Travel Diary – Getting to Seattle (Part 2)

So its a little after 6am UTC+1 as we touch down in Paris, the city of love and classical romance. It was a pleasure to finally be off the plane as I was seated next to this really big dude that managed to encroach on the personal space of both me and the dude on the other side of him. He also took the cake for wearing his team colours as he was dressed from head to foot in ANC party colours. If he wasn’t taking up my sleeping space then he spent the rest of the time waxing lyrical about how he has a US tertiary education and that the whites just don’t get the whole affirmative action thing and why its so good for the country. Also something about the ANC just not explaining it all properly. At least he was flying economy not business class!

The Charles de Gaulle airport has changed considerably since my last transit in 2001. Its odd, I’ve flown through Paris about 29 times now and not once have I had time or a visa to visit the Eiffel Tower and see the rest of the city. I have been outside the airport but that was on a temporary visa that was arranged for me and my colleagues when our Air France flight from Paris to Johannesburg was delayed 12 hours due to a technical fault. So alas I only got to see the inside of the Hilton at the airport.

One thing I found really impressive in CDG airport was the laptop power jacks and tables outside the boarding gates. Coupled with fast wireless Internet access at 10 Euros an hour made the 4 hour long wait between flights a bit more pleasant. To top it off, they even have these really comfy chair type beds littered around the terminal which are surprisingly comfortable when you have a while to wait for your next flight. Quite a few people were actually catching a few minutes of sleep – as a South African I’d be too afraid of my hand luggage getting nicked from next to me to be able to fall asleep. For the life of me I can’t seem to find a photo of them on the Internet but I’ll be sure to take a photo on my way back through next week.

The flight from Paris to Seattle was pleasant even though it was a daytime flight. I left at 10h30 Paris time and got to Seattle the same day at 11h55 Seattle time. Very odd as I think I had 5 meals on Friday and I even skipped supper in Seattle. Its odd but every flight I’ve had to Seattle I’ve always sat next to an MVP. Yeah last year it was a fellow Xbox MVP and this year it was a French Office Groove MVP.

Landing in Seattle I was quite surprised to see sunshine as the weather forecast predicted wet weather. Immigration was an absolute dream this time as there were practically no queues and the officers on duty were extremely friendly and pleasant to deal with. Customs followed suit and the one dude even asked me if I had biltong on me. LOL.

As the 2009 Global MVP Summit only technically starts on Sunday the 1st of March I decided to book myself into the cheaper 3 star Sixth Avenue Inn in downtown Seattle for the first two nights. I must say its quite comfortable for overnight stay but I wouldn’t stay here unless I was trying to save some money. Everything is acceptable except for the bloody shower. I’m a person who likes to shower and this shower just doesn’t cut it. At least it has free high-speed Internet access although I’ve been hooking onto the Westin Hotel over the roads wireless network as well.

Here are a few photos of the Sixth Avenue Inn:

Sixth Avenue Inn sign from my room Sixth Avenue Inn room View of the Westin Hotel from my window Sixth Avenue Inn view at night

Sixth Avenue Inn wired Westin Hotel wireless
Sixth Avenue Inn wired connection. Westin Hotel wireless network I’ve been testing.