Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Brown Beginnings

As I approached Pinole Valley High School this morning, half-asleep and half-awake, it still hadn’t hit me that I was embarking on an adventure of a lifetime. Even now, although I am fully aware of the implications of this trip, it all feels very surreal and unreal, that I would be at a luxurious hotel in rainy Providence, Rhode Island with the best and brightest of the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

As we left from PVHS this morning, I couldn’t help but notice that despite having only 3 hours of sleep the previous night, I felt more awake than I had been in a long time. Not even the fact that the driver of the shuttle to the airport seemed slightly off could damper my spirits. At the airport, Ms. Bulls treated us to a breakfast that although was not terrible, wasn’t terrific. On Southwest Flight 231 from Oakland Airport to Las Vegas, I sat on the aisle seat next to William Chong and we played cards with Andrew Gabriel. Upon arriving at Las Vegas, I wasn’t surprised to see a whole host of slot machines and the jingle of money being lost. Above that din, I was surprised to hear that our flight from Las Vegas to Providence was delayed due to weather conditions. Already, I was afraid that we might not even make it to Providence, let alone succeed there. But sure enough, as we boarded half an hour later and late, my hopes began to rise faster than the airplane could lift off. During the seemingly endless journey, card games once again reigned supreme, at least until the slumbering giant of drowsiness and sleep took over as I unwillingly fell asleep.When I woke, the familiar sun-drenched skies of California and the West Coast had transformed to cloud-laden darker skies of the East.

Upon arrival at Providence, we got our luggage, and then waited for transport to our Hilton hotel. After a long wait, we all piled into a mini-van, which was filled to far more than capacity in terms of luggage. To keep a long story short, having a 50 pound suitcase on your lap isn't as pleasant as one would think. Upon arrival at the Hilton, I was overwhelmed by the niceness of the hotel.

For dinner, we went to the shopping mall, and I consumed a bacon cheeseburger and a strawberry shake. On the way back, we attempted to find a Walmart, but ended up helplessly lost. After struggling to make our way home for an hour, we finally drifted home to prepare for a fitful rest.

I am truly excited for tomorrow to visit New York and Columbia, and I owe many thanks to Mr. Ramsey, Mrs. Kronenberg, Don, and all of the sponsors for helping make this trip possible. I also would like to thank my parents for their support, and to say "Hi" to my brother. Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. Austin,

    Las Vegas is always an eye opener--especially the first time you see it. The first time I flew into McCarren Airport I was so impressed with the plush carpets, the neon show signs and the slots all over. It was like a casino right inside the airport.

    When leaving Las Vegas, though, the departure end of the airport was like any municipal airport--pretty drab and commercial looking. There were still slots and places to leave your money, but no fancy lights, or plush carpets. They knew you were already on your way out of town so there was no sense wasting money trying to impress you.

    One thing I did find interesting, though, was the Taco Bell stand near my departure gate. What made it interesting was that you could get a margarita at the Taco Bell. My kind of place.

    This trip is all about the education, Austin, and it seems that you got an education this morning about the quality of airport food. Next time you go online you need to log on to Wikipedia and type in the words "sucks big time" and I'm betting that you'll see a bunch of photos of airport restaurants. And they charge you up the wazoo for the bad food.

    Feel lucky you're not of drinking age. Seriously over priced watered down drinks are an airport staple.

    I was also amused about your comments about the 50 lb piece of luggage on your lap. I'm betting that if it were a sweet young gal that you wouldn't have minded if it was twice the 50 lbs. I suppose it's all a matter of perspective.

    Take lots of note while you're in NYC and tell us everything when you write tomorrow.