Finally here…

Okay, so I should have known better to write early on how good the trip was going… After the flight out of BWI to JFK, it pretty much went straight downhill for the rest of a very, very long day… The flight from JFK to CDG (Paris) left over an hour late… and I was thinking at the time that my connecting flight to Belgrade would be close, since it was 1.5 hours after we landed… It was a nice plane (Airbus 380, two levels, largest plane that I was ever on…) and the seats were plenty big enough, but the individual to my left had breath that would peel off paint, and the guy on my right obviously wasn’t used to bathing properly or at the least, covering it up… (europeans and our version of hygiene don’t seem to go hand in hand…) So the 9 hour flight was tolerable (barely…) but got even worse as we were approaching Paris, and it became apparent that I was going to miss the flight to Belgrade… Then the fun really started…

After about a half hour with a Air France desk lady, I had a flight booked to Zurich that was leaving in about 5 hours… so then she tells me that the train to the terminal that I have to go to was out, so I have to take a long walk to the other side of the airport, go out of customs (another half hour wasted there..) and then back on a train to virtually the same place that I was previously… At least I had plenty of time to waste, but I wasn’t thinking how testy I would be getting after having been traveling for about 18 hours, and only a few hours of sleep on the plane…

So I made the trek (which took about 1.5 hours to do almost nothing…) and then set in the terminal waiting for the plane… got a few minutes here and there of sleep, but not much since I was pretty paranoid at that point about not missing my next flight… Flight to Zurich left on time, and got in on time… Nicest airport I have ever seen… I got a very nice lunch (food was better than any airport also…) and then waited for the flight to Belgrade… It left on time and other than being in an ancient 737 that was all beat up, the flight went well and we landed in Belgrade around 9 or so… Then I sat around waiting for luggage (met a nice lady that was waiting for her luggage also… and it turned out that she had been on the exact same flights as I had been on, from JFK to Belgrade… poor girl…) which of course never came, and then just got some of the local Serbian currency (100 to 1, but all different sized bills like Euros…) and got a cab… Should have remembered where the other guys mentioned to pick up a “legit” cab, since I got a gypsy, who hosed me for about 2x the fare… but I really didn’t care much, since now I had been traveling through airports for the last 30 hours on little sleep… But he did get me to the hotel okay, and I got checked in… After freaking out when the air was not working in the room (they did get it working pretty quickly…) I went downstairs waiting for the room to cool off… Met the other guys in the lobby and watched a bit of the Olympics and talked a bit, and then off to bed…

This morning when I got up I went down and ate a little for breakfast, but then went back and slept for a few more hours before getting ready and taking a cab over to the hall for the first day of the Dorcal Cup… Just so happens that even the locals are saying that this is the hottest it has been this summer, and it is about 100 outside today… and a few degrees higher than that inside… So I guess for the rest of the week, it’s resigning yourself to just be sweaty all the time… good thing that I brought a handkerchief to wipe my face off and keep my hands dry…

I did get to meet Nick Aikman today, and we had a nice conversation about cutting balsa and things indoor… The guys are all flying, and I’ll compile a list of times and get them posted somewhere… It is fun seeing all of the guys from the other countries that I have either heard about or emailed over the years…

It’s going to be a long and hot, but fun week…

JH