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And so the journey began…

July 29, 2008

I’m sitting in the Martha’s Vineyard airport, yet again, waiting for a flight to take me to Boston where I will try to catch a flight to Atlanta. This is hopefully the end of a trip that I wasn’t sure was going to begin.

Friday I got up at 4:20, flew back from Providence, and did a Memphis round trip. On the way back from Memphis I had a proper celebrity on my flight. It was Robert Plant, lead singer of Led Zeppelin and famous solo artist. I did not recognize him by sight (there are very few singers I’d actually recognize by sight) but one of the rampers told us he was on the flight and from there he was easy to pick out. The British accent elped, plus the curly ponytail, and cool but not over the top jewelry. I never said anything to him indicating that I knew who he was. I always feel weird approaching celebrities. But I did chit chat with him a few times. He had a good sense of humor.

After we got back to Atlanta I, like the heartless flight attendant I am, dumped our wheelchair passenger off the plane so I could run over to the next gate, meet up with Charity, and try to make the flight to Portland, ME. They cleared me for the flight, but since I was going to have to wait several hours in Portland, and Charity didn’t get on, we decided to just wait in Atlanta together. This ended up being a good decision because we were waiting forever. There were about 5 more Boston flights and another Portland. I almost got on the next Portland without Charity, but once I got on the plane they realized someone couldn’t count and there wasn’t actually a seat available for me. Thanks to Charity’s refusal to give up and Adri’s willingness to pick us up in Boston whenever, we finally got on the last flight to Boston. At this point I had been in one airport or another for about 17 hours. I was seated between two quiet, friendly people, but it seemed that the rest of the plane was full of crying babies and obnoxious children. There was a girl sitting behind me, who was at least 10 years old, who sobbed and wailed because her mother’s reading light was bothering her. I was so tired I folded over on my stomach and slept for a while.

We finally got to BOston and in the car with Adri, Mo (Adri’s roommate), and Katya (Mo’s girlfriend) around 12:30 or so and set off for the great north. Amy and Shane had left Portland earlier to go set up the campsite and get ready for rafting the next day. We finally arrived in West Forks, ME around 5am. It was starting to get light already. We parked near some cabins and walked through misty, good-smelling woods to the field where the tents were. We were all in a tired daze and weren’t really sure which tents we were supposed to sleep in. Shane finally heard us and came out and told us where to sleep. Turns out, they had barely gotten back to the campsite. They had been across the street earlier in the evening and our rafting guide was attacked in a bar. Shane tried to intervene and got scuffed up as well. Black eyes and police reports ensued. Sounded like an exciting evening, but I’m glad I missed it. I finally fell asleep dreaming of the bird-like mosquitos that were hovering around my head and any piece of uncovered flesh and slept a few hours.

The actual rafting trip the following day made all of our pain and suffering up to this point completely worthwhile. We left the campsite around 10am and rode up to the top of the river. The day was perfect. The sky was blue with the occasional puffy white cloud and the sun was warm but not hot. As we got in the river and started through the rapids we found that the water was really nice (you all know how I love cold water). The river was rough enough to get your heart pounding, but not so rough that you thought you might actually die. Our guide was a regular New Englander who liked to yell and scream at us. His command for us to stop paddling was “good” which I have decided is the stupidest way of telling someone to stop. Sometimes it sounded like “ok, good, stop” other times it sounded like “good job, keep it up”. After we got through the rough stuff we went swimming for a while. The water was so clear you could see your feet down below you. I learned how to pull someone into the boat and took pleasure in feeling strong and powerful heaving people out of the water. We had left a cooler halfway along the river and ate lunch sitting on some rocks with our feet in the water. Our guide gave Charity some guiding lessons and before we knew it she was bossing us around as well (oh wait, she always does that… hehe). We had such a good time in the sun and the water. It was a wonderful day.

When we finally made it back to Portland that night Shane, Amy, Charity, and I decided since Charity had never been to Portland before we needed show her the town. After driving all the way from MA the night before the rest of the crew decided resting was more important (understandably). It was so nice to be able to go out in Portland at night without wearing a jacket and snow clothes. We went to a few places we’d been to before and ended up at a bar with a huge outdoor patio and a live band. The main draw, though, was the super size Jenga games they had. I think it’s a genius idea. People enjoy playing. People enjoy watching. It’s an easy way to keep people occupied for hours. While we were watching one of the games I recognized a pilot I’d flown with a few months ago who was there for the overnight. It was pretty bizarre that we happened to be in the same place at the same time considering how many pilots we have and how many bars there are in Portland. It was a good time. charity is the Jenga queen. We finally went home and crashed at Amy and Shane’s.

It is now time for my flight to Boston so I will have to tell about the rest of my journey later.

Currently reading : Her Last Death: A Memoir By Susanna Sonnenberg

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