Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Southern Swing, May 2010, Day 1 - L.A. to Charlotte

Another month, another couple from Los Angeles getting married in the South. It is about as far-fetched as premises come, and yet it is true. After flying to Delray Beach, Florida for a wedding three weeks ago, this weekend we are attending a wedding in Charleston, South Carolina.
If you knew my wife, one thing you would know is that there is no way that we would fly across the country and not stretch our legs a little. A lesser known fact is that I have long been fascinated by Savannah, Georgia, for a reason that will not be shared on The Waste until we get there.
So... Barbie took the wedding in Charleston and turned it into a Southern Swing, where we will hit Savannah, then Charleston for the wedding, and the Charlotte, North Carolina to visit some friends who, yes, moved there from Los Angeles. Three cities, three states, eight days.
Amazingly, Barbie and I are hitting three cities and only three cities that neither of us has ever been to before. Even more fun for me, this is going to be Road Trip. Day One is merely prologue; a flight to Charlotte, a rental car pickup, and a night in an airport hotel. Tomorrow we drive right out of here without looking at a thing, because we visit Charlotte last. Got it?
The Southern Swing began as all trips do these days, with a hybrid taxi to LAX.
When am I glad that it is a little chilly and raining in Los Angeles? Yep, when I am flying to the warm South Eastern United States.
LAX Candid.
One of the goals of photography is simply to share what you see. This is what I saw on today's flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta. Well, this and solitaire on the iPhone. You have no idea how fast iPhone solitaire makes a flight go. Time disappears.
We landed at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest airport since 1999. Six huge terminals. 88 million travelers per year.
Barbie gets the best seat on the ATL's underground railroad.
Hold on, because this sucker is fast.
ATL Candid. You would need time lapse video to get a feel for how busy and crowded this airport is.
ATL Panorama. I believe scientists refer to that as, "A Whole Lotta Planes."
After getting to Terminal A with two hours to go before our flight, we did what any rational travelers would do. We went to the airport Chili's. But... here is where we show a little traveler savvy. I spotted an electrical outlet on the wall and suggested we ask for a table near an outlet. Barbie got proactive and walked into the bar and looked for an outlet, where a nice waitress showed her a table right next to one.
Recharging during the meal. Ideal.
We thought we were ordering your normal Chili's tortilla soup. But here, in the South, it is Chicken Enchilada soup. Basically a bowl of cheese with pieces of chicken. Delicious. I suspect it has more calories than the tortilla soup that the Chili's corporation serves us in California.
Time to head over to the gate.
ATL Gate Candid.
There is a story about that man. He was, shall we say, representative of many things people do not respect about the American character. This shot was taken during his loud cell phone conversation, just after he publicly scratched his crotch in a very deliberate manner. And it gave me pause. How often have I been caught adjusting myself by a stranger? I shudder.
Barbie had the window seat and moved the iPhone a little early, but I think this picture captures the activity level at ATL perfectly.
You know when you are on an escalator in an airport and you see a sign and you think, "I should pull out my iPhone and get a picture of that," and then you think another two seconds before you decide to do it, and then you've pushed the window too far and struggle to pull it out and switch it to camera mode to get the picture quickly enough? Phew. Got it. Good thing, too. Barbie was, no joke, going to make me go back up the escalator and then back down to take this pic if I did not get it.
Charlotte-Douglas International Airport greets you with this beautiful fountain. You know how I love public art.
I stood there like an unashamed tourist and took this picture in low light. Then I sat next to Barbie and waited for the Hertz bus. Then I looked over and noticed the nice lady next to us apparently found me inspiring and had to take her own picture of the fountain.
Candid Photo Of A Fountain Photo Being Taken.
We hopped into our Chevy Impala with its new car smell and drove five minutes to the Hyatt Place. In the lobby was a snack stand, so we took care of dinner then and there.
Dinner of champions.
With WiFi, a 42-inch LCD TV that swivels from couch to bed, mini work area, sink and fridge area, couch area with pull out sofa bed, king-sized bed area, closet and bathroom, this Hyatt Place basically offers 300 square feet of everything you possibly need. Seriously.
Time for bed. Tomorrow the road trip begins!

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