18 February 2021

Allegedly, that is the plane that will take me home this evening in this weather

We will see how far we can get past the gate first…

Update at midnight:
That plane did not even have a fighting chance to get out of the gate. Eventually, it was a different plane, a different equipment, 7 – yes, seven – delays amounting to a full 5 hour delay (we could not find our crew, the cleaners, the baggage folks apparently gave wrong information to the pilots, de-icing mix up – all sorts of fun that you can only take in your stride after you have put in about 8 million miles of flying) finally in Atlanta at midnight.

Strangely, I feel my world is normal again!!

15 February 2021

Aha! I got back at her!!

I checked in last night into the Marriott in Brooklyn downtown. This being my first stay after nearly eight months at a Marriott, I was not sure what the new rules were given all the pandemic stuff. So, I asked the old, African American, helpful but rather stern lady at the front desk if she could tell me what all has changed. She saw my profile and immediately realized I was used to being pampered by Marriott.

After checking me in, she came out and took me thru a whole list of things I cannot get or cannot do any more. No more restaurants in the hotel. No more bars. The lobby is not open. Even the business center (which I normally use for printouts) was not open. I had to wear my mask all the time other than when I was in my room. I could not get food delivered to my room either. She lectured me on all those stuff – in a nice way – but in a nice, school-principal way.

Subsequently, I made a habit of reading up all the notices Marriott had put up all over the place. They certainly have taken all the efforts to keep the visitors safe and make sure the visitors keep others safe. In the morning, I noticed something in the elevator. There was a notice that only two people should get into the elevator at a time (unless it was a family). But something else caught my eye. And I took a picture of it.

Unfortunately, my friend was not there at the guest counters. Ah! Well!! I went about my day. In the evening, as I was on my way tp pick up my dinner, I noticed that she was there in the check in counter and all by herself.

I went up to her and told her that I had a question about the Covid rules.

She instantly recognized me. She came out from behind her desk and asked what was it.

I showed her the picture of the elevator floor I had taken.

“The elevator allows only two passengers at a time”, I said.

“Yes, sir! We are strict about social distancing”.

“I get that. But last night when I left you and got into the elevator, somebody was already there. And she was occupying the two feet corner. I had to take the other corner and stand up on one foot all the time. How does that help with Covid?”.

She had no clue what I was talking about. She saw the picture.

Then looked at me, perhaps wondering how daft I was.

That was when I winked!

And that stern principal laughed so hard that her mask came off! And she apologized for it!!

It was a good start back to my travelogs again!

14 February 2021

Eleven months and one day later…

Nothing speaks to me that the world is getting normal again like watching people scampering to catch a flight that they might otherwise miss. The claustrophobia that Covid had wrought upon me got a ozone-hole sized puncture as I took to the skies today!

Exactly 11 months and 1 day earlier on Mar 13, 2020, I had taken my flight back from Chicago to Atlanta. And that was that.

The breakaway had all the hallmarks of the yesteryears. Made a reservation on Delta and Marriott to go to New York City. As I was wont to do before, I called them back next day to let them know that my plans had changed and I needed to change reservations. Down to even the last bit of calling Delta up this morning enquiring if they could change me to an earlier flight. Which they did.

Sure enough, the flight was delayed since the crew was not there. And yet, we came earlier than planned since the schedules are heavily padded.

One thing – seeing everybody having their masks on, I found myself wondering at times if I was in a Japanese or South Asian airport!

Covid is lurching around enough that I am still not into Joy Adamson-esque “Born Free-Living Free-Forever Free” mode yet… but my personal freedom which is defined by my ability to check into much delayed flights and noisy Marriott rooms undoubtedly got a boost today.

Eleven months and one day after my last flight!! Ever since I took my first flight of my life – a Damania Airways flight from Bombay to Kolkata towards the end of April, 1993 at the age of 27, never ever have I gone for this long without being in a plane. To put this in perspective, the previous year – in 2019, I was in 141 flights with 8 different airlines.

I feel like some normalcy was reached today!

26 September 2020

Coffee art

One advantage of the virus pandemic is that I have been trying out a lot of coffee shops in the next 20 miles from our house. Most are owned by individual families. They let me sit inside or outside. (Starbucks is allowing us to sit outside now but not inside yet). The coffee is usually a little costlier and they take more time than Starbucks to prepare it. But the output, for some reason, I am finding to be far more enjoyable.

This is my cappuccino from this morning. He took a lot of pains to create the art. I messed it up with one long sip 🙂

4 June 2020

I know that the stereotype is that kids choose math or med science…

But this could still have been avoided!!! 🙂

In fact, I asked the young lady why is 2 inches the same as 10 cm? Or does linear dimension expand in translation?

Julia – her name – who grew up in the city of Atlanta and was thankful that her parents who also live there did not get hit directly by the riots – at least saw the sense of humor in it and both of us laughed.

Soon all the workers started looking at all the boards around with the same error. I think Fulton county is going to mark me Covid positive just to spite me 🙂 🙂