Note 1: Travelogue. Hmm. What is a travelogue? Figure this out because whatever this is, it might not be a travelogue. Maybe it's “travel log.” That makes more sense than tagging on the -ue and making it all frenchlike. I have no love for the French. Well, travelogue or travel log, gotta write something useful.
Note 2: I used to like airports. I used to be fascinated with them. Less so, now. Too big, too busy, too anonymous. Less enamored with the fact that these people, unified by geography, are about to splinter out over the globe. Exotic locales are a little less enticing when you're about to move there for a year. It strikes me that I've done a lot of traveling alone in the last few years. That's good and bad. Bad because there's no one to watch your stuff when you need to make a trip to the can. Erm, garbage can. You're essentially tied to your stuff, one all-inclusive unit. I am my guitar. I am my bulky backpack. How new-agey. On the other hand, traveling alone is good because there's no one to wait for, to decide with, to argue with over where you buy your overpriced airport lunch. Today, it was Au bon pain. Au Bon Pan? Maybe. Upon finishing my meal ($13 for Mountain Dew, chips, and a sandwich. Yikes.) I wished it would have A) Tasted better and B) Cost less. Nothing I can do now, except make better budgetary decisions.
Note 3: Mom encouraged me to bring my guitar. I hesitated at first, I'd just assume leave it behind and borrow one from someone else when I get there. But she said she'd pay for me to bring it and it ended up being free anyway as a carryon. Now, there is something cool about walking through a crowded airport with a guitar. People can only assume that you're an accomplished musician. Really, I can play half of blackbird and a passable version of Vincent, and if I had a chord book I might be able to play some camp songs. But nobody knows that. I am the ultimate poser. And posing, it turns out, is kind of fun. But I learned one lesson: If you are going to bring a guitar and stow it above your seat, you had better make an attempt to be one of the first people on the airplane. Since they charge for bags now, everybody stuffs a carry-on bag to the point of herniation with a full suitcase worth of clothes. As a result, all the overhead bins are full, without failure. So, while everyone is seated, waiting to leave behind the airport and its overpriced sandwiches, you're fumbling to stuff a guitar case into a bin above someone else's seat waaaay at the back of the plane. I broke a sweat and just barely (I hope) maintained my composure. Awkward city. When I boarded, there was one flight attendant who said, “Try to put it up above and if you can't we'll see if we can fit it in the closet.” I thought, and if you can't fit it in the closet? I didn't ask this. I was the last one to sit down. One flight attendant, who was either in charge or on the bottom of the totem pole because she was the only one willing to assist me, at least came over and offered some suggestions. I believe I was the last person to sit down. We took off ten minutes late. Whether or not it was my fault, I do not care to find out.
Note 4: Uncapitalize the title thing if you're going to blog it. You could do it now.... Eh, do it later.
Note 5: ATL to SJU. There's nothing remarkable to remember about this flight. Which is a good thing. The guy next to me assumed possession of the armrest early. They showed Salt, which is exactly the type of movie I guess I expected to see on an airplane. In all of the flights I've been on, I've never been any good at sleeping. Or reading. I mostly look out the window and count down the minutes until we land. Which, when you're flying over the Atlantic at night, there's not a whole lot to see. So this was a boring, slightly uncomfortable flight.
Note 6: San Juan. The first thing I saw next to the airport in San Juan: The Golden Arches. Turns out Puerto Rico has every single fast food joint West Michigan does. So, if comfort food is how you cope, you're going to be fine in Puerto Rico. Julio picked me up. I stepped out of the air conditioning of the airport and into the sweltering, thick, nasty air of San Juan. I will not leave this behind, night or day, save for an occasional cold shower, for the next year. We stopped at Wendy's. Because they don't feed you on three hour flights. Puerto Rican Wendy's is the same as Wendy's in the States except you order things from the English menu to people who (claim they) don't speak English. And it seems to take longer for them to get it done. As we drove south, up into the mountains to cross the island, I saw countless Burger Kings, Wendy's, McDonald's, Church's Chickens, and Subways. Puerto Rico remains very much unique and separate from The States, but like us they have embraced the Dollar Menu.