14 June 2009

Up, Up, and...Away I go to Stand in Line for the Bus

After a few laborious days of landscaping in Wisconsin (with help from Zoe of course), the day of departure finally arrived. What a glorious day...shinning sun, relaxing breakfast, casual last minute packing, delicious lakeside lunch with Emily, minimal traffic...things could not be better. After enjoying some of Alterra's finest, Emily chauffeured me over to Mitchell International Airport. With nearly a full two hours prior to departure, we found a primo parking spot and leisurely strolled into the terminal.Milwaukee's airport is great for a number of reasons, but the low volume of travelers is a tremendous perk. Lines tend to be short and move swiftly. In fact, I was able to walk directly to the front of the line. Little did I know that on this day, the line was so short (nonexistent in fact) because MKE-ORD flights were cancelled due to heavy inbound ORD air traffic (I was to learn later that low lying cloud cover in Chicago was partially to blame for slowing inbound aircraft, thereby increasing traffic density).
Much to my chagrin, there were no other flight options to Chicago. Considering that the next stage of my flight departed Chicago at 6:22pm CDT, there was some concern about timely arrival at O'Hare. Moreover, Chicago's notorious rush hour (given the 5+ hours of ridiculously heavy traffic, the term "hour" is somewhat of a misnomer) was to begin around 3:30pm. Not wanting to subject my sister to the perilous driving conditions of the Kennedy Expressway, my only option was the MKE-ORD coach bus, departing from outside the baggage claim area in 7 minutes. Long story short, Emily and I lugged my bags up the stairs, across the second floor, down the escalator, and outside to the bus stop. All with time to spare.

So, four stops and not too much crawling traffic (which, I am happy to report, road construction on I-94 is apparently 50% complete [considering that Illinois has been working on I-94 for the better portion of my life, this is huge news]) later I arrived at O'Hare. Amazingly, the Lufthansa desk at ORD was as barren as the United desk at MKE. Thankfully, flights to Frankfurt were not canceled. However, my quick movements through the serpentine Lufthansa check-in line were all for naught. Apparently Lufthansa flight number 9151 was being operated by partner United Airlines. As you might expect, the United check-in line did not move quite as swiftly. After a tedious hour or so of half-steps through the line, I finally arrived at the automated check-in kiosk. The kiosk kindly informed me that this flight was being operated by Lufthansa. Blindly trusting the computer, I hoofed it back to Lufthansa where a German man informed me that the machine was mistaken. Go back to United and check in there. Back through the somewhat shortened line, back to the computer, same result. Eventually I flagged down an attendant and she somehow overruled the computer's binary logic, printed boarding passes, and checked my bag all the way to Kuwait City.

Before my final destination of Kuwait City (KWI) however, there were of course a few hours spend in the wonderful city (i.e. airport or flughafen) of Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) where:
custodial workers conduct their work via bicycle (fahrrad)Hermes resides comfortably beside Häagen-Dazs
and kaffee is a magnificent nectar of the gods (btw, i did not use the milk [milch (or coffee creamer [kaffeesahne])], but was overjoyed to see the always delicious Milram dairy products)