Saturday, 2 June 2012: Outa here (Tallahassee to London)

Written 2 June 2012

For once, we had no trouble getting a cab to pick us up on time. The driver even had a smart phone with GPS, so although he called 15 minutes before he was due, just to ask whether we still wanted a cab, he found the place without our help!

The comedy of errors only began aat the airport. My small duffle bag lost its luggage tag in transit a few trips back and has been travelling on one of those papers ones the airlines supply, now falling apart, and my new computer case doesn't have a tag at all, so I planned to buy new ones at the airport gift shop before checking the bags. Imagine my surprise when they didn't have any! So it was new paper tags after all. Then, arriving on the far side of security at lunch time, as planned, we found the food coust closed for construction! The air-side coffee shop had only pastries and the now ubiquitous yogurt parfaits (which David, to my surprise, is quite fond of), but the bar had a cooler of cold sandwiches. While David went back to the coffee shop for a parfait, I picked out a roast-beef and cheddar sandwich and presented myself at the cash register, to the total bafflement of the young man on duty there. First, he had just come on duty and had never seen that cooler of sandwiches before. Second, the prices weren't marked. Third, his cash register provided no "sandwich" button, just buttons for the drinks the bar usually serves, so he didn't know how to ring it up, even if I changed to one of the sandwiches with a price on it. He put in a call to his manager, who he was pretty sure was somewhere in the airport. Long pause. Finally, the manager called back, told him how much to charge me, and walked him through the process of ringing it up. Not a bad sandwich, once I managed to buy it.

The flight to Atlanta was uneventful—both Bryant Chase and Janie Wulff were on it, on their way to Madison, Wisconsin, and Panama, respectively—but when David asked the gate agent providing connection info for our flight to London, we were directed to Concourse F. Concourse F?! Yes, sure enough, were were already on concourse E, now remodeled to resemble more closely concourses A through D, and a new train has been added that leads to F, the new interational concourse!

We were in the market for dinner, as it was only about 4 p.m., and our flight wasn't until after 9 p.m., so we checked out the menu at One Few South as we passed, and it still seemed very promising, but maybe Concourse F had something as good or better, so we trekked out there (through much more complicated and less rectilinear train tunnels than we ever encountered before, including several places where the tracks crossed each other!). No luck. Nothing but a Starbucks, a taco stand, an Asian fast-food place, and a hot-dog-and-hamburger place, though a largish area still behind construction walls had an in-emergency-please-call sign on its back door that implied it would soon be the Jeckyll Island Seafood Company.

chandelier disks

The concourse is pleasant, as these things go—very open, odd-shaped, and airy. The food court and Delta Sky Club are on a sort of balcony surrounding the central open space. From the ceilings hang not exactly chandeliers but attractive ornamental things. In the area where you emerge from the underground train into the concourse is a large, asymmetrical sort of inverted, truncated chain-link cone thickly hung with facetted glass beads and teardrops, suggestive of a chandelier. In the central open space by the food court, scores, perhaps hundreds, of translucent disks hang from the ceiling in rows, suspended by monofilament. Nice.

Now it's back to Concourse E, to One Few South—we still have plenty of time for a leisurely dinner.

Written 2 June 2012, later

Concourse F also seems to have its own entrance. From our vantage point here, near gate F12, we can watch an endless line of cars and busses pull up to the curb and disgorge international flyers, who can enter there, just a few yards from here, and pass through security to reach the area we're already in—we could see the back side of their security lines from the central open area.

Had a very nice dinner indeed at One Few South. Not cheap, but our first official vacation dinner—defined as one we couldn't have gotten in Tallahassee.

scallops soup

David, starter: Pecan-dusted scallops on a bed of spinach with sweet potato and dried-cranberry hash. The taste he gave me was delicious.

Me, starter: An excellent hot puréed soup of cauliflower and parsnip sprinkled with parsley and toasted pumpkin seeds and drizzled with paprika oil.

The soup had just a slight spicy heat to it (not, I think, from the paprika oil, which was mild and sweet). cobia ragout

David, main course: Lamb ragout, which turned out to be lamb stewed in a thick tomato sauce with peas, shiitake mushrooms, and lots of basil, tossed with penne pasta.

Me, main course: Seared cobia on a bed of black-eyed peas, lightly sauted rapini, more cauliflower, sesame seeds, and carrots, all swimming in a garlic, soy, and ginger broth, with julienne of stewed ginger in it. The broth and vegetables were very good, but the cobia was outstanding!

If in no other way, you would know it was an establishment of pretension because, when David asked for salt, they brought us a little tray of three square dishes containing sea salt, black salt, and what I'm pretty sure he called "Australian pink salt, from Austria."


Both, dessert: We split the banana pudding, served in a half-pint Mason jar and topped with whipped cream sprinkled with hazelnut brittle. Vanilla wafers on the side.

Written 4 June 2012

Our flight, when it at last came around, went quite smoothly from our point of view, but it couldn't be called "uneventful." First, the video system malfunctioned. It showed the safety video okay, but then when dinner service began, it wouldn't show anything. It spent the first few hours of the flight repeatedly going through a long cycle of Coke ads, then crashing when it came to the games-and-movies-on-demand part. Probably just as well, as I was not tempted into watching a movie and therefore actually got a little sleep on the flight.

Then, a couple of hours after that, the crew issued the proverbial "Is there a doctor in the house?" call for help back in the tail section somewhere. We never found out what happened or whether a doctor was aboard, but when we landed in London, we all had to stay in our seats while the paramedics came aboard and took the afflicted person(s) away.

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