I had a minor drama this morning. I received an email from United confirming my flight from San Francisco to LA on June 4. The only problem was that I had changed that flight to June 3 so I could fly out that day instead of June 4.
The whole stuff up had occurred when I did not take my scheduled flight from New Orleans to LAX on May 20. I had subsequently booked to go to Austin, on to San Francisco – and then LA. Because the New Orleans-LA flight was part of the original ticket, my June 4 flight had been cancelled and I had to rebook it. (At least then they had phoned me to tell me the problem). I think Ken and Lise had the same problem with one of their flights that they did not take.
I quickly looked up my Mileage Plus site and found that my flight home from LA next Friday had been completely cancelled. Panic!
It then took me an hour on the phone to rebook (again). I was told that a ‘robot’ (United’s description) had cancelled the flight due to conflicting flights to LAX. (Haven’t these robots got anything else to do?).
It was impossible to explain to the call centre person that it was their fault. I gave up and had to use 40,000 miles to pay for the fare (better than the $1200 they quoted).
Lesson: if you decide not to take a flight check the fine print in the booking or ring the airline and find out if you can do so without penalty.
What a start to the day! By the time I emerged into the sunlight it was rapidly heading for 101F. The radio news tells me that it feels like 104F. Great. I spent a lot of time in the pool, deciding to enjoy it while I can. I have never before understood why someone would want to go to a beach resort for a week and just relax, read and swim. Now I do. On this trip I am learning to relax a little more, something I find difficult to do.
The stress of running the tour to New Orleans started to drop away as soon as I arrived in Austin. Not that anything major went wrong, apart from one unfortunate accident to one person and visit to hospital that had major implications for their trip.
But like running a school excursion you just worry until it is over. Like last year when I took the radio class into visit 3AW and one of the girls went off by herself after wards and it took me hours to track her down. Somehow she had ended up at the Crown Casino.
After sorting flights and having a swim I went shopping at Shepler’s Western Wear store. I know I should avoid this place but cannot help myself. The others went there last week in a journey that turned into an epic. I had more time – and a car.
Boots? No, I already have several pairs from Austin plus the two pairs I got in nashville as part of the ‘three for the price of one deal’. Jeans? No. I get Wranglers from Wal-Mart for $15. Hat? There is nowhere I can wear a Stetson in Melbourne and look normal.
‘Just remember where you live,’ cautioned Ken Gilmore when we were here last October for ACL Fest. So I purchase three Western work shirts for $22 each and I discover when I get back to the motel that I have managed to pick up one of the wrong size. My usual ploy is to claim that I will lose weight but I think I might bring this back and exchange it.
The gig tonight is Guitar Shorty at The Continental. I have not seen him since he was at Byron quiet some years ago. Back then he did a backflip on stage. He is older and wiser now…or maybe just older. (I once played a dancing Cossack in a school production). It was great to see some more blues played really well.
At one point in the set Shorty walked off the stage through the audience and out the front door. As he strolled past me I leaned over and asked him when he was going back to Australia. He replied that he really wanted to return but no-one had asked – all without missing a note.
He then disappeared down the street and around the corner (a la Albert Collins), all the while playing the solo and finally emerging through the back door and onto the stage. I am not sure how he managed to keep time because I am sure he couldn’t always hear the band.
Shorty finished the set with an epic 20-minute version of ‘Hey Joe,’ which is appropriate as he was related to Jimi. Another great night of blues.