Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 1 - Orlando

The Delta Airlines plane that took us from Toronto to Atlanta on the first leg of our journey to Orlando was the smallest jet that I’ve ever been on. Our first hint of this was as we approached the doorway of the plane and a member of the crew confiscated our cabin luggage, saying that it was too big for the overhead bins (they ended up putting it in the baggage hold along with the rest of the luggage). When we actually got into the plane, we could see what he meant! The bins were hardly deep or high enough to put an oversized purse in. Not at all like the huge ones we see on the Air France planes, where you can virtually stuff in a regular-sized suitcase.

I couldn’t even stand up straight in this plane, not even in the middle of the aisle. And the seats (only 2 on each side of the aisle) were pretty cramped. You can just imagine the fun I had trying to get in and out of mine! Fortunately, it wasn’t a long flight. And we got a slightly bigger plane for the Atlanta to Orlando leg of the trip.

On that flight, Kathy & I couldn’t sit together. We had seats in different rows. I ended up beside a rather bubbly lady. It might have had something to do with the glass of wine she was drinking. Apparently it wasn’t her first one of the day... :)

Orlando was humid and warm, and we quickly shed our winter coats. Friends George & Linda came by to pick us up and took us out to dinner at a TGI Friday before bringing us to our guesthouse on the Wycliffe USA Center, a nice two-bedroom place on the second floor. Our only complaint is the turbofan in the bathroom. When you turn on the light, an exhaust fan also comes on. It sounds frighteningly loud and powerful! Every time it starts, I find myself reaching for something to hang on to in case I get sucked right out of the building!

Today we were in meetings with various people most of the day. Had some interesting discussions with the folks in the personnel and project funding departments. But we started the day in a large group session where we were asked to introduce ourselves. When handed the microphone, I was tempted to say, “Hello, my name is Mike... and I’m an alcoholic... Ooops! Wrong meeting!” But I restrained myself and did my best to behave like a normal person :)

This evening, we were invited to supper with old friends and colleagues from Burkina, Paul & Sonja. They left Burkina last December and are now working here. It was great catching up on things and discussing what was going on in each others’ lives now.

Well, it’s almost midnight again and we’ve got another day of meetings tomorrow, so I’d better hit the hay.

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