PHILADELPHIA, Penn., USA - The couple two tables away from me is chattering away in Japanese and if you listen carefully there are occasional snatches of Spanish and French.
The English spoken by the service workers has a definite twang to it, peppered with some new terms and a Philly dialect that I'm having trouble understanding. My ear is still tuned to Spanish. I remember Philly English faintly from when I went to Villanova University in 1966-1968. That's a longer story.
The Admiral and I have been flying through this airport now for four or five years and it seems almost finished. This cafe - Au Bon Pain - offers exceptionally good food (in or out of an airport) and, gasp, the staff is friendly and seems to enjoy serving the customers.
In Philadelphia. Who'd a thunk it?
Not the friendly skies, but cordial
Our last airplane experience was in December of 2009, when we jetted from Sacramento to Phoenix and then Phoenix to Puerto Vallarta.
Since then, U.S. Airways has changed a few things. For one, no peanuts or snacks, except in first class. And in first class, all you get is a bag of peanuts now, too. But the second change had Admiral Fox's blood pressure spiking to red levels as we got ready to depart Wednesday.
When we arrived at the PV airport hours before our flight, we asked to jump on a nearly empty Phoenix-bound plane. No problem, senora, the gate agent said. But the small problem (for us) was that U.S. Airways wanted to charge each of us a $50 change fee.
In the past, the airline would have simply put us - and our 50+ pound bags - on an earlier flight. They might have even smiled while they did it. (Might have...)
But nooooooo, not now. There is a new company policy. All changes initiated by the customer are subject to fees.
So we sat, are much farther along in reading our books, and I have $100 to spend.
View from the front porch at Valois
Three hours from now we will jump on a small U.S. Airways plane for the last leg of this three-flight sojourn, a Philly-to-Elmira, NY flight that can be exciting if there are any thunderstorms.
But no storms are forecast - and there is even a chance the temperatures might hit 80 degrees Saturday.
Eighty degrees! When do we get the pontoon boat out of storage and launch the sailboat?
Last summer at the Showboat on Seneca Lake