I made it! Not that I had any doubts, but 26 hours of travel time has a tendency to wear on me (just a touch). The whole class made it, in fact, without any major incidents. I got to the airport in Nashville around 4:10am only to discover that Continental does not open its counter until 4:30am. But my being an early bird worked in my favor as I was the second person in line and within ten minutes of the counter opening, there were twenty people waiting. I met Courtney and Lindsey, two fellow classmates, in line and we chaotically trekked through security. From Nashville we flew in a sauna plane to Houston. You may not believe this, but they do make sauna planes: they tend to be the little hopper planes that someone engineered to pump warm, sticky air into. That made the Houston airport seem like heaven; we could breathe!
We only had a few minutes in the Houston airport once we made it to our gate. I think the highlight of the whole day was the iPod vending machine. No joke! Just swipe you card, type in your choice, and you could get any color iPod nano, maybe some earbuds, or just iPod cases and other accessories. Regardless of your choice, you freakin’ get an iPod from a machine! I think I am still tripping about that. From Houston we boarded our plane to Honolulu. That was only an eight-hour flight. We had a few minutes in Honolulu before we boarded our final plane to Guam. That flight was also only eight hours.
It is fun traveling with a group of people who have no idea about my dislike of germs. I am holding out, though. Let’s see how long it takes them to figure out that I am actually neurotic about a series of things (Bethany has already learned that I prefer to eat my m&ms two at a time, preferably two of the same color and Chad has learned that I love to airplane dance in my seat).
I forgot what 80 degrees with humidity feels like at nighttime. On the planes, I had been breathing so much recycled air that all I wanted to do was take a deep breath of outside air. Since we landed around sunset, I’ve only got to see limited island and beach-ness. Guam at night looks like a combination of LA, what I remember of Hawaii, and Japan: lots of neon lights and American stores to draw Japanese tourists.
When we got to the hotel we had a “Chamorro Welcome.” In fact, we had kids singing to us, folks adorning us with shell necklaces while offering us juices to our hearts content. Juggling a camera, my windbreaker, two carry-ons while trying to be gracious as I am assaulted with welcomes was a little overwhelming. But the kids put on a good show (see the video).
Plane dancing only helps so much with 18 hours of in-flight time. So we went out to the ocean that is within several yards of your hotel and swam in the moonlight. It may have been a long day, but it has been a good one.