I chronicled my adventures, while I was without WiFi. Here is my journey, part I! ♥
Tuesday, February 18th. 5:52 PM – Atlanta, Georgia
Intercoms overhead page the last call for a Paris flight. The sound of giant engines roaring in the distance. Idle chatter in English and an unknown Indian language behind me. I’m sitting in the corner, at a communal booth of the Atlanta, Georgia airport, charging my laptop and phone. I’m going to be here awhile… I look to my right, and see the sun setting behind a window of sky in the clouds. Airplanes taking off and and landing right in front of me. I’ve already texted my mother, father, and sent a message to DN. If I had internet access, I’d update MHH and post the pictures I’ve been taking.
Let me take this a few steps back.
After scrambling to get everything done, we finally accomplished everything. Last minute shopping, searching for important documents and making sure my bags were locked up tight. My sister and two brothers accompanied me and my mother to the airport. I still didn’t feel nervous. I was a bit sad to be leaving them – well, everyone – behind… But I still felt so confident. We sang songs, recorded videos, and had silly conversations the entire way to the airport. I had to admit, in the back of my mind, I had this feeling that somehow something would go wrong, and I wouldn’t be getting on my plane. I guess I felt like I would have forgotten something important, but in all actuality, everything was fine.
I had a bit of a hiccup, when attempting to self-print my boarding pass. My confirmation number kept producing error messages and my passport wouldn’t scan. That’s a bit daunting… The machine eventually spit out a ticket that said, “Please see assistant.”
We made our way to the desk, which had no line on our end, and spoke with an older blonde woman about the issue. She was very calm and quick. She asked for my passport, weighed my bag, gave me some luggage stickers and made everything work out the way it should have. She wasn’t impatient, she was very kind! She explained that my luggage would be going all the way to Hyderabad, there was no need to receive it and have it checked in Dubai. Success! I was worried about that…
I got my tickets, and we made our way to my gate. As time was running out, we had to say our goodbyes nearly immediately. (But not without getting some gum first. 😀 ) There was a big group hug, a kiss from my mom, and individual hugs from my siblings. I passed through the first aspect of security. They checked my boarding pass and identification and let me through. From there, I took off all jewelry, my shoes, my jacket, you know… Basic protocol. I had forgotten the sunglasses on top of my head, so they had to remind me of that, but otherwise I thought I did a pretty thorough job. I stepped into the big cylinder put my arms up, and in seconds, their scan was over. When I emerged the security and staff were so friendly. They smiled and waved me on to collect my things.
Except my laptop apparently had to be removed and scanned separately… Because my backpack was locked up like Fort Knox , the security woman became a bit frustrated. I quickly unlocked the bag, allowed her to remove the laptop, and then another woman said she’d need to scan my purse again. I stood there, barefoot, holding up the line while they scanned my purse about three times total, before having to search it by hand. I don’t know why they kept having to search it, and I never found out what triggered their little alarm…
But clearly they saw nothing as a threat, when they searched it by hand. The two women handed me my things (it was a chore within itself to try and fit everything back in my purse) and I continued to hold up the line as I put everything back in its rightful place. A man came through the crowd of security and handed me my laptop. He offered to put it back in my bag, but I knew I could do it faster, so I politely declined.
When everything was back in order, I carried on through the main gate area, and stood in the middle of a row of empty seats. Any minute I would board, so I saw no point in getting comfortable. I began to look around, and take everything in, when I could see my family pointing and smiling awkwardly at me through the window. I smiled back. Mom was recording me, and my siblings were in sync, acting silly and hoping I would return the favor. I smiled and made faces at them, until it was time to leave.
I gathered with the crowd, and was greeted by a woman with short dark hair and a warm smile. She wished me a happy journey, I scanned my ticket and walked the long hall and boarded the train. I’m definitely happy with all the MCI & Delta Airlines staff. I anticipated stiff and frustrated people, but everyone turned out to be warm and kind. What a relief.
