Sunday, September 29, 2013

Day 1.5

An attempt to chronicle my overseas adventure commences.  A little back story.  My beekeeping and computer science interests led to the creation of a web application for beekeepers call Hive Tracks a little over three years ago and the subsequent Blowing Rock Software, LLC.  With several thousand registered users of our free software in over 80 countries, we thought it time to move from free software, which makes running a company challenging (see what trouble Google has making ends meet, ha ha!), to a freemium/premium model.  This transition is in full swing with new development and marketing underway.  Thus, one of the purposes of this trip is to network with the international beekeeping world at Apimondia 2013 in Kiev, Ukraine.  If you look at the website for the event, you will see they are a proud bunch with high expectations for their event.   Other purposes and some I don’t even know about likely will become apparent over the course of the next few days.

Now for today’s chronicle.  More back story.  Some of the readers will know that my two oldest children, Margaret and Galen, have just returned from 18 days in England and surrounding environs.  You can read all about it in Margaret’s blog, and let me say, I do not expect to come anywhere close to the level of detail and historical information and wittiness (ok, maybe I can compete) of her blog.  

Today’s adventure began yesterday when we picked up Margaret and Galen from the airport in the afternoon and made plans to stay overnight in Charlotte since I was leaving the next day and our home is almost 3 hours away.  We had a great dinner celebrating Galen’s birthday after we drove around for a while looking for a place to park our big van because it doesn’t fit in parking decks very well due to clearance (yes, we found that out the hard way and have scratches on the roof to prove it).  After a rather benign overnight (with 4 little kids sleeping in your room, it could be exciting), I was dropped off at the airport about 10:30am for my 3:30pm flight to Atlanta.  No missing the flight today!  I walked a good bit around the airport in anticipation of having to sit for a long time and in the process saw two people I knew from Boone.  

In contrast to my previous international travel experience related here and here, this trip was a piece of cake with a quick hop to Atlanta, an easy transition to the international terminal for the flight to Amsterdam, an 8 hour flight with the only hiccup being the entertainment system broke in the middle of a good movie (42) … and then we landed in Amsterdam, 10 minutes past our original arrival time, which moved my connection to Kiev into a questionable status.  I bustled to the Kiosk, scanned my boarding pass, and got the “you are too late for your flight” message.  Not to worry, the system was figuring things out for me and decided I should fly south for 30 minutes to Brussels, Belgium, going through three terminals, two full security checks, waiting standby, and finally getting a seat (with two other beekeepers I met in the same predicament) headed east again.  We arrived 5 hours after the original scheduled arrival time in Kiev.  The system knew what it was doing I guess.  I will agree with Margaret that people watching is quite interesting especially in such a diverse place as Brussels, Belgium with planes going in all directions.  You could tell our plane was going to the Ukraine by the features of most of the men and women on the plane … my nose disqualifies me.

The tale will be resumed when circumstances allow, like me getting some sleep!

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