Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cultural Diplomacy Idol; En route on the Oregon Trail

It has been a crazy but wonderful week.  I have been running auditions for the next class of American Music Abroad ensembles.  American Idol meets cultural diplomacy.  We went coast-to-coast auditioning approximately 40 bands that were whittled down from the 320 ensembles that applied.  New York to St. Louis to San Francisco.  And some absolutely immaculate music along the way.  We had a major hiccup in St. Louis on account of a late winter storm that struck in March.  We had an AMA first of skype auditions due to cancelled flights.   After a long week, we finished the auditions and the judges descended into the conclave.  A puff of white smoke will be seen on April 12th.

We finished the audition work, and I headed out to Portlandia to take advantage of my virtual office for a few days and check out the Oregon Trail.   Except I had a little hiccup at the Oakland Airport.  I had a flight to Portland at 7:40pm.  I sat at the gate waiting to depart, and hopped into line to get on the flight.  Only to have my ticket give an incorrect ding.  Turns out that I wasn't on the direct flight to Portland, I was supposed to be on a flight that was routed by way of Reno on to Portland that was leaving at the exact same time- some 4 gates down.

I ran to customer service to see if I could switch flights.  The ticket agent was able to change me, but my bag would still be on the same flight.  Didn't seem worth it, since I would have to wait at the airport or come back for it, so I decided to keep my travel plans.  Except she jumped the gun and switched me.

So then I had to run over to the Reno counter to get them to switch me back to their flight.  But then the counter lady convinced me that I was better off taking the direct flight and hanging out at the airport bar (which I am doing now) than sitting on a plane.  Sold.  So she changed my ticket back to the direct Portland flight.  I ran back to the gate and got on the direct flight to the PO.

My flight was short and fun.  I snagged a middle seat in the emergency exit row so I had a little extra leg room.  I sat next to a fellow named Jason, who was from Portlandia and was stoked that it was my first time in his fair city.  He gave me a ton of recs.  I played my favorite travel game: sweet-talk the stewardesses into giving me free drinks.  I told them I deserved a free drink for a myriad of reasons, and gave them their choice of stories of why I deserved a free G&T.  Work Story or Travel Story?  Work Story was about my oh-so-long work week on behalf of Uncle Sam's next class of musical ambassadors; Travel Story was about my luggage woes.  They laughed and give me a G&T; I kept running my mouth, and got them to throw in a free drink for the fellow sitting next to me who gave me good recs.

So now I am waiting in the quiet, empty airport bar, waiting for my luggage to meet me.  Welcome to Portlandia!

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