Lotusphere 2006 - Bye-bye!
Almost no yellow backpacks show up in the Dolphins lobby and the Lotusphere WiFi-Network, which I was able to use in the 19th floor, was turned off at arounf ten am. Yes, in Friday morning, Lotusphere 2006 was officially over and I had to head back home. And to be honest, was looking forward to coming home to the family, restaurants without queues, etc.
Friday morning went by too fast. Packing all that stuff (t-shirts, posters, the Java book I won, souveniers) into my suitcase was a major untertaking but eventually I succeeded. After one more eggs&bacon breakfast at Tubbis, I jound my friends from notes.at and we split a cab to the airport. This had the benefit of a relaxed and spacious ride, as well as a custom-tailored arrival at the airport to fit our needs and the demands by US customs and immigration. Don’t get me wrong, Mears is great and cheap, but if you definately want to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours bevore depature without leaving 4 hours early, the cab is the better alternative.
Check-In was the usual joke. Lots of people in the queue, but still only two counters open, one staffed with a trainee. Any more questions? At least I ended up with asile seats for both my flight. On the dowside, the charged me with USD 25 for my overweight (53 lbs., 24 kg) suitcase. Next year I will either use two bags or won’t put my suitcase correctly on the scales.
Now for the real fun – the security checkpoint. There was a queue through half of the airport. We wasted at least 30 minutes in that queue again. And what happens? You take of your boots, take out the laptop walk through the scanner and thats it. In my case, they didn’t even looked too closely at the display, as they had to discuss who’s allowed to take a break next. Two of my friends/colleagues were not that lucky, they got „the special treatment” with extra thorough scans and bag-checks.
After that, I quickly stocked up on almond M&Ms for a colleague of mine and we granted ourselfs to a pre-flight beer. The two hour flight to Dulles was uneventfull. I got some serious reading done. As i got my preferred seat at the asile, I was quite comfortable. Totally in contrast to my neigbour, who’s feet trembled for the whole flight. I still don’t know, if he had fear of flying or if this was just a reaction to the music he was playing on his CD-Player (even during landing).
The nice thing on the way back is, that you don’t have to go through security again, if you want to get to your depature gate. I dont’t know, why you have to do that on your way in, but if you are leaving the USA, a few things are easier – sometimes. We were, again, late for depature, as they closed down the security checkpoint twice and because of that a few pasangers were late.
Before we could take of for our 9+ hour flight (don’t complain about 6 hours, Duffbert ;) the flight attendant asked for ten passengers to sit in the back of the Airbus to give it a better trim. I generously offered me and my weight and spent takeoff in the last row.
Two bad movies (no in-seat screens), a not too bad dinner and breakfast later, I arrived back home in Vienna. Passport-check and baggage reclaim was a breeze and as soon, as I steped out of the terminal, I was greeted by my girlfriend, officially ending my visit to Lotusphere 2006.