Woke up at 3:45AM. The outside weather was under hard rain. At least it is not snowing but the condition was so bad that I could soak myself in a minute. I took a quick shower then headed to downstairs to get going. As I expected, I was pretty much soaked while putting my bag into the trunk. I left the apartment around 4:30AM, stopped by at a mail drop off box before heading to the airport. The dark, windy and rainy condition forced me to drive with extreme caution. I could not drive fast and arrived at the Blue Deck after 5:00AM; a bit behind of schedule. Parked my car at 2d Row 15, and hitched a shuttle bus to the terminal. The airport was busy and I finally got my bag taken care of at 5:30AM, which is the time the boarding began. I went through the security check quick, hurried toward the gate.
The boarding was already started as I got to the gate. When I passed the entrance, I was stopped and told there seems to be a mistake on my seat assignments. Oops. I only found out that I was upgraded to a first class seat. Inside of the cabin, I found that the guy who sat next to me is a gadget crazy. I thought having Nintendo DS and iPod touch in my bag was enough, he had Microsoft Zune and Apple iPhone. He kept playing with them all the time, even during the takeoff and landing...
AA1335 at DTW, dark and rainy...
This is not my first time flying in first class, but having the breakfast served was the first time. I have to thank for the person who bump me to the forward cabin. Hahaha. Omelet and cheese, and some fruits were served, with unlimited orange juice refill. I was pretty sleepy but I am glad I could eat the breakfast (for free)... When the plane landed in DFW, the sun was just coming up on the horizon.
Many planes getting deiced before heading out AA471 at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
While I was walking toward the connecting gate. I saw many planes getting deiced, as well as one of the planes was getting a nose wheel replaced. Arriving to the new gate, it was nothing bad but I saw awfully a lot of names on standby list. I am guessing those 10 people wearing Army uniforms want to go home. So I volunteered to give up my seat. Later I was told there is still room for the flight so I was on board anyways. I missed a $300 travel voucher... I got onboard without a boarding pass because they were in hurry. The plane finished quick preparation and headed out. I was just reading some magazines...
Arrived in Wichita, which was snow covered
I sat next to brothers from Arizona, spending their Christmas break in Wichita. They wanted to know about the Japanese car magazine I was reading. So, a small Japanese 101 class was in session. They knew some nasty Japanese so I had to explain the meaning for those words (I am not going to tell what words they knew...). After a short flight, finally arrived in Wichita. The city is totally snowed up. I guess I have not seen the city in snow covered for a long time. The plane landed still snow covered runway, used a lot of distance to stop. The jet way must have been extended so there was an extra turn to take before getting off but once I got inside of the terminal, very much all the stuffs came back to me. I walked toward the exit to get my bag, and saw a bit of changes, there is an retailer added to next to a sports bar, and there are more chairs for laptop stations.
I began to understand what's going on in here. There seems to be a bad snow storm yesterday (Saturday), they had almost zero visibility so many flights were cancelled. Today, because of the catch up, the airport was full of people and delayed baggage. There are two carousels in this airport, and about four flights worth of people waiting, making them going back and forth between those two. I had to call my friend who just got to the airport to pick me up that I was not sure when I get to get out. There was a couple of flights needed to have the baggage taken care of, and our bags come out around 2:00PM.
So many (frustrated) travelers waiting for the bags
I finally got my bags and walked out from the building, saw many people also waiting for someone to pick up. My friend got a brand new VW GTI. It was pretty nice. We drove to the east side, and had lunch at Yen Ching at Rock Rd and Central. I have seen some changes around on the way. We ordered a couple of dishes and enjoyed the catch up talk. I have not seen him for more than 3 years. Stopped by at his apartment, which was in the same complex as last time he stayed, and checked out a movie on DVD.
Aftermath of snow storm, still causing many wrecks...
After arriving back to the airport, I rented a car. Drove to the house I used to stay when I was a student. I get to eat with the family just like old days. The gifts I got for them was a bottle of ice wine, and a set of goodies... Chat with them until 1:00AM, going to bed.
I woke up at 8:45AM, stretched my body, took shower, talked with family members a while. Left the house around 9:45AM, picked up my friend at his apartment by 10:00AM.
Driving on freeway where snow fell a couple of days ago.
Drove down to Kansas Turnpike entrance at Kellogg. Kept driving to the north and arrived at Topeka exit at 11:48AM (Toll: $5.00), stopped by an apartment to pick up another friend. He was also renting a car and it has a Sync so we tried to work it out. It did not go well and the car did not have the owner's manual so I had no clue. Anyways, we drove up to Lawrence to meet to other friends. The first location agreed to meet was Milton's, but the location was closed. We walked around and decided to eat at Wa Japanese Restaurant.
Lawrence Downtown Street, still see some snows
Lunch at Wa Restaurant
After the lunch, we went to our friend's house for a short chat. It's time for us to head back to Wichita...
One of our friend took us back to Topeka, had another short chat at his apartment, and I gave him Japanese Sake and some instant noodles I got from a grocery store in Detroit. Later we went to Starbucks coffee which was newly opened here. The inside of store was crowded so we went outside. I wish I had my jacket on but chat and I tried my iPod but Wifi did not allow me to connect to the net. I need to get more information on this. We headed back to Wichita. The sky and road was clear with very few traffic. I get to see the sunset while driving. Coming back to Wichita after dark around 6:00PM.