I quickly found my seat, and the male flight assistant announced that there were not many passengers aboard, so passengers were free to move around and change seats. I sat alone in a row of three, closest to the window. I was happy to be sitting alone. The last two times I had ever been on a plane, I was sitting next to two old men. Both times, I was in-between them. Though there is nothing wrong with that, it’s just a bit difficult to get comfortable. I felt lucky that I was sitting alone.
I waved goodbye to Kansas City as we began to take off, and rested my head against the hard window. Two little girls were sitting behind me, the entire flight, talking about morals and manners. It was so sweet. ♥
I felt a little dizzy each time the pilot flew higher into the sky, but I simply closed my eyes in those moments and hummed. I have to say, there is nothing like seeing the sunlight reflect off of the ice and snow from above. Everything was suddenly given and intricate and beautiful design. The clouds in Kansas City were thin, flat and misty. Like fog, instead of clouds. I closed my eyes, allowed the sunlight to warm me and fell fast asleep. I woke when the flight attendants were serving snacks and beverages. I had pretzels and a sprite.
Shortly afterwards, a beautiful flight attendant came around to collect trash. She had a black blazer and skirt, knee-high black boots, long black hair in a ponytail and deep red lips. She finished as the pilot announced that we would arrive in Atlanta relatively soon. I closed my eyes and rested again. I felt us descending, and opened my eyes. Nothing is more incredible than being above the sea of clouds – let alone swimming through them. I was in awe.The cloud fields, above Atlanta Airport. ♥
As we plunged through the clouds, I could see a tiny city in the distance. It was a bumpy road, but the closer we got, the more of the city I could see. We first passed the industrial grunge of Atlanta, then we could see the metro city in the distance.
We finally landed, and I emerged from my gate thinking… This could be the most interesting airport I have ever seen. Big, too. It’s huge.
As I type this, a man came over beside me (away from everyone in the corner), sat his bags down and began praying to Allah. Wow. ♥ I really admire his dedication. He is speaking quickly. I can’t understand him. Praying with his hands, bowing down and touching his forehead to the floor. I’ve never seen such a thing in person… That’s kind of amazing. Okay, moving on.
When I entered the Atlanta airport, I moved with a dedication and confidence. I had no idea where I was going, but by god, I was going to get there with no problems. I reached Gate A, not far from where I entered, and to the left. I searched my ticket and found no gate number. It said to look at the boards. So I found the electronic boards on the wall and didn’t see Dubai. Hmm…
I hunted down the nearest staff member and asked him where I would find my flight to Dubai. He told me it was at Gate F. “Oh, okay… So where is Gate F?” He told me to go back the way I came, follow the signs on the left, and I would find Gate F. Easy enough. I began walking, again with confidence. Down a long hallway, dodged a few people, up an escalator, down another long hallway… But I was still only at Gate C. My god. This was going to take awhile. I decided not to slow down, except to take pictures. I didn’t want to seem too out of place.
I kept walking for 45 more minutes and I wasn’t even close. I noticed they had some sort of train you could take, as opposed to walking. It seemed over-crowded, and I appreciated being able to move around, so I decided not to take the railway. Again, this is indoors. Insane. I have never seen anything like that. I walked for about an hour, when the only option I had left, was to take the railway to Gate F. I saw a girl wander into the subway-sort-of-thing, and followed her in and sat beside her. Other than me, she was the only girl in the car. I bet she was relieved that I came in and sat beside her. 😀
We moved slowly, then extremely fast. I realized if I even had the option to continue walking, it might have been another 30 minutes before I arrived at the gate. I finally made my way to Gate F, with lots of time to spare, and sat down to write this. The only bad thing that has happened, is my pen isn’t working. So I can’t journal until I reach India. But that’s not a problem. I anticipate another good flight, this time crossing the ocean and a few continents.
I wonder what I will have for dinner, on the plane? It’s now dark, and I’m really getting tired. It’s only 7:04 PM. I think I’ll be able to sleep well on the plane.