after 30 minutes, maine had already become my second favorite state in the nation.
and hour and a half later, i have to confess that maybe it was a little overzealous, but it's been a long day of travel (and this is a seriously dang place). alarm went off at 4:44 a.m. after four hours of sleep. my sleep cycles seem to be about fours in length, because i recover much better if i sleep for four hours instead of 5. having the good fortune of a friend who works in salt lake early in the morning and who offered ride, mark drove me to the airport, eliminating the hassle of getting myself there (and avoiding a repeat of the vegas trip, where my sister kindly parked my car then forgot where in the long term parking lot she put it). the plane to jfk in nyc was full but big (and we considered staying on with it to barcelona).
we landed 45 minutes early, only to have to wait 30 minutes and then disembark through the rear of the plane onto what looked like a monorail on wheels (instead of on one rail). still, that's a net of 15 minutes early, and our plane was delayed for 90 minutes because the stewardess for our plane was on another plane that was delayed in portland, me, due to nasty weather (catch all that?) i used the time to find out that another part of our team had their flight rerouted to boston and had to drive up, to straighten out some misunderstandings from last tuesday's commercial, and to make sure that the lights and gear was picked up in portland- called the electrician to let him know it was ready, and he'd already done it; that's a good feeling.
once on the plane, the pilot announced it would be a bit of a wait to take off, about 40 minutes. 30 minutes later, he came on to say that we were behind all the international flights and it would be another... oh, 45 minutes. thankfully, the sole stewardess was very cool and the passengers were understanding. and we each got our choice of cookies or peanuts while we were waiting. i chose the cookies.
then dozed off to vivaldi.
ask my geographically astute sister informed me from the airport in new york city, maine in the pinetree state. that it is.
it's beautiful here. the air is moist and cool, the city's downtown is rich with new england heritage. the kid who picked us up in the hotel's shuttle was amiable and helpful, and, in addition to affirming my connotation of maine being the land of lighthouses and lobster, added blueberries and chickadees, declaring the best blueberry pancakes i will ever have. i tipped him well.
i was already in love with this place.
the rest of the hotel staff was equally friendly. the hotel is in the heart of the cultured city center (with cobblestone streets), and, though smaller, my room is a exquisite as the venetian in las vegas (but without the vegas part). whereas most hotels have a simple clock/radio from the earlier nineties (i don't thin the venetian was even that different), here i have a clock/radio with an ipod dock, playing new age spa sounds (or the main menu music on a wii) when i came to my room. and the downstairs lounge served excellent fish and chips.
forget barcelona; i want to stay here for a week.