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TBEX '10.5

Travel Bloggers and Writers, in a large room, alone, with no coffee.....Saga 5 of 5

sunny 50 °C

Bloggers Disclaimer of Truth - Day Five has really nothing to do with the actual conference - it was over, all over....kaput, finito, done for, in the past, don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out, goodbye

Day 5 of the sage came to a close...we were home.......no wait, I missed something. What was it? Oh, right.....Ah, New York, Gotham, The Big Red Fruit, The City That Never Sleeps.....HA, fooled you, we did sleep. The rum helped, mind you. We awoke to yet another balmy New York summer day. Temperatures were in the high 200s and the humidity was thick enough to swim through. Hot time, summer in the city. Our minds were still racing from the events of the last few days. Blogging, podcasting for alien life, search engine optimization, telling a good story....we were alive dammit, and that's what counted. On came the local television news: several thousand people gathered in Central Park had, or were in the process of, melting. Yellow cabs had overtaken the city and were preparing to overthrow the government and declare their own sovereign nation - Yellow CabLand, where immigrants from every corner of the Earth would be free to drive hybrid Ford Escapes at warp speed to demonstrate their previously unknown might. Ocean bathers in New Jersey were being devoured by an onslaught of killer phytoplankton, which apparently had their own designs on world conquest. Why start in New Jersey, we asked? Still, the local news was intriguing. It was during a story on the most recent excavation attempts at the site of the World Trade Center to find intelligent merchant bankers that we cleaned ourselves and made ready for what was to become, perhaps, the most daunting episode of our 5 day adventure: packing the bags. I hadn't remembered bringing that satchel full of bricks, nor the file cabinet full of breakfast receipts. Fortunately for us, we had brought along our very Tardis-like luggage - much bigger on the inside than on the out. In a mere 30 minutes, we had packed the equivalent of the Library of Congress into 2 carry-ons and one detached garage. Life was good, and so were we.

Craning the last of my shorts into a carry-on, I was suddenly overwhelmed with a scent that made my very essence tingle with anticipation and excitement: cooked meat products. Time for breakkie dear? Indeed, and so we shall descend the tiny staircase and make for the restaurant. The Maitre'd greeted us with a slightly unsettling familiarity, as if he had known us for 4 or 5 days already. Peculiar little man, hunched over in his ill-fitting penguin suit as if waiting for a fish to be thrown his way, but quick with the coffee - had to give him that. The cooked meat products were excellent this morning, and the coffee exquisite. If only we could stay here for the next 8 hours until just before the plane taxis down the runway. But alas, the hotel insisted that we leave at noon, and so it was with heavy heart that we handed back the flat screen and checked out. The hotel was kind enough to store our baggage for a few hours so we could meander the mean streets one last time, to soak up all that the City could throw at us without actually throwing anything. The park was calling once again. Strolling past the chess board tables occupied by men of super-intelligence out to make a quick buck from innocent passersby who knew nothing of the gambling world of park side chess, past the fountain filled with gleeful children and the odd tighty-whitie from the previous day, around the man covered with bird seed and pigeons, by the NYU jazz string trio, and up to the hot dog vendor casually setting up for another day of hawking cooked meat products in a bun, we set ourselves on the shadiest bench we could find. It didn't really matter, it was still 170F in the shade, but who cared? Oh look, a city squirrel. With a gun. And a wad of cash. Why does that pigeon keep giving me the hairy eyeball? I have no seed, be gone little bird. Hours passed like hours in this bucolic setting, and we listened intently to the conversation from the next bench about how the US policy in Afghanistan was short-sighted and we should bring the troops home, right after we solve the issue of how to fill the pockets of virtually every American with cooked meat products. Strange folk, these New Yorkers. Still, worth listening to if for no other reason than they're more informed than Fox News, and somewhat more articulate.

The time to depart had arrived, so to hail a yellow chariot was the order. No, first get the bags from the hotel, then hail. Our driver whisked us at near warp speed toward LaGuardia, pausing only briefly to slam on the brakes to avoid a cataclysmic accident with a runaway Toyota Prius. On the upside, this driver knew where he was going, so the bill was $10 less than the one from the airport to the hotel 4 days earlier. Crazy world, and when apocalypse comes and Yellow CabLand is formed, I want a hybrid Ford Escape.

Following the usual US airport body cavity screenings (just in case we were intent on smart-mouthing the stewardesses or chipping away at the solid cast-iron cockpit door with our nail file), we settled in for a few hours of the finest in people watching. OK, maybe not the finest - it was kind of dull, but we did manage to procure one last cooked meat product wrapped in a bun while we waited. Oh look, all flights to Washington DC are cancelled due to plague. There's a delay to Denver because of some chronic deodorant issue. All flights to Europe are running three hours late because Homeland Security just wants to fuck with people going to Europe. That, and the volcanic ash covering most of London and Paris in a haze thicker than the mustard gas used in WWI. You have to love the unequivocal efficiency of modern airports.

More hours passed, and suddenly, there it was: Lake Michigan, sparkling jewel of the Midwest. We were soon to be home. Landing would, of course, be optimal prior to getting our car from long-term parking. A quick. spine-dislocating three hop landing and we were back on solid ground. Ah Chicago, the City of Big Shoulders, that Toddlin' Town, home of true cooked meat products. We had decided, as we always do, that standing up and unloading the entire overhead bin of our luggage while simultaneously texting God that we were still alive was not the best course. Not that anyone else on the plane took our lead - it was chaos, and I'm certain that God needed to know at that very instant, while the plane was still moving into position at the gate, that Wanda in seat 17C was finally at the gate and would deplane shortly to save the world from cruelty and injustice. Volumes could be written, or possibly tweetered, on such behavior.

Emerging from long-term parking, we found our rear-view mirror tucked gently between the seats. Thanks guys, for taking such good care of our baby while we faced the terrors of New York. What? I can file a claim? Oh, thank you, my mind is now at peace. I am somehow comforted in the fact that I could visit my local WalMart and buy some glue to fix this little issue.

2 more hours to go, 1.5 if traffic is good. As we turned out onto the expressway, I was relieved. We had survived modern flight, modern baggage claim, and no rear-view mirror. Life was beginning to return to some sense of normalcy. As we sped swiftly down the road, I could not get something out of my mind, something that has come to haunt my inner being for some years now....it was all returning, madly and with no change in tempo:

Green acres is the place for me.
Farm livin' is the life for me.
Land spreadin' out so far and wide
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.

The Green Acres song. Egad, I was turning into Eddie Albert, and beside me sat not Eva Gabor, but Mrs. Eddie Albert. She has also embraced country living, though by nature we are neither country folk nor city folk. We blur the line between the two, we can fit into either society. Cocktails on the mezzanine, or cold box wine over a game of euchre. The only thing that changes is attitude.

And so came to a close the 5-day saga. Thank you for reading along, I hope I have entertained. Please send all your loose change to me, and I promise I'll fully disclose it to the government in my next blog.

Posted by beerman 09:49 Archived in USA Tagged business_travel

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