12.32pm, Sunday, 18th April, Gate E4, Chicago O’Hare Airport, Illinois, USA
Back on the air, caught the shuttle over to the “little plane” section of O’Hare, had lunch (another mesquite chicken salad at Chili’s), and watched an episode of “Castle” that I’d missed.
Now that last bit is not as easy as you might think!
It reflects the how seriously I have advanced in the geeky gadget brigade to achieve that sort of thing.
First up, I investigated what a “hot spot” is. I always thought it was some sort of a bar where you could be sure of picking up … but no, it’s where one wi fi provider has exclusive access to the computer space and charges big money for it. But I found out – by asking lots of questions and being a genuinely nice traveller – that my frequent flyer card with Singapore Airlines gets you in to the United Airlines waiting lounges. These are very basic – especially when you compare them to the palatial Qantas Club Lounges at home – but they’re there. Now first-class passengers can get a free 24-hour access pass to that wi fi hotspot in the lounge, and one of those fell into my hands today. Just lucky, as I certainly haven’t ever experienced the giddy heights of first class.
Then, with the wi fi access, you’re halfway there. You need to have special earplugs for your computer so you don’t annoy other folks in the area. There’s another technical advance – I’ve never had a set of those before.
I know it’s hard to believe, but not everyone wants to see – and hear – our boy Nathan in episodes of “Castle” over and over. Although I was talking to Steph, the owner of the Blue Plate group, at the baseball the other day, and she found a VERY interesting film clip via her iPhone of our boy in the role of Captain Mal in “Firefly” and bookmarked it for a lot of future reference. The episode is called “Trash”, should anyone be interested.
Now I feel that there is another level that i can also move to. I think I need an iPhone and several of those really interesting “apps” that go on there. Watch out, a technical monster has been created! (I have more to come, but need to completely master it before I reveal what other technical area I am currently moving into at a great pace.)
So now I can catch up the rest of my “what was going to go close as a pretty perfect day” until a crook tummy felled me in my tracks …
I’ve taken my photos of Lee’s and wandered back to Target Field just as they open the gates (two hours before game time – I reckon you always have to be there for the first pitch!), and I wander down to the front row fence just along from the Twins dugout, where a pitcher is warming up. It’s one of the Twins’ starting aces, Francisco Liriano. I have my sharpie (texta) and a Twins pennant to add to the cllection in the hallway at home, and I park myself in a seat to soak up this beautiful park on an equally beautiful day that had started so well. And wouldn’t you know it, Liriano overthrows the trainer and the ball comes skittering into the stand, three bounces and into my hands. Folks fall over themselves to catch a ball in a game, but I throw it back so they can keep warming up. These official game balls at the Twins home games are stamped with “2010 the inaugural season”. You could have knocked me over when they came over after warming up and gave me the ball back! How neat is that.
Then as the other pitchers went back to the dugout, two of them signed autographs. Here’s Carl Pavano’s (starting pitcher who won a World Series with the Florida Marlins) autograph on the ball, and Matt Gurrier’s (relief pitcher who pitched a scoreless 8th inning that same day) autograph on the pennant. Can’t do much better than that – great souvenir of a magic moment in Minneapolis. Got down to business against the Kansas City Royals, and all of a sudden, the nasty bug struck! No detail required, but I didn’t leave the bathroom for some considerable time, and it was the safest thing to go back to my hotel room, watch the rest of the game on TV, and drink lots of flat lemonade. I missed out on a big night out in the Twin Cities, but seeing as I was in bed by 7.30pm, that’s probably why I’m travelling reasonably well now – after getting up at 4.30am to return the rental car at 5.30am and get booked in, as my flight had shifted to 7.40am from 8.55am. Good thing I double checked!
So goodby for now, Minniapolis St Paul, you were really good to us, and I think you’re going to see a lot more of us!
***My predictions – (1) The Twins win the AL Central and advance to the playoffs against New York to determine who goes to the World Series from the AL. (2) Minnieapolis St Paul – being HQ to companies like 3M, Target and US Bank – mantains an even keel and continues to do well, recovering before a lot of other areas. (3) The Scribbler does well in the North as well as the West, after seeing the response as we introduced it to the World Class Wines team. (4) We do a fabulous trade and consumer event with WCW next trip – featuring Viognier, Cabernet Shiraz blends, and Grenache!!
I’m already missing you Minnie !
See ya later when we’re wrapped up in the big red maple leaf. O Canada, we’re on the way!