in Pittsburgh due to some freak-hurricane-typhoon-storm thing raging through the city. It’s still raining by the way, 18 hours later. It turned out I am a little like Matthew featured in “Interstellar”, because an hour disappeared from my life and I remained the same semi-handsome person I was, when I boarded the plane. The area where I got stuck in an hotel, courtesy of my customer, sucks even more than the rain. It’s on some island far, far away from civilization. Before I’m being judged for being over-critical to my whereabouts, a local suggested the bowling alley as a good place to grab a bite. It was the closest place to the hotel. He did say it was good, not great..but a bowling alley?!?
Fortunately a kind hearted customer, now defined as someone who wouldn’t suggest the hotel I was staying in, decided to save me from my suffering and took me on a tour of the city. It was breathtaking! I’m using this word for a very specific reason, it seems from photo’s I’ve seen, that the ability to breath clean air has only been available for the citizens of Pittsburgh in the last sixty years or so. My eye-gasm came from the old railwaystation that has since been converted into a restaurant. It’s a must see.
Rick singlehandedly saved Pittsburgh in my recollection of the place, and for that I’m eternally grateful. Ironically I ended up seeing more of a city where I’m spending the least amount of time.
“Oh come one Pieter, stop complaining about the weather already, the people are great are they not?”
Yes indeed, the people have been great and after another day spent with pleasant people, I’m gonna settle down in another airplane seat on route to the Big Apple…