Wednesday, October 31, 2007

They put a man WHERE?

Well, I am now less than impressed with America. This is the nation that invented fast food and instant service. But on arriving in Washington, along with roughly 1000 other people, we find that the number of INS offices available is... 4. 3 of which are only serving US citizens. Fortunately, somebody there realised the situation, took decisive action, and increased the number to... 5 (2 for non-US). I was in that queue for an hour, and if it had been much longer I might even have missed my next flight.

Now I know why foreigners who wants to take a tour up to the ISS goes to Baikonur rather than on the shuttle. I can just picture the scene:
Tourist: My shuttle leaves in 15 minutes and I have to be on it! I paid $20 million and I have command duties.
INS: I'm sorry sir, you haven't completed item 16 on your INS form. You'll have to go to the back of the line. You'll be booked onto the next shuttle.

But, here I am in Disneyworld, and it's just as packaged and tinkly and glitzy and fake and horrible as I expected, except that driving through it, all you see is trees and grass and canals.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Going nowhere really ****ing fast

So, SAA did not, in fact, manage to take me to Washington yesterday. This is in spite of assurances that
  • the plane from Cape Town would leave at 3 (the TV screens), or at 3:15 (announcement), or at 3:30 (what another passenger was told when asked), it in fact left at 4:15.
  • the outgoing plane to Washington would be delayed and we'd have time to get on it.
So, I'm well cheesed off. I spent the night in Johannesburg, and to make things more fun, the flight to Washington was held just long enough for them to rush my luggage on board. So I'm wearing mostly the same clothes as yesterday and until whenever I succeed in meeting my luggage, while my luggage is going round and round a carousel in Washington, or possibly it's in the baggage enquires office, or possibly it's been blown up as unattended baggage (hopefully not). Of course, nobody tells me any of this when I go to the transfers desk. It's back and forth, out through passport control and customs, over to domestic, back to international, upstairs, downstairs, back into international baggage hall, find this out, then back through customs again.

Hopefully the next post will be a little more positive and from a little further away...

Monday, October 29, 2007

And for my next trip...

Actually, I missed blogging about my last trip: a quick hop over to Cambridge for a job interview with ARM. I'll post some photos at some stage, since Cambridge is a rather pretty and historical place. For those not in the loop, I've accepted the job and will be moving there indefinitely in January.

However, this trip is the next TopCoder tournament, the TCCC 2007 in Disneyworld. So far I'm still sitting in Cape Town, because my flight to Joburg has been delayed an hour. It should be an interesting time in Joburg because I'll have very little time to make the connection, and getting from domestic to international requires negotiating a maze where all the signposts are lies.

More to following, but probably not from Joburg...