Monday, August 14, 2006

Detroit Follow-up

Yes, folks, we did make it. The third person we spoke with once we got to SeaTac finally offered to let us each pay $25 to reserve space on the evening non-stop from Seattle to Detroit, and was surprised no one had given us the option before. (note: if you ask for stand-by, be prepared to stick with your current routing. And don't expect an airline grunt to think outside the box. Ask to pay some small fee instead.) We even got a window and a middle seat, and so were in perfect position to enjoy the spectacular light show taking place over Duluth as we passed (the pilot conscientiously avoided flying directly through the electrical storm). It was so fantastic, in fact, flash after flash, lightening ripping through the clouds in jagged bolts, that a flight attendant got on the radio and admonished us all to turn off our reading lights and look out the window! Which virtually everyone did. It was really amazing, and we only caught a little turbulence at the end, right before landing in Detroit, where it was 12:40 am. This was 8 hours after Ian and I had intended to arrive, before (evidently) choosing to sleep in, in our own beds, instead, so instead of blearily collecting our car, we checked into the new Westin hotel that is right in the terminal, and had a blissful mini-vacation, just the two of us.

The next morning we picked up our rental car and drove to Ann Arbor, which, from what we could see in our two days driving around the Detroit area (which, granted, doesn’t really give it a fair opportunity to impress), really is the best place to go in Michigan. By far.

We stayed with my linguistics friend G and his Swedish wife A, who are charming and interesting hosts, and whose small apartment holds even more books than our house (though not by much, I think). They encourage the local wildlife, so we were treated to multiple birds (I couldn’t even identify one species if G hadn’t told me what they were), multiple squirrels, and even, to my alarm, a late-night skunk. I will say, the skunk is really an adorable animal. Particularly since it seemed to think the same of us, and wandered off without spraying. Houseguests and fish smell after three days, they say . . . but I think adding skunk to the mix might speed up that schedule a little.

We had a couple brief Eminem moments; one when we passed 8 Mile Road on the way to the wedding venue in Rochester, and the other after we returned home and realized that the wedding location was the same as Eminem and Kim’s most recent (and most recently failed) second nuptials. Meadow Brook Hall did not publicize their famous clients.

The wedding itself was beautiful, with the 3 bridesmaids in varying shades of purple to coordinate with the groom’s hair, and a collection of Carleton students I’ve seen now at four weddings (including my own), so I felt like part of the crowd.

The only bad part of the trip was arriving at the airport at 7:00am on Monday morning (or thereabouts) and finding that our seats together—one window, one center—had been switched to two center seats. Which meant we weren’t seated together. And there were no other seats available anywhere on the plane, except maybe one or two middles. It seems that, when we missed our flight Friday morning, our entire reservation had been un-confirmed. The attendant who put us on the replacement flight reconfirmed the rest of our reservation . . . but evidently not our seats. So we arrived after virtually everyone else had checked in online, and snatched up our good seats. This was incredibly distressing to me, up to the point where we actually boarded the plane, and the man sitting on the aisle next to me agreed graciously to switch with Ian.

And so it all worked out, and two more great people are enjoying newly-married bliss.

No comments: