Friday, February 10, 2006


by Suw on February 10, 2006

Whoa, last few days have been manic, but I'm sitting at the moment in the kitchen of T'Other's office in DC, catching up on a few emails (oh my god… too many unread!), looking at the stack of boxes of things me and T'Other have to take home with us, and preparing to pop out and get a nice haircut at around 12-ish.
It's nice to be back in the States. Even nicer to be back here with T'Other. We've been to Brugge and Prague together, but this is T'Other's home territory. It's nice to be shown round a city by a local, instead of leafing through the guidebook trying to decide which particular tourist trap you're going to risk next.
Getting here was hell, though. I've travelled a lot the last year or so, but I've not seen queues like there were at Heathrow yesterday. We checked in online, being clever little blighters, and thus assumed that if we got to Heathrow two hours before, that would be plenty of time. Instead, there was a long wait for one family ahead of us in the queue to drop off our luggage, then the check-in lass told us that we 'might want to go through security straight away as there's often a queue at this time of day'.
What she meant was that the queue stretched right through the terminal. We would have been in real trouble had a Virgin Atlantic employee not come through and picked us out of the queue, fast tracking us through to the security counter and jumping a significant chunk of waiting. (Thank you Virgin!)
By the time we were through that first queue, we had just enough time to get some water for the flight, then it was straight to the gate, where T'Other got frisked again, and his hand luggage disembagulated. Then straight on to a bus, out to a remote stand, followed by a 45 min wait on the tarmac.
Sadly, the hassle didn't really stop there. We were seated next to the most annoying spoilt brat I've seen in ages, and his two children. And the entertainment system went down. Oh joy.
Actually, it was quite amusing watching the Linux system reboot, with the command line showing on each terminal and Tux at the top of the screen. If I'd had some of my geek friends there, they could've fixed it no problem, I'm sure.
So, long flight. Was great to land at Dullest.
We had probably the most entertaining cabbie ever. We drove past Langley, which is the CIA headquarters, and the cabbie was telling us how he once picked up a fare who wanted to go there. After the third checkpoint, at each of which he had to get out of his car, get frisked, and have his boot and engine checked for 'devices', he asked how many more there were. Seven, he was told.
So he dumped his passenger off there and then, and told him to hitchhike the rest of the way. Apparently they have “144,000 acres” of land there, and no one's mobile phone works when driving past…
He was also talking about how there are 470 cabbies in DC and that everyone in the back of their cabs thinks they aren't listening. 'Just think,' he said, 'about how much stuff we hear… if only we could put it all together…'
I stopped short of suggesting that the cabbies start a group blog.
Staying with friends in Georgetown in a lovely flat, and intending to do as little work-related stuff as possible this week. Christmas turned out to be a very unholiday-like holiday, so I need some time to unwind.

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