17 June 2017

Which airport am I in? #14 in series

Well, there should not be any points for guessing this one. I cannot think of any other airport whose motto is “If the airlines did not do a good job in separating you from your money, welcome to our airport!” Which other airport has casino slot machine all over?

“You just arrived at our city to lose a lot of money in the casinos? Why not get a head start even before you can reach the baggage carousel?” Speaking of which – forget inside the airport – they have slot machines lined up AT the baggage pick up! “You got your luggage? Why bother going to the hotel? Start losing money, right now, right here!!”

The real funny part? People are actually playing at these machines!! With a beer in hand too!!!

12 June 2017

Which airport am I in? #12 in this series

As I walk from the gate where my plane had pulled up to the exit, I came across these beautiful panels of art on the walls along the corridor. The art work is by a local artist Marguerita Hagan. She has designed and created in porcelain the creatures of the deep sea. The intricate detail and the exquisite beauty of marine life has been very vividly created – as I said in porcelain.

She covers the whole ecosystem: diatoms, star colonies, corals, sea anemone, sea dragon, squid, manta ray, puffer fish and what have you!! Extremely interesting!!

Which airport am I in?

10 June 2017

What purpose can this possibly serve?

If you go to Philadelphia airport and go to Terminal D (where the Delta flights take off from), you are bound to see something seemingly strange. As you can see in the picture, as I was walking to Gate D8, I saw this sign on the column. I had glanced thru the first two lines lazily and had already passed it by a few steps when something odd struck me. So, I came back and read it fully and then took a picture.

Here is my question – What was this notice doing THERE?? I am at my gate. People who are taking off have obviously reached this point AFTER having done all the security stuff. People who just came in and are headed out need not show any form of ID at all. And people who are in transit do not need to show any id either since they are always within the secured zone.

So, why have that notice at that location??? Anybody knows?

9 June 2017

Bensalem. Who knew?

Remember, this morning I talked about running in a place that I had never heard of before – Bensalem? While driving to the meeting place after breakfast, I was stunned to see the local water tank proclaim that the city was established in 1692 !! (See the pic)

That is a looooong time back!! To put it in perspective – all the Founding Fathers of this country? Yep, they had to wait a few more decades just to be born!!

Forget our Founding Fathers. Britain had to wait for a few more decades just to get their first Prime Minister!

In France, you remember Napoleon? Yep, when this city was established, his grandparents were not born yet!!!

And if somebody had come from Bensalem, PA to India then, after an arduous journey spanning multiple months, they would have found a guy called Aurangzeb still ruling India. And the Taj Mahal, created by his dad would have been sparkling clean!!

I need to come back here and find out more about the historical spots in this city again…

11 May 2017

The difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary? It is really in your efforts to find it out…

I hopped on to the Marriott Hotel pick up shuttle at Baltimore airport and a few seconds later, as the driver closed the door, I realized that I was gong to be the only passenger for him. That was as good an excuse as any to make a new friend…

Me: “Are you from this area?”
He: “Well, I was born in northern Minnesota but I have lived in Baltimore for over 60 years!”
Me: “Ah! You are a native for all practical purposes. How long have you worked with the Marriott group?”
He: “4 years”
Me: “How did you get in this job?”
He: “Well, my friend who worked in Marriott asked me if I would like to drive. I said that I could drive. He asked me if I could drive around in circles. I told him that I was 70 years old. I could drive around in circles”.

It was a good thing that there was nobody else in the bus because I laughed out too loud. It was that matter-of-fact way he put it that he could drive in circles.

He: “And that is what I do all day. Airport to Hotel and back again!!”
Me: (after I had gained composure): “What did you you do before that?”

The answer to that question was stunning. Over the next few minutes, I found out that Bob Meade – the gentleman who was driving me around – was World Ranked #2 bass drum player in his hey days (I believe the competition was for drum players that were part of bagpiper groups).

Turns out that in school, he wanted to play bagpipes. “I gave it up for humanity. I really sucked at it”. Again, I laughed out aloud at his way of putting things. But apparently, his group kept pleading him to come back. So, he gave it a shot in playing bass drums. And never looked back from there.

At some point, he realized that he liked teaching kids to play bass drums. That was what became his profession. Three of his students went on to become World Champions. He is taking his students this year too to Glasgow for the World Championships.

The story was so unbelievable that as I was going “Really, really?”, I quickly punched in this name in Google and sure enough!! His picture and his background came up!! Glancing at a line there, I asked “You have actually written a book?”

“Yes! It is called Keeping The Beat. I am working on a second one”.

I was so engrossed in the discussion that I had not realized till a cold whiff of air hit me that we had reached the hotel and he had opened the door for me. There were a few people waiting to get in.

Very quickly I asked him if he would be there when I would go back to the airport. Alas! he was going to finish his shift in an hour.

Me: “Can I take a picture with you?”
He: “Sure. Just make sure that my face does not break your phone”, he said, with his, by now common, self deprecating humor.

I again laughed out loud as I jumped from the bus and briskly walked passed the rather intrigued set of passengers waiting to get on.

Looking back at his picture now I am marveling at two things. First, how the seemingly ordinary thing (or person) in life can be the most extraordinary thing (or person). You just have to find it out. And second… man! I really suck at selfies. Almost as much as Bob at the bagpipes!!