Sunday, 22 June 2014

Sophisticated world traveler? - not a chance.

World traveler as I am, I packed very lightly for my trip to Lynchburg VA.;  so much so that I failed to pack a comb or brush.  It's amazing what fingers can do with wet hair.   Sophisticated world traveler -  not a chance.
Of course I was there for the marriage of Zehra Asghar and Noel Bonsey.  That was a splendid affair.  I'll tell you more about it, with photo's,  tomorrow.
Lynchburg is a bit run down and scruffy as befits a declining industrial city.  The chief streets run (north to south?) on the valley of the James River with its steep hills. Some of the streets are linked by  dead end roads and then by very  steep stone stairways.  My Hotel was on the good end of the sad and depressing Main Street.  It has some marvelous old Victorian bank building etc  and some ghastly modern bank buildings.  Some of the clearly handsome old places of business have those dreadful facades which were stuck over grand buildings in the 1960's.
Main Street has a few (struggling?) stores, and almost no restaurants etc  (I did find a breakfast/lunch café which had happily never been modernized}, (and where I was able to get a more than decent cup of cappuccino).
I also found the Farmer's Market.   This is the genuine thing with many stands, and with an abundance of locally grown produce and fruit, cheeses, salamis, wines etc.
By contrast the outskirts of Lynchburg are quite lovely, with gentle rolling hills and gorgeous old houses. Most of the modern development, including the airport and some new hotels are in the proximity of Liberty University.  That figures! (Jerry Falwell again).
The airport has two gates and is served by U.S. Airways Express alone with five flights a day in each direction to and from Charlotte, N.C.    I nick-named it "Lynchburg Inter-State Airport".
I encountered some old airline names. My flight to Charlotte from Sarasota was US Airways Express operated by Mesa Airlines. 
From Charlotte to Lynchburg it was US Airways Express operated by Piedmont. (Some us us will remember when various airlines such as Allegheny and Piedmont came together to form what became U.S. Airways).
It was fund to fly between Charlotte and Lynchburg and back on a 50 seater Dash Series 300.  It's been years since I've been on a commercial turbo prop, but it made sense for the flights which have air time of only 45 minutes.
On the way back I was seated behind a daddy and his son. The little one was aged maybe four and he was ceaseless in his questions.  He asked his dad what the seat belt sign meant.  Dad explained, and than the boy said "what does attach mean?"!    His nose was glued to the window.  As we drew near to Charlotte I suggested to the dad that his lad might want to watch for the landing wheels to come down from the engine casing.  The boy did so, as did I.  It's been a long time (if ever) since I saw that moment when the wheels met the tarmac. Sophisticated world traveler -  not a chance.
(And oh what fun to walk across the tarmac in order to get on and off the plane via the steps at the plane's nose). Sophisticated world traveler -  not a chance.
On boarding the plane from Charlