So, I'll try not to babble too much this trip, as I tend not to finish my trip blogs when I do that. But there are some stories that simply must be told.
So I'm on the plane when I noticed that the guy in front of me is playing some sort of trivia game on his TV. (There was a TV on the back of every seat.) So I decided to see what all there was. I found Bookworm and Bejeweled, but they cost $5 each. Yipes! Anyway, so they had this trivia game, and it was free. I'm horrible at trivia, but whatever. After a turn or two I realized that I was playing against the other passengers in the plane. One of the contestants (there were only 4 live players at the time) was Steve. (I work with him and he was sitting just a few seats away from me.) Humored, I started playing. And he destroyed me. I didn't realize how good Steve was at trivia. He took first place, in fact. (Hah! The look on his face!) But then again, I had come in halfway through the round. So we started a new round and I actually held my own. I was rather impressed with myself. I stayed in first place for awhile (until the guys back in the back of the plane started playing and dethroned me). Steve kept glancing back at me, apparently trying to discompose me, but it just made me laugh.
Later, long after I gave up on trivia, I was just sitting around listening to Harry Potter 5. I'm engrossed in the story when, from somewhere in the plane I hear, "911 Emergency" in a very official, emergency-like voice. Scared me to death. I quickly turned off my iPod and started looking around. The guy across the isle from me had his laptop open and was trying frantically to turn it off, close it (the audio continued), mute it, anything. It took him awhile, but he finally succeeded, red-faced and thoroughly embarrassed. I'm pretty sure he works for Family Search, but I don't know who he is.
Next adventure: baggage claim. I stood there, waiting for my luggage for 45 minutes. It was ridiculous. Steve was very nice and waited with me, even though his luggage came through quickly. Toby and her mom also waited patiently a ways behind, even though they didn't check any baggage. We would later all share a taxi to the hotel. While I waited, and waited, and waited, I started people watching, luggage watching, and a bit of eavesdropping. I got something interesting out of all of them.
People-watching: There was an Amish family there. I feel really dumb because I saw them, tried to figure out what religion they were (the headdress simply wasn't Muslim) and finally decided they must be Amish. Much later that night at dinner I was talking about how Jalin served her mission here and when we picked her up we spent about 2 hours in Philly and the rest of the time out in rural areas. Someone commented, "Yeah, with the Amish." And suddenly it clicked. Of course the people at the airport were Amish... we're in Pennsylvania! [rolls eyes at self]
Luggage-watching: My favorite was this luggage for an entire family that went around and around and around. How did I know they belonged together? Because they had written their name and address really large on the side of the luggage with a Sharpie. Also? They were from Vietnam. Awesome.
Eavesdropping: The lady standing next to me had been in Missoula, Montana and had a direct flight back to Philly. However, the plane coming in that would then take them was delayed. So they waited. And then the plane finally came in and as it was landing got struck by lightening! So, of course, they couldn't fly in that plane. So they ended up getting shipped to SLC and from there to Philly. Anyway, best part of the story... the passengers of the lightening-struck plane got off. Huey Lewis steps off the plane and says, "Dude. That was awesome. I have to do that again."
There was also a large crowd of missionaries just arriving. The missionary president's wife was there, welcoming them, and it was all just fun to watch.
Lastly was the taxi ride. Now, I realized that my taxi-experience is rather... unusual. I'm not sure I've ever ridden in a taxi in the states, but I've ridden in far too many in foreign countries. I was shocked to see a posted rate (my favorite being that while waiting, the charge is counted per 38 seconds. ... why?! Who's gonna do that math?!), a credit card machine, a list of rights for passengers and driver, a no smoking sign (with no smell of smoke to boot) and the ID of the driver in the window. So strange. Also, I was shocked that four of us got from the airport to the hotel for only $37. And that included a tip. Who knew that taxis are reliable in America? I did struggle remembering this was an American taxi, though, as the driver was quite possibly Muslim and there was no A/C. I had to keep reminding myself that as I mocked the fact that the essential parts of the ID were hidden by sticker remains on the window, he could understand me. So I had to keep my voice down.
Who knew travel could be so interesting in the States, too?