Monika’s Musings

miscellaneous tidbits on marketing, advertising, and life in general

Day 1: Apple vs. Lufthansa and a small jeep

September3

Vesko crosses the Atlantic back and forth a couple of times a year for work. He has this great-sounding advice about dealing with time differences and the lack of jet-lag to prove it: while on the plane, you set your watch to the destination time and (this is the key) you keep looking at it. Eventually despite your body’s protests, your mind will catch up on the lie and start functioning on destination time.

Side note to the airlines: early flights should be banned! Businesses can and should afford the extra-night hotel fare, if you have an 8 o’clock. No one should be having a business matinee after having woken up at some ungodly hour to travel across borders. I’ve done it. While your brain should be processing complex rebranding strategies for example, it is stuck on iwanttosleepiwanttosleepiwanttosleep.

Anyways, we went to bed at around 1:30 cause of course we had absolutely not left packing to the last minute … and woke up sometime before 4. Or rather, Vesko woke up – I merely kinda got up and continued to on minimal body-and-brain functionality for the next, very confusing 24 hours.

We flew Sofia-Munich-Charlotte-Jacksonville. I did the whole setting the clock back as early as the Munich airport (very nice lounge area!!), and kept looking at the longest day of my life. Or at least in recent years.

Thankfully, the long flight was rather uneventful. Since we were travelling on the day when the clocks were set back (or forward? I never remember how it goes) in the US, at one point the rather mundane question “what time is it?” became very difficult to answer. The battle was between Apple Inc. and Lufthansa: my iPhone said it would be – let’s say – 5 o’clock in Charlotte when we land and the Lufthansa screen claimed it would be 4 PM.

Now we all know that Apple has had trouble when it comes to daylight savings time changes, but I was siding with them anyway. Vesko’s claim was that the Germans who are world-known for their punctuality and precision could not possibly be wrong. The answer made the difference between having a layover of an hour and fifteen minutes and one of fifteen minutes (and potentially missing our flight to Florida as we had to go through customs and what not in Charlotte).

I finally had to admit that one of the most reliable airline companies in the world could not miss something so important as time of arrival. We went through customs and security (a very quick and pleasant process) and started dragging our suitcases slowly in the direction of the gate. Something kept on bugging me, though, and I stopped the next uniform-wearing dude and asked what time he had. It took us a couple of seconds to process the answer, after which we looked at each other – eyes wide open all of a sudden, as if they were screaming: RUUUUN!

(Note to self: don’t do that anymore. Not in front of US officials at a US international airport. Seriously.)

Thankfully, either the Charlotte airport isn’t very big, or our gates weren’t too far apart and we made it a couple of minutes before boarding. We even found the time to sit down for a while at which point I took in my surroundings for the first time. I looked at Vesko and said, “I want to live here!!” “At the Charlotte airport?” he asked, rather surprised. I didn’t have the energy to explain – so I just nodded “Yeah!”

It was precisely half a lifetime ago that I was in the US for the very last time. And despite the grogginess, I couldn’t even begin to tell you how incredibly excited I was feeling about the 3 1/2 weeks ahead of us. Right there, at the Charlotte airport.

We had booked a car from the Jacksonville airport, so we headed directly to the car rental office. There we were met by the most smooth-talking salesman imaginable who made me feel just like I was in a movie (this would happen quite often over the next 23-4 days or so). He assured us that he wanted us to have the best possible experience with our car and wouldn’t we want, just for 10 bucks more a day to have a small, but very luxurious jeep? Vesko actually wasn’t crazy about driving a jeep, but guy totally sweet-talked us into it: it was a very compact car, but what it lacked in size (I guess he didn’t quite understand how this could possibly not be an advantage for us), it made up in luxury. Finally we agreed, got the keys, went to the parking lot and found ourselves staring at this 7-seater:

Lincoln-MKT

I vaguely remember the drive from Jacksonville to St. Augustine where we were going. I don’t really remember checking-in the hotel, but I know at one point I felt veery hungry. So we dropped the suitcases off, found the nearest pub and ordered a huge platter of the freshest seafood I have ever had (sadly, deep-fried). We barely said anything to each other during dinner/breakfast (?) because all the energy we could conjure up went to silently chewing. I don’t remember walking back to the hotel or going to bed. But knowing me, I must have been eager to go to sleep, so that I can wake up and begin the most amazing vacation ever.

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