Two words. Amazing. Tiresome.
I got up at 6am (GMT+1), and after a quick shower I hauled my suitcases downstairs and into the back of the car. Ready to go to Amsterdam. We arrived there at 8am; exactly three hours before my flight. I got my boarding passes, and after saying goodbye to my parents, I went off all by myself (sob sob).
10:30am. The security checks weren’t that scary. I think there are clubs in The Netherlands that are harder to get into. First I had a quick talk with a security agent. Then I had to put all your stuff (including shoes by the way) through the scanner, after which another security agent checked my hand luggage for fluids. The guy wondered why the heck I put 120 CDs in my hand luggage :D.
11:05am. Ready for take-off! I incidentally seated myself in the wrong seat at first, but eventually I sat next to a guy called Leon, who had to go to Chicago for a job training program for two weeks. I watched Over the Hedge on the monitor in my seat. The movie isn’t a masterpiece, but exactly the right kind of movie to keep you entertained during a flight.
I had chicken for lunch. It was quite good, and I wondered whether this would be my last decent meal for a long time, since I now have to cook for myself :P. I played with my Nintendo DS for a while, read in my book, and I even got several moments of sleep.
When I woke up I could already see the American coastline beneath me. In my mind, I fitted The Netherlands on a small part of it :D. The plane took a sharp turn over Lake Michigan and we headed for Chicago. It’s so awesome to see the Chicago suburbs in the bright sun. Huge houses with clear blue pools in the backyard. Too bad my camera broke down a while ago.
7:30pm, or 12:30pm Chicago time. Landed on the Chicago O’Hare airport. It is HUGE! The immigration check was a bit weird. A couple of ladies told me what to do in poor English and unfriendly tones. But it was over in a couple of fingerprints, a photo, and a number of stamps. And then I got my luggage through security without even saying a word! After putting my suitcases on another conveyor on the other side, I headed for the departure terminals.
I just have to say it again. Chicago O’Hare is huge! There must be more than 10 McDonalds restaurants in the entire building. I got some dollars from the ATM and bought a quick dinner at one of them :D. I called my parents to let them know everything was fine. I had already checked-in, and I had to wait for 5 hours now before my next flight. The gate changed so I had to change terminal. Walking from terminal B to C, I got treated to a nice lightshow!
The second flight was shorter, only one and a half hours. We took off at 6:30pm Chicago time, and landed in Pittsburgh at 9 ‘o clock (yep, that’s one hour difference the other way). I sat next to Jason, who just returned from a cruise. He goes to Pittsburgh University, which is a few blocks from CMU.
I got out of the airport and into the X28 (the bus to CMU) within half an hour. The bus is really cool: you get a breath-taking view of the city. At the CMU bus stop another traveler lend me his cellphone to call Mark, who’d pick me up at 11:30. Now I was an hour early, which was great, because I’d been awake for over 23 hours :D.
I had a talk with Mark, and he showed me the apartment. I’ll write more about that in my next post. After a quick shower, I finally went to bed… ZZZzzzz