Trip to the USA, part 1

  • Posted on: 6 September 2004
  • By: lucas

Saturday, I'm two-thirds on my way @ 10000 m altitude to Blacksburg VA USA. My second time in 4 weeks. Alone this time, I mean: no collegues, and Fran and Hannah are 3000 miles away in Eindhoven.

Last time I visited Blacksburg shortly and spent some more time in Cleveland. Now I'm going for 2 weeks ! A very long time, it won't be easy for Fran. Hannah is so full of energy and only takes a short nap at lunchtime.

My first time alone in the states. The expectations of the parties involved are quite high, the pressure is on. Hope the measurement equipment I sent is still working when I take it out of it's boxes Tuesday. Monday is a national holiday, Labour Day. No it's not on the 1st of May, silly of me to think so, that one is the socialist one.

Labour day is traditionally the end of the holidays and a lot of touristy things close. Funny that I arrive just two days before and have a very intense 2 weeks ahead.

Still more than 2 hours to go .... I missed three oppurtunities to get a glass of water. The flight attendents have a very selective field of view and hearing. Ah well, what can you expect, coach / economy / el cheapo class, need I say more ?

The one thing I'm looking not really forward to is the drive from Roanoke Airport to the hotel in Blacksburg. In pitch dark, and yes, the last time in the cab to the hotel I didn't pay any attention to the road. Even if I had, my fabulous memory would mean that I will rely on maps / signs etc. Unluckily the Hertz rental at Roanoke doesn't have the 'neverlost' GPS system for rent ....That would have been really cool. I will study the maps and route description vigourisly in Detroit waiting for my connection. A call to the hotel to let them know it will be close to midnight before I arrive there will be a good idea too. To do this I have 3 phones on me, my own, which is pretty useless except de pda part (I'm typing on it right now), a tri-band nokia borrowed from Philips and a rented cdma phone (motorola, provider: nextel). If this isn't enough I'll try shouting really hard or wow, a little girl started crying to the top of her voice just now .... ai ai, we certainly won't put Hannah through this ordeal if it's not really REALLY necessary. Heart wrenching, turning up the music volume doesn't help. She is crying for more than 5 mins already. The lady next to put her fingers in her ears. She is sitting two rows behind me and it is getting any less. I heard the girl playing with her mother/caretaker earlier. She is walking up and down the isle with the child in her arms now.

These long flights are too much for the little ones.

Anyway I hope everythings work out with the car, drive tonight. Flashbacks of smashing an outside rearview mirror are getting more frequent on these occasions. (the girl is still crying, sigh). The first time I was in England alone for a course I smashed my right rearviewmirror. I had trouble judging the width of the car, driving on the left side takes getting used to indeed. Of course, I won't have that problem in the states. Luckily Henk and I went to Tampa some years ago, also drove in a rental car. Henk drove the most, I only made a short trip he was (and still is) the more experienced driver so we decided that he would drive. Driving was a funny thing to do, 'keep your own lane' is something that can surprise you a bit when you are used to the 'keep out of the fast lane with your 1987 Golf 1.3, or else !' attitude in Europe. Of course, Tampa is not Blacksburg, so who knows.

The child is quiet now, maybe gone back to sleep. 'Somebody to Love' of Queen is on the list, what a voice, and guitar ! I've to return 'Live at Wembley' to Dick, very good concert ! It's still a pity I can't find my 'Queen at the Beeb' cd anywhere, must have lent it to some or whatever, too bad. You always miss things when they are gone. Not just things mind you. The last 2 weeks when busy in the kitchen diy'ing away my thoughts went to my dad more than once. Of course he was a real DIY man himself, I even use some of his tools but that's not it. I guess one always wants their parents to be proud of them. He is not around anymore to praise, or comment. Nothing can change that, but don't get me wrong: I'm not gloomy or so about this, sometimes you miss someone more than 'usual'.

Still 1 and a half hour to go ...

I wanted too write a bit more on my time in Bosnia with UNProfor in 1995. I already set up a page here on Not much info on it yet, but I noticed in the access log of the site that people, searchsites or whoever were trying to access a very old long gone page: unprofor.php, so I set up an alias with that name to the page node. Drupal (the content management system I use for this site) is really great.