The following entries are paraphrased from my new dead tree journal. That will pretty much be true for any entries from here on out, since my internet time will be limited. And otherwise I'll forget everything.
- Leave Jackson way too early. Mom and Dad surprisingly chipper; I appreciate the effort, since I know they're sad to see me go. Patrick's enthusiasm not faked.
- My investment in a $5 spring scale paid off - my bags don't weigh too much.
- Delta waived the extra-bag fee since I was on a government ticket. I didn't think they would.
- Carry-on bag check! My first. It took a long time, but the lady was nice. She mentioned that I should have had my liquids bag out separately (I've always before just avoided carrying any) and I asked her if that was why they called a bag check. She said "That's one reason" and then entirely failed to elaborate on what the others were.
- Got coffee on the flight. This was not a brilliant idea since my stomach has already been in knots for days and I really could have used a nap.
- Called mom and dad from the Atlanta airport. Surprise! This calling card charges THIRTY-FIVE MINUTES to call from a pay phone. Thanks, AT&T! From 63 minutes to 27, all for less than a minute of talk time.
- Got a Diet Coke while waiting at ATL. Looked at the cap, and realized that for the first time in months there was no reason to save the MyCoke Rewards cap from my brother. An oddly poignant moment, which Coke will almost certainly never make a commercial out of.
- Got into Philly at 12, and still didn't arrive at the hotel until after 2. Incredibly long wait at the baggage claim followed by a shuttle service that took so long to leave the airport that 4 people got out to take a cab - whereupon the rest of us had to wait even longer while the driver found a few more fares.
- Thank you, TSA, for losing my TSA-friendly lock on my footlocker and inexplicably removing the address tag from my other carry-on. I promise, Ouagadougou is a real place (I'll find out later that I'm not the only person this happened to).
- Staging itself was ok. And the kimchi I had for dinner was excellent.
- Comfy beds and nice rooms here. I slept well...until I started waking up every 20 minutes CERTAIN that this time I overslept. I gave up and stayed awake at 6:30. Two hours until staging continues.
- The hotel has good coffee. And expensive breakfast, but I can afford it, thanks to our daily allowance. And I won't be having lunch for reasons elaborated on below.
- We were a half-hour late getting to lunch. Which meant I had only an hour to a)walk 21 blocks to where I was told Bank of America was, b) wander around looking, c)ask directions, d)walk 2 blocks back the way I came to where it REALLY is (there was a left turn in my route, so I wasn't on the same block as the building when I passed it), e)actually close my account, and f)walk 19 blocks back to the hotel. With all of 30 seconds to spare. Hence, no lunch.
- Quizno's for dinner. It's probably a minor sin to be in Philadelphia and get a cheesesteak from a nationwide chain, but it was close and I was hungry.
And that was pretty much it for staging. Tomorrow we get Yellow Fever shots, then in the evening leave for Ouaga! I may or may not have time to update Thursday evening.