Driving back to Wichita
I still had time before the church service so drove up to a Spangles restaurant on 21st St and Woodlawn, and had a dinner with my friend. The place has not been changed but the sign for menu looked different and they use a form cup, instead of paper one (I think this is not good for environment...)
Spangles's famous 1/3lb burger (I have to have this!)
Drove to east on 21st St to Andover and headed to south. I met up with friends and had good time at church. The pastor was talking about setting high expectation may not be the truth, describing everything going well as "Hallmark Christmas" and need to give a thought about the situation when Jesus was born. After the service, took some pictures together, drive to friend's house and helped their gift openings. Before midnight, we covered Polar Express. Coming home, hit the bed....
Woke up at 8:00AM, took care of computer issues. I have determined they are not looking good. I wish I had more time to prepare for today... The family members began opening up the gifts. I have received tons of those. Sweat shirt, a cap, running shorts, shirt and water(?!). I appreciated they care about me and I am hoping I can give them back soon... Before we all finish, I had to go see another friends...
I drove up on Kellogg to the east, hoping to turn on left on Rock Rd. I just realized that making left turn at the intersection is prohibited. I turned right and went to south a bit, made a turn to go to a street near by, and headed back to the north. I arrived Kwan Court, they were open on Christmas Day. I was amazed. The friends I met wanted to come visit me over the last fall but the schedule was changed and we had to postpone it. They were doing farming and told me that crops this year, especially corn was good but the fuel, seeds cost increases are hurting them. People says turning corns to ethanol will help farming but I think it will hurt more than help. Let's see what's gonna happen.
After the lunch, I went to see another friend nearby WSU. She was one of patrons from my campus job and good to know she is doing fine. I get to know about some others she hang out with. Some senior citizens with time and being active are pretty cool...
I tried to fix the PCs at the house but very much nothing works... I gave up and headed to Rose Hill to see the family's relatives. The outside was already dark so I had the hard time finding the street. I was able to get there with relatively less problem. I was able to join their unwraping the presents, a part of dinner and playing games. We all stayed until 1:00AM, two of the kids had to go home early so I drove back to take them home. I hit the bed without know anything about some event happened just outside of the house.
I woke up at 6:00AM, earlier than anybody else in the family. Of course I am sleepy too, but I wanted to get some solution on the PC issues before I go home. I stretched my body, headed outside around 7:30AM. I went to Best Buy, Circuit City, Office Max and Office Depot to see if there is any cheap, reliable desktop PC I could donate to the family. Unfortunately, they shows stuffs on display and many of them are not for sales. Best Buy was able to sell it to me but require reconditioning and no box. I was a bit frustrated about my bad luck. I called my friend who wanted to hang out, we met around 11:00AM, drove around the town and decided to check out the CompUSA which was on closing sale, maybe I can find a good deal here.
CompUSA at Rock and 29th is closing.
The cheapest one I could find was Compaq SR5210NX. It has only Intel Celeron Chip running at 1.6GHz with 1GB of memory. I think it is enough running Windows Vista and Microsoft Office... I have to set it up before I go home. We continue driving around, went to Pier One Import and World Market to check out some expensive but good stuffs.
Relocated Sumo restaurant. The place where they had Sumo before is now Ichiban...
I don't think this is Una Ten Don... Where is the bowl???
I went to check out relocated Sumo restaurant. The previous one was at Rock Rd but now it's in near Greenwich. The food was more like authentic but now the food here at this location was more like contemporary Americanized Japanese food. I did not like it. I won't recommend unless they still can offer something more traditional.
I think I always get busy right before I can go to the airport. I helped them setting up the PC so it is connected to the internet, made accounts for all the family members. I needed to get going to I said goodbye to them, driving back to the airport, dropped off the car and headed to the counter. While waiting for the boarding, I had plenty of time so I called a couple of friends.
AA1951 at the gate
The boarding started and I was able to get on board. The flight attendant was rushing the passengers, then I realized what's going. There was an airplane waiting at far distance, since we have only one gate, we have to share...
Getting ready to take off
Plane taxied down to the south end of a runway. There is another one just trailing our plane.
After Sunset, bright horizon which can be seen above the cloud
Plane tookoff, break through the low cloud, I still get to see some light over the horizon.
Arrived at DFW (Taking off in the left, three waiting for landing)
Plane landed to DFW. The airport is so busy and we did not get to the gate for a while.
I have never thought going back to home was difficult. I already know that the plane to DTW will be late, with departure time of 8:45PM, originally at 8:00PM. I moved from Terminal D to A for the gate. The boarding began as normal, and after the door was shut, the captain announced there are some problem with deicing system, it took them about 30 minutes to determine if it is okay to go or not. The result was NG so everybody had to disembark once to get the new plane. We moved to Gate C25 but soon redirected to C20. The new departure time was announced as 10:00PM then changed to 10:50PM. With many people complaining, I saw captain talking with a ground crew. It came out that the plane also had issue, this time in navigation system so the plane could not be used. Now, we are all back to Terminal A. The plane this time was okay.
AA1488 (The third one...)
I picked up my bag and got a ride in a shuttle bus to the parking. The location should have been 2d Row 15 but the guy dropped me off at 3d Row 15, so I had to find a way to walk around to get my car. (First I thought my car got stolen!) My car started with no problem, and drove back in foggy night. There weren't many cars but I had to be careful due to the reduced visibility. Coming home, organized my stuffs and hit the bed around 4:00AM. I think I am going to have bad day tomorrow...
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