Sunday, May 18, 2014

How To Minnesota: Part One, De Plane

As a preface to my How To Minnesota series, let me assure you I do not know how to do Minnesota.  There are reportedly 10,000 lakes in Minnesota, and I didn't visit any of them.  Not one single lake.  From the souvenir shops I can tell there should be some wildlife as well:  bears, moose, ducks, etc.  I not only did not observe any wildlife, I am very confident I was never in the neighborhood of wildlife.  Clearly I did Minnesota wrong, and I've told Mark we'll have to go back and make it a whole other trip to visit lakes and observe wildlife.  This trip just is what it is, and we had lots of fun, and I learned a lot about things which are not lakes or wildlife.

At the Alaska gate.

But first, there's the airplane.  A few thoughts about travel by plane.  The last time I flew, you left your shoes on, and you put your undeveloped rolls of film (and usually your whole camera) in a little bin that doesn't go through the x-ray.  Times have changed, but we got through security without incident, except my grumpiness upon understanding that once you get through security, you can't leave except on your plane, unless you'd like to go through the soul-sucking process of security again.  Mark tried to tell me, but I didn't comprehend what he was saying until we got through security, we had tons of time to kill, and we were stuck.  I was just so anxious about getting through security, I wanted to get it over with!  Poor Mark.

Lucky for us, there's some fun stuff at the airport now:

Just hipsters.  Being hip.

For example, Sub Pop!  The destination record store!  Where I promptly bought postcards, etc. and Mark found an album to buy on our way home.  I brought my Stella & Dot Orange & Purple Elephant print Getaway as a carry-on, and set it down to look at something.  When I glanced down to pick it up, the shoulder strap was out.  I had left it tucked in!  And zipped up!  What's happening?!?  False alarm, the lady next to me had the same bag, and neither of us had noticed.  Small world!  And shockingly unobservant of me!  She works for Stella & Dot, and I sell it, so no surprise we'd both bring that bag -- just funny to be occupying the same space.  

We had beers at Alaska Lodge to cheer me up about being stuck at the airport.  The beer selection is extremely small.  Miniscule.  Not what we were expecting at all.  And the service was quite slow, especially for an airport, where people might be in a hurry.  Not surprising at all I guess, after readings this.  Yikes!

But then you get on the plane, and you're on your way so who cares about all that.  Some thoughts about taking pictures out of plane windows.  I'm thinking when someone gets a really fantastic shot, they're using a real camera so they can focus past the dirt on the window, and then they're extremely lucky on top of that.  Taking pictures out of the plane window was so hard!  But I didn't let that deter me, and I took a million.

The printing on the wing indicates it is not a "step".  Duh.  It's a wing.  And don't step there.
I don't know why, that struck me as so funny!

That's the whole flight from Seattle to Minneapolis!  It went really quickly in hindsight.  In the moment, at times I felt I was facing eternity.

Optimistic travelers.

Liquid bribes for good behavior.

How Mark passes time.  Lucky!

Any time I wasn't looking, Mark tightened my seatbelt -- I played a little fast and loose with correct seatbelt wearing in favor of finding any possible way to make my fidgety legs comfortable.

Still happy!  Dos cervezas had something to do with that.

My legroom.  My legs are only thislong, I can't even imagine how uncomfortable coach is for someone who's regular-sized.
Next up, the rental car and off to the hotel!  Picking up the rental car was cool, because they just tell you where it's parked, you walk up to it, your name is on the readerboard above it, you get in and the key's right there.  Easy peasy!  Our car only had three miles on it -- fun!

And the hotel.  I really liked this place.  Super friendly staff, always clean, super functional and very pretty room, convenient location and on, and on, and on.  I liked how it was decorated, too so I took lots of pics.  Prior to unpacking and making it look messy!

Living room/office.

That's a full kitchen.  Complete with dishes!

Another TV!

A couple more thoughts about the hotel.  I shamelessly take every toiletry not nailed down when I stay at hotels, and housekeeping replaced our toiletries even if I only moved them to the other side of the counter, and clearly hadn't used them.  Thoughtful!  

Mark wanted a quiet room, so we chose the 6th floor, which made for lots of waiting for the elevator (I took the stairs once, and deeply regretted it).  But!  They had the most amazing elevator lobby music -- every time it was playing the perfect 80's rock classic.  I could have hung out at the elevator all day.

We travel kind of a lot, and have our assigned tasks when traveling.  It's Mark's job to pack the toothbrushes after we brush our teeth in the morning.  As luck would have it, Mark needed a new toothbrush the night before our trip.  I handed over the new toothbrush, Mark threw it in the bag, in the morning we both use our old toothbrushes, and my toothbrush never gets in the bag...  Obviously, now I need to buy a new toothbrush on our trip, I spend days at the mall, there's a store on the first floor of the hotel, but I just can't bring myself to buy a new toothbrush!  I didn't come all the way to Minnesota to buy a toothbrush.  So we shared for a week -- I think we discussed it every day, but never really felt compelled to solve that problem.  Don't judge.

And, something a little different about Minnesota -- no recycling in the hotel room.  I know we both had a moment of considering saving all our recycling, and...  what?  Bring it home?  On the plane?  Check a bag of recycling?  That's how ingrained it is here.  Obviously, we can't put bottles and paper and cans in the garbage.  Or can we?  As it turns out, we did.  It felt really weird.  I have a hope that people who work at the dump sort it and recycle it after the fact, but I don't want to research it, because if I find out that isn't the case, it'll be really discouraging.

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