June 22, 2004

Austin – arrival

Alright, I’m now a bit sobered after crashing and passing out for 2 consecutive days. I guess my fatigue can be called a jet lag – although I claimed that I’m not suffering from it.

That day, when I arrived at Dallas airport, I only had like 1 hour and 20 minutes to transit from an international arrival to a domestic flight. During this period, I had to go through the immigration, to pick up my bags, to go through a series of mind boggling procedures and to check in my bags again. And all that location was segregated from each other on different buildings… you know, old American airports. They’re always big and confusing.

When I was at the immigration, I was brought into a room. No I don’t think I look like a terrorist but, somehow, I was ‘required’ to take an oath and register a series of information about myself – like where do I live, what’s my father’s name… have I ever killed someone… things like that. I was kind of surprised myself as the few Japanese guys before me that looked like mutated insects didn’t have to go through all that. So, I think this must be the capital M thing about our country. (hint: a religion)

So, by the time I completed all the procedures with a computer illiterate immigration officer (which I had to teach him some shortcut keys to cut down the time), I was left with only like 10 minutes to rush for the flight… and the journey to the next terminal alone took me 5 minutes with a bus, had to checkout and check in my bags at the same time and perform a few hundred meters worth of running. Did I make it? Hell no. It was impossible. The big queue at the security check point alone, where everyone was required to take out their notebooks… remove the shoes… etc would have taken more than 10 minutes.

But I got myself onto another flight alright – which was located on the other side of the airport. And I had to travel all the way back to where it began. This time, luckily, I was not required to go through any more security checks. No they don’t perform strip search on anybody. That’s a myth. I think.

Arrived at Austin at about 1pm. Had to locate for my bags as I had them checked in through the earlier flight that I missed. After spending like 20 minutes doing that, I finally located my bags and proceeded to the rent-a-car counter.

Got myself a Camry, with a GPS navigation device called Never Get Lost (or something like that). To operate the thing, all that was required to do is key in any location, and that sucker will direct me to the destination… which at my first impression, was pretty cool. But I was so wrong. That hotel that I made a reservation with? Actually has 3 branches in Austin. The Never Get Lost doohickey got me to the 2 other locations except the correct one. It wasn’t really that 100% effective. I eventually had to get a map from a blond chick at the wrong hotel and managed to get myself to the correct hotel on my own

Upon arrival at the hotel, I tested out the free broadband out and crashed not long after that, slept until the next morning.

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