(Dulles International, Washington DC, 13 Feb, about 6.30 am)
Such was the view when I arrived at Dulles (nothing French sounding here, it’s pronounced Dull-us) yesterday morning. There was little evidence of the snowstorm that I had been worrying about. I even had a smoke outside without a winter coat (checked through) and was amazed at how mild it was.
Neither did I really mind the prospect of having to be in the airport for the next 11 hours until my connecting flight. I would just locate the various smoking and wi-fi hotspots and drink coffee and read and write all day, do some browsing, maybe snooze a bit.
So I go through security and start looking for all my distractions. Signage wasn’t very clear on this, so I followed a couple of leads, took a couple of shuttle busses, walked a couple of kilometres. I’ll cut the long story short. Wi-fi? No. Smoking spots? Two “lounges” in the entire airport. Interesting shops? No. I couldn’t even enter a duty-free shop because I wasn’t in possession of an international boarding pass.
The rest is too dreary: walk sit smoke walk have another starbucks sit snooze walk to other smoking lounge walk sit smoke sore ass.
Then, as the hour of my salvation drew close, the weather got worse, flights started getting cancelled and of course I was in the same f**king boat as everyone else. I was cancelled. Except that everyone else hadn’t been travelling for 36 hours and everyone else had somewhere to go in the city and everyone else’s body clock wasn’t on midnight at 5 in the afternoon.
In short, I did not make it to Albuquerque. I spent my first night in some (non-smoking!) hotel in Washington. I did sleep well, perhaps helped on by a couple of Jacks on ice last night when my nightcap coincided happily with the local happy hour.
I am still here, and my first phonecall to Dulles to check on flights was promising. All is, as they say, good to go. We shall see.
postcript: We have seen. The flight is cancelled. I now have a provisional booking for 1pm, via Atlanta. Meaning I may get to final destination at 7pm this evening. In the meantime I have been downstairs and outside for a smoke, via the breakfast room to get some fruit on the way up. The night porter saw me and probably thinks I am wierd. It’s 4.30am. Lunch time.