Today I made a conscious decision of observing the entire experience of my visit to Pittsburgh. I intentionally did so because somehow I felt that I am leaving out on something during my travel experiences. I find my journey a tiring and an unpleasant experience rather than finding the enjoyable moments in it. I made constant notes during my trip whenever I got time to make sure I do not miss any points. Here is how it went:
I was going on a company visit to CMU hence made the necessary reservations of flight, hotel and transportation in advance. My US Airways flight was at 7:58 pm from Logan International airport of Boston. In the morning itself, I checked in and printed my boarding pass. I took printouts of all receipts and other necessary documents for my trip. I had already requested a colleague to drop me off at Logan Express from where I can get shuttle to the airport. At 5:00 pm we started from office, went to my apartment, I took my luggage and docked my car in my apartment parking lot. I was dropped at the shuttle service. I purchased a round trip ticket and boarded the next bus (there is a bus every 30 minutes). The operator of that bus carefully placed my luggage onto one of the compartments based on the airline which I was travelling. This bus starts from Framingham (place where I live) and goes directly to the airport without any stops in between. It stops at each terminal and the operator comes out and hands over your luggage to you. I find this very professional, personal and appealing feature of this shuttle service.
The first thing that I did after taking a seat in the bus was to check that I have my boarding pass and Drivers License necessary to board the flight. I don’t know but somehow I have this habit of checking on things after I get on to a vehicle instead of before that. After being satisfied, I relaxed a bit and was enjoying the soon to end summer of Boston. I picked up my phone and called a friend and happily started chatting. After 20 minutes talk our phone got disconnected and coincidentally my terminal B also arrived at the same time. I directly entered the security check and for the first time in my life it was complete empty. I had to ask the security officer if that check point was for some first class passengers only as it was so deserted; but to my surprise it was not. I reached my terminal at 6:00 pm with 2 hours to spare before my flight takes off. First thing that came to my mind was Starbucks, but I held on to that thought and went for a Panini at Sbarro. That was the only option apart from pizza so I went with it. The other restaurants in the food court were Legal sea food, McDonalds and Asian too (Sushi place). This has been my major qualm with the restaurants here, why doesn’t they serve some good vegetarian food? The ratio of non-vegetarian to vegetarian food has always been 9:1 at most places. Anyways, let’s move on otherwise I can go on and on and on regarding this issue.
After satisfying my appetite, I went for the ultimate, the Starbucks iced coffee. Enjoying my coffee, I booted up my laptop and started jotting down draft for this post. Its 6:48 pm and I am already feeling sleepy. I think I should keep aside this interesting blog for now and start working on some pending office work.
Ok, I am back and sitting idle at Pittsburgh airport waiting for my return flight to arrive. Let me recall what happened after I finished my dinner at Logan airport from where I left this post. After 15-20 minutes of working I packed my bags and headed on to my gate assuming that they will let us in 30 minutes before. Here again I was surprised when I went there, they had already started boarding. I took my seat and as a typical traveler, took out my book and started reading. A young Indian lady in her mid 30s accompanied me on the next seat. We had a long conversation throughout our flight which started by an ice-breaker by her “Isn’t the flight leaving early?” This is when I realized that the flight was departing 20 minutes early as all passengers were already on board. Luckily for me she was from Pittsburgh and pointed me to some interesting places to visit in Pittsburgh. She also pointed me to an Indian temple which is very famous in Pittsburgh. I wish I had visited those places. As the flight was afloat in the mid air, I kept my book aside and took out my laptop to continue my office work from where I had left it. After observing me for 15 minutes she jokingly commented “Are you writing a book?” I just laughed and explained what I do and what software engineer does. It was good to know a dentist taking so much interest in computers as she candidly accepted that all she knew about computers was to turn it on, do few clicks and turn it back off. She was very helpful and accompanied me till I got my shuttle at Pittsburgh airport. I wish all passengers were like her.
Super Shuttle took me to Holiday Inn resort where a cozy bed was awaiting my presence. I checked in and took a relaxing hot shower. I watched TV, surfed internet, updated my Facebook status 😉 and slept around midnight.
The morning was not very hectic as my work was to begin from noon. I woke up around 8:00 am and got ready by 10:00 am. Took the hotel’s complimentary shuttle service to the university center of CMU and I could already see a colleague of mine present there. We started setting up our booth, yes our booth, as we were there for recruiting at the career fair. It was all set before 11:00 am and we turn by turn went for breakfast and some beverages. The rush started to pour in just little before Noon and it continued from there on till the end. Entire hall was jam packed with engineering students. It was good to experience that even after sharing the hall with top guns such as Yahoo, IBM, Mozilla, Pepsi co. and many others our booth was constantly occupied. The most interesting experience that I had was of a student coming to me and saying “I am not looking for a job, but just wanted to tell you that MATLAB on a Mac is not performing as good as it does on a Windows”. It was so exciting to see a student’s concern and willingness to share his experience and help us improve our product. There were few students who were diehard fans of MATLAB and Simulink and it was so evident from their conversation. On the other hand there were students who had never heard of MATLAB but were all excited to find out more about it. Overall it was a good experience and a very fruitful one.
Finally a tiring day of non-stop standing and talking for 7-8 hours was over. I was physically so exhausted that I went to my room and ordered food from Pizza Hut for delivery. Enjoyed the P’Zone, surfed internet, watched some “Shaq’s challenge” show where Shaquille O’Neal challenged Michael Phelps in swimming. I slept at 11:00 pm.
Next morning I woke up at 5:30 am and was all set to check out at 6:20 am when my shuttle came in. Dozing in the shuttle I was dropped off at the airport. After the security check, I hunted for the final piece of my trip, a souvenir of Pittsburgh. It was still 2 hours before my flight was going to depart. After futile efforts of looking for Starbucks I tried some local coffee shop, but as I expected the coffee was pathetic. All you coffee lovers would understand how it feels without a coffee in the morning especially when you start your day at 5:00 am and have 2 long hours to pass without much to do. I just took a water bottle and sat down near a power outlet at my flight gate. Here I am completing blog with my experiences during this small but memorable trip.
I hope to get back around noon and go to work. One thing which this blog idea did was it never allowed me to get bored during my wait time at the airport and when I read this entire blog again I could recall those moments right in front of my eyes.
Do share the experience of reading this blog by leaving a comment to this post. It is the only way for me to improve.
Live 2 Eat, don’t Eat 2 Live!