Saturday, April 18, 2009

Heading to the Civilized West

Here we go to Denver, to see Darryn and the AACR's annual meeting. Even on the flight from Clermont, there are other AACR-goers. On the leg from Paris to Newark we pick up several more. Cancer researchers everywhere!
In my poster tube there are two posters, mine and a colleague's. I have a lame old poster tube, just grey plastic with orange stick-on ends. One of the ends got lost when Yannick checked the tube on his way back from San Diego last month, but I haven't had time to go find a proper poster tube, one with screw-on ends and a shoulder strap. In this small town there likely isn't one. So both ends are all taped up.
Since hauling a poster tube in my hand everywhere is a pain, and I've got hours to kill wandering around various airports (I always wander; I get my fill of sitting during the flights), a purse and a carry-on already, I take Yannick's example and check the stupid tube. It's happened to me before to set it down and wander off without it.
It's nice to be hands-free! Now just to pick up my bag and my tube here in Newark to get through customs.
Um, got the bag.
Yep, the bag came through just fine. Waiting on the poster tube.
The carusel is empty. The Paris crowd has all moved on. London and Caracas are coming in.
How many times has this happened? Going to France from California, twice or thrice. Arriving in Atlanta. Arriving in San Diego. This is number five, at least. Happily, I've never had luggage permanently disappear. I've had a jar of sweet pickle relish come open. I've had, after a bomb threat that made them check every bag, a lipstick left open by the security team to color my new suit rather copiously. I've had bags so meanly handled that every cd case was cracked, and once a hardcover book that looked like it had been dragged behind the plane.
I'm confident they'll get it to me in Denver. My poster session isn't until Tuesday; I may not even miss it. And if they don't, well, better the posters than my clothes. I'm sure the AACR will understand.
In Denver, they're having a bit of a problem. You'd think they'd be used to snow here, but four inches have thrown them into chaos. Our plane sits on the tarmac for half an hour just waiting for a gate, although there are several unoccupied gates visible. Insufficient ground crew, apparently. Once inside, I try to make efficient use of my time, by reporting the loss of my poster tube without waiting for our flight's baggage service to end. Nothing doing. I'm told it's quite common for stray bags to be followed along on the right connections even if it didn't show up for me at customs. So instead of getting that paperwork out of the way while the nice ladies are otherwise idle, I have to wait around, and come back later when they've got a line full of disgruntled customers all missing their toothbrushes and good suits.
The snow has thrown something of a wrench into ground transportation, but the roads aren't that bad and it wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the 17,000 people arriving for the AACR. The shuttle drivers are naming their price and getting it, the taxi line is more than an hour's wait. Not really being dressed for snow, I make a shuttle reservation at one of the inside counters, with a harassed woman who will, yes, guarantee us transport into the city, but no, will not say when. Tonight. As soon as the vans make it back from their last round.
So fine. Understanding it'll be a while, I go find a comfortable seat and a glass of wine and take advantage of the airport's free wifi. I almost get too comfortable. The Blue Sky shuttle woman has been sending her clients over to this section of the airport, then gathering them up in groups of 11 to take them to the shuttle, which is not parked with the rest of the shuttles. But when she comes to get a group, you'd better leap up and follow or you won't be in the lucky eleven with a ride to town. Darn good thing this netbook is so light, I can carry it in one hand with all my bags slung over my shoulders, and save & shut down while walking rapidly across an airport! Couldn't have done that with a poster tube in one hand.
It's well past 11pm when I finally arrive at my hotel. It's so good to have a bed at last!


gégé said...

et ben pas facile tous ça il t'en ai arrivé des choses.
Bon courage a tu retrouvé tes bagages finalement ?

sciencegirl said...

ben, normale que je fais des histoires de mes histoires! Autrement, quel bof de blog... Pas encore de poster. A suivre.

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

Hasn't air travel become crazy lately?? Prince works for British Airways so we travel a good bit. Every time lines get longer and more and more delays. I too wander around the airport while waiting. I can't sit there waiting for my flight to be announced and I love to look around :)
I'm so in awe of you doing cancer research. I had a Stage II Melanoma removed from one of my glands about 6 weeks ago and am taking oral Chemo right now for 6 weeks.
Thank you for what you do. That'w awesome :)

Steady On
Reggie Girl