January 30-31, 2008

The day started off with a bit of a scare. I was hoping so badly that there would be no last minute complications to cause any fear of missing or delaying any leg of the trip. Unfortunately, there were road closures that caused us to re-think our whole schedule and come up with some alternative ways to get to the airport. Fortunately, the weather finally cooperated and we were on our way ahead of schedule. I forgot my laptop power supply at home and was glad that it was only thing I had forgotten.

We arrived at the airport and got our tickets quite quickly. The only real snag was when I was clearing security and forced to throw out a whole new tube of toothpaste that was deemed too big to carry onboard the plane. After that, we made our way to the Business Class Lounge where we spent the remainder of our afternoon. Free drinks and snacks were greatly appreciated.

When we finally got to board our plane, we were surprised by the flight attendants pointing us to the upstairs section of the 747. The seats were by far the most comfortable and spacious I have ever seen on a plane, in person or otherwise! Two of us had adjoining seats while the third sat across the aisle from us in the exit row. I cannot describe how nice it was to be able to completely relax, kick back and take off our shoes for the bulk of the 9.5 hour flight from LA to Amsterdam.

After leaving LA on Wednesday and arriving in Amsterdam on Thursday afternoon, one of the first things we noticed was how rude the Dutch passengers were getting off our plane and in the Amsterdam airport. Anyway, we were finally able to get up and walk around for a while and get a bite to eat. That’s when we noticed there was not a big selection of food in the airport and what food we found was not very appetizing or good.

We waited for a while to clear through security one more time for the flight to Aberdeen. We were one of the last passengers to board, which was nice, since we didn’t have to wait long to get off the ground. This flight was fairly short and quite pleasant after such a long trip to Amsterdam.

It was cold when we arrived in Aberdeen and the wind was whipping as well. We cleared customs here for the first time and also got the first stamp of the trip on our passports. After clearing customs, we got a taxi to Ardoe House, our castle-style hotel, and took an hour or so to clean up and get ready for some dinner. Once again, we found out the food was not nearly as good as we were expecting and I think we were all disappointed by the quality of the food we’ve encountered so far. A short night and off to bed to get ready for our Friday meetings in Aberdeen.