20 June 2009 – Bonjour.

Our travel day started out alright, considering we were awake at 5:45 AM. If you recall a previous post, we decided we were going to carry our luggage on our backs with duffel bags so that we wouldn't be checking any bags. In the end, we went with the duffel, a small wheelie, my Swiss Army backpack and Jackie's large "shoplifter special" purse. That arrangement worked out pretty well, but there were some times that the duffel felt like we were schlepping bricks around. We got around the airports and train stations reasonably well and we weren't waiting for our bags to be delivered. Next time, though, I will pack less crap. More on that later.

As we were boarding the OKC to O'Hare flight, the gate agent said I had been upgraded to first. I gave the seat to Jackie and sat in my original seat. No good deed goes unpunished as the standby person who sat in Jackie's original seat was a 350 lb woman who rocked in her seat the whole trip and prayed for Jesus to deliver her intact. Thankfully, I had my iPod and The Black Angels can drown out almost anything.

In O'Hare, we had 2 hours to kill, so we ate an early lunch at Stefani's Tuscany Cafe in Terminal 1. The food was good for airport fare and Tony, our waiter, got a few laughs out of us. I'm quite convinced he was flirting with one of us, but I'm not sure which.

The O'Hare to Dulles leg was in a 777. Jackie had never been in one before and was surprised at how big it is inside. We were in our seats when a woman walks down the aisle and asks "Are you the Cloningers?" "Yes," we replied somewhat nervously, waiting for the "there's been a problem with your reservation" to start. She says "I'm Louise Cloninger–the gate agent saw our names and assumed we were traveling together. So she moved me forward in the cabin." After we got in the air, I spent about 15 minutes talking with Louise, figuring out where the common parts of our families were.

While at the Dulles airport, we roamed around a bit and took the "buses" from terminal C to B to get some sushi. Airport sushi is about what you would expect it to be.

Our flight to Geneva was in a 767, which had the fully reclining berths in first class. Sadly, we were in Economy Plus, which might as well be called steerage.

One of the few percs of all my flying is that we got to board the airplane a little earlier than the rest of the rabble and could get our bags in the overhead bin. As more people got on board, the bins filled up, but not completely. At the end of the boarding period, this 50-ish man in business casual arrives, notices that there aren't any spaces for his roller and throws an absolute fit. He had to put his bags about three rows behind him, which was just behind us. You would've thought someone shot his dog with the fit he was throwing–he slammed doors and was cursing. The man behind us started taunting him for acting like a child, which just made him all the more angry. I'll take well-behaved children like ours on a flight before some horse's ass like that guy.

I didn't sleep at all, despite taking a xanax, so I just watched episodes of "The Tudors" all night on my iPod Touch. Jackie managed to get in a couple hours of fitful sleep, but not enough to feel rested on the other side.

Tomorrow, Day 2…. Stay tuned. If you want to skip all the talk and see the pics, just browse over to my Photo site.