Secret Side Trip

Today’s the last day of my secret side trip. I thought I’d drop a few more hints of where I am and what I’m up to. I got up, had some noodles for breakfast and got dressed, as you can see above. I rather like this look.

My local benefactors are wonderfully generous. Not only did they give me a place to crash, they even loaned me their “beater” car! It drives like a dream, and my only quibble is that the GPS could stand to have a much better user interface. If that’s not a First World Problem, I don’t know what is.

It took me a half hour to reach my destination, and it took me half that time to find a place to park.

Between the parking lot and my destination, a poem.

I spent from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in a place that had the view pictured above.

Afterwards, a coffee break at a little boulangerie, some more walking about, and then dinner with friends.

Tomorrow, it’s an early bird flight to Tampa and back to Anitra. Tomorrow night, we’re going to be like this.

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I’ve been getting emails and Facebook messages asking about the Secret Side Trip I’m currently on. I thought I’d share some photographic hints.

To make things a little easier, here’s another hint: I took the colour photos. The black-and–white ones are simple Google Images finds.

Another hint: at the time of this writing — 11:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, which is not necessarily the time zone I’m in — the temperature is 13 degrees C.

I took both colour photos in this post yesterday.

Also noteworthy: there are a lot of bicycles and cafes in the area.

I’m having fun here, and I’ll eventually be able to tell all. In the meantime, have fun guessing!

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And so the Secret Side Trip begins! I can’t divulge too much information about the whys and wheres of this trip, but I can share a little.

With my bags checked in landside, it’s time to take the TPA shuttle airside (all of which is explained in this 1971 film).

Star Alliance Gold status has its privileges: I got myself moved to a bulkhead seat…AWWW YISSSSSS! While this flight was a mere third the length of Cathay Pacific’s Toronto-Hong Kong butt-numb-a-thon, the extra legroom was still welcome.

Let’s get this baby in the air, shall we?

Cruising altitude! I had my copy of Evangelist Marketing (a useful book, if you’re in my line of work) at the ready and had queued up a couple of new-to-me Archer episodes on the iPad, but I was still a little jet lagged from all that jaunting about the Philippines. I ended up dozing off and woke up to this:

You can’t see them in this shot or any of the other shots I took, there’s a lightning storm out there. We flew over a spectacular electrical lightshow that would’ve been great set to some Pink Floyd.

Just past the storm was my first stop.

There’s that gap between the jet and the airport — right in the jetway, by the door where passengers pick up their gate-checked luggage — where you get your first sense of the weather at your destination. At this stop-over airport, I was hit with a blast of heat and thought to myself “wow, nice sunny day”. Then it dawned on me: it was 10:30 p.m..

The sun had long since set, and it was 40 degrees C (104 degrees F) outside. The high tomorrow was expected to hit 47 C (117 F), but I’d miss it — I boarded the flight to my final destination an hour later.

Once I got my luggage (again, hooray for Star Alliance Gold powers — mine came was on the carousel first), it was time to take a cab to my hotel. Judging by the price on the meter, I took the photo above about a third of the way there.

That’s my hotel lobby pictured above.

And here’s what I saw just before I turned out the lights. The funny apparatus with the hose is my CPAP. Although it’s a pain in the ass to bring along on trips, I still function much better when I use it.

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I’m in Tampa right now, but I won’t be for long. Later tonight, after a quick bite at the Cheesecake Factory (a guilty pleasure of mine), I’m boarding a US Airways flight and heading…somewhere…until Friday. I’ll go into more detail later, but it should suffice to say that the local climate calls for a hoodie and the trip may or may not be concerned about changing my funemployed status. I’ll be back in Tampa this weekend, when I have a visit to a giraffe farm on the agenda.

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