So I have arrived in North Carolina.
I’m here for a post-bottling wine chemistry retreat, with some of the scientists involved in the Oxygen in Wines coalition.
I flew out with American Airlines. Flying AA is like flying used to be.
Economy class lacks seat-back video screens, which I think are now just about compulsory for long haul. So you have to crane your neck and watch one of the TV screens dotted throughout the cabin if you want to watch a movie. Of couse, there is no choice of film. I find watching films to be a great way to mitigate the boredom of a long flight, but today I’d seen one of the films (Shrek the fourth, with my kids), and the other was some dreadful romcom.
So instead I read (Coupland’s Microserfs – just brilliant), and worked on my laptop. Normally working on a laptop is tricky in economy class seats, because there’s not enough room to open the screen out properly. But today I had three seats to myself (through some tactical late online seat switching) and could sit sideways and more or less work in comfort.
I also had a dry flight because AA makes you pay for alcohol. Quite a lot, and the choice is very bad. I did have a bottle of NZ Pinot Noir in my hand luggage (bought at the airport), but didn’t have the guts to open it on the flight.
I’m staying overnight in Raleigh, before heading up to Asheville tomorrow, in the mountains. To kill some time this afternoon I decided to wander over to a mall. It’s no more than half a mile away, but as is common in the USA, this place is not designed for pedestrians. It felt like I was doing something very unusual and slightly naughty by walking, and it wasn’t easy – I had to cross a couple of multi-lane roads and felt conspicuous.
Now I am going to head to my room and drink some Pinot Noir, and try to stay up as late as possible.