Ramblings of a Tampa engineer

A little over 4 months ago I traveled to Jacksonville Florida for an Ingress anomaly and this time again I set off to Charleston in West Virginia to do it again.

What I learned really quickly is Charleston West Virginia is the rarely traveled or visited Charleston. My flight information and hotel research kept ending up in Charleston South Carolina. I'm curious if the organizers of this event (Niantic) accidentally meant the other.

Either way - the 4am Friday morning arose and this time it was off to the airport. My car situation is still odd, so it was time for an Uber. I grabbed a photo of the house will standing in darkness to begin this journey.

4am - August 18, 2023

The airport was insanely packed for 4am - the most I'd ever seen it. Turns out it was the huge crowd of Beyonce concert goers on the way home. Once I was settled and at the gate - it was one short flight to Charlotte and then another short flight into Charleston.

This was the first time for an Ingress anomaly that I was doing connections to travel. Normally I'm only driving or taking directs when it comes to these events.

It was the last flight that destroyed my body in terms of motion sickness. From the instant we boarded this tiny plane - I knew it was going to hurt. From the start of the flight and the immediate turbulence and crazy up/down behavior of the flight. My stomach and body was in immediate pain.

Felt sorry for the guy next to me as I pointed cool air onto myself and just tried to keep a solid amount of breathing going on. It was the longest 1 hour and 11 minutes on a plane ever. As I write this post here - I haven't even done that flight on the way home yet.

Hopefully I learned a lesson though. Seeing how it was very early - I had not eaten yet and flying on an empty stomach is bad. I purchased some motion sickness tablets, which I've never tried before. Hopefully when I board at 6pm on Sunday to head home - the full stomach and pills will make this first flight painless.

Landing Charleston and seeing just mountains everywhere and little town on the river was pretty cool to see. The airport being minutes from downtown and an Uber drive only 4 minutes was great to see. I was in the city and checked into my hotel before 10am on that Friday.

So I went exploring and I quickly realized how kinda empty this city was. Whether it was noon on a Friday or Friday night or Saturday night - I rarely saw cars or people. I guess a town of 48,000 people is pretty small when I compare to my hometown of ~400,000.

I visited a regular ole sports bar and it was enough just plain average food to get my first meal in me of the day. I had to eat way slower than I wanted because my body was still recovering from the most turbulent flight of my life.

Once I had some food in me and a few hours had passed. I was feeling normal and great again. I packed up my bag and re-organized some items and walked the 2km wide downtown in a large loop.

It was clear this city was mixed between highly cared for and just pure abandonment. Some streets and buildings were boarded up with shattered windows and crumbled concrete while others had immaculate lawns with high rise fences (which was probably some federal building).

During this walk too I was realizing that my chances for most of the restaurants was going to be Friday only. It seemed a good portion of the establishments downtown were closed on Saturday and Sunday.

It must be the true visitors of the downtown is the working class so when the weekend arrived my options for food dwindled.

The mornings were cool and crisp which made a little workout Saturday morning wonderful. I wasn't competing with the immense Florida humidity and instead had a run that was a bit chilly till my body warmed up.

The afternoon was hot though with not much shade to be found while wandering through the city. My body is burnt now even though I was applying sunscreen pretty often.

As Sunday came it was a slow morning to kill a hangover and pack up the belongings. I'd be in the city till 5pm, but had to be out of the hotel by 10am. So I plotted some food places to hit and went off exploring again. This time a few gins and exploring and the day was quickly over.

I took my pills and went for the airport to board a plane from the tarmac.

Unfortunately I'll be landing back in Tampa before I'll have time to finish this post, so either the pills worked or I had a stressful amount of flights back home.

EDIT: The flight home was way easier than the travel there. I attribute that to a few things - one being that the flight home was way shorter than the visit there. Cutting 30 minutes off a flight doesn't really make sense to me in terms of how it works in air travel, but I wasn't complaining.

Secondly I was traveling on a full stomach which felt so much better when the turbulence hit. So lesson learned - pop some pills and eat some food before flying.

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