Hello Chicago

Countdown to RailsConf

What does a Finn do when he gets to US for the first time in his life in the midsummer week? Watches hockey, of course. I have to admit I fell asleep during the second period, though, at about 4AM Finnish time.

Entering the country was much more convenient than I thought.

The clerk at the passport control: What are you here for, mister Lane?
Me: Line-eh. I’m here for a conference.
Clerk: So what do you do, mister Lane?
Me: I’m a web hacker (oops, think, man, think!)
Clerk: Oh, a web developer?
Me: Yes, that is correct.
Clerk: Ok, left index finger, please… right index finger, please… look at the camera, please… have a good day, sir.

Customs clerk: What kind of food do you carry?
Me: Just some Finnish rye bread.
Clerk: OK, thank you and welcome to US.

Renting a car was whole nuther story. We had just winged the reservation and thought we would compare the prices and pick the cheapest supplier. It turned out to be a lot harder than we thought. All the car rentals at O’Hare are placed quite a bit away from the airport so the companies have shuttle busses bringing customers to and from the terminal. There is a phone at the terminal that can be used to contact all the companies, but we couldn’t get it to work for any of them. So we just walked to the bus stop and jumped to the first bus, which happened to belong to AVIS.

At the counter we were served by a lady who seemed to prefer to do anything else than give us a car for a good price. We withdrew from the counter to consider our options. We were in the middle of a fenced area long way from everything else. We could have taken the shuttle bus back to the terminal but that didn’t sound too pleasant either. Fortunately AVIS provides a wifi network at the service center and while a real internet connection is not free, avis.com is exempt from any fees. We did a reservation through the net and got the same car for $50 less than what the price was at the counter.

So here we are now, everything ok. We spent most of Tuesday hanging around Woodfield mall, buying some stuff and getting my MacBook battery replaced (it was suddenly dying a few seconds after unplugging it even with a full battery) at the local AppleStore. Lauri will go golfing today, while I will do some training in the morning and then have lunch with Joe Sackett, the secretary of CAOC. Later today I’ll run a local sprint-O competition further south from O’Hare. Somewhere in between we’ll need to move our bags to Wyndham O’Hare.

(posted with the new TextMate Blogging Bundle)