K’zoo 46th Medieval Conference

I am here in Kalamazoo, Michigan after a series of travel adventures.

I went to the airport early, as it is a large city airport and very busy. But I went to the wrong terminal, having counted on the airline I was using to be the determination. So I had to get on the train to change terminals.

Now at places like NY and DFW that is no big deal. The trains are sleek, well-run, and open and airy. At this international airport, however, the trains are small, cramped, and they run underground in the dark, but not in a straight line, so you are zigging and zagging around the area. This is not great if you have vertigo (which I do) and have not taken your meds (which I hadn’t, never having been on the trains there before).

But I was able to get to my terminal and got in line in front of a man who, had he not been dressed as a professor and had an American accent, I would have said was a foreigner since his sense of space was so limited. He hit me with his bags four times and was never farther than one foot from my back throughout the whole line. I don’t like people being that close, so it was a problem.

Then, my bags were picked for screening–because I forgot and the four-inch knife I had taken to school to cut an apple (four months ago) was still in my bag. Lost that. Great Kershaw knife, too. Dang it. They didn’t offer to let me mail it; I could have done that. Instead, they wanted me to go back out and make it a carry-on, which meant I’d pay $25 to get it there and have another hour of going through lines. So I let them take it.

It rained in my city (normal except for the last four months when we’ve had a significant draught) and kept the plane from taking off on time. The plane itself was delightful, a commuter plane, so I was by myself on my seat with no seats next to mine. I liked that.

So we left about half an hour late, but they said the flight time would be 2.17, which would still get us in on time. Good.

When we reached Grand Rapids, though, we went down and then up again and were circling, because Grand Rapids, MI was having a storm. Then the plane started running out of gas. (Never a good thing in any vehicle, but particularly alarming for a plane.) So we flew to Detroit to get gas. Then we went the opposite direction to come to Grand Rapids and miss the departing storm.

I called Avis at 11:00, when we landed in Detroit and when I was supposed to be picking up my car, and told them I was delayed. They said someone would wait for me. (Bless them! and Jessica, who was the one who had to wait.) They also made my bill $30 cheaper. I don’t know why, but I’m glad.

We got to Grand Rapids at 1 a.m. I was in the back of the plane, so I was one of the last to get off. As I was going down to baggage claim I saw a long line of people and wondered if we were going to have to go through another checkpoint to get off the plane. But, no, that wasn’t it. The cleaning or security people had locked the gate wall (like they put on stores at the mall after hours). We were locked in the arm of the terminal.

Security let us out about 1:30.

Then it was on to Avis and the drive to Kalamazoo, which is short and pretty, even in the rain and dark. However, my economy car, which I had reserved months ago, became an SUV. Not exactly good for gas. But only preferred customers got smaller cars… I’m going to look for somewhere that rents a Prius. That’s what I need to drive these days, especially when it’s all coming out of my pocket.

At 3:45 I arrived in Kalamazoo and my handy iPhone got me to streets I recognized, which allowed me to find my dorm in the wee hours.

And here I am.

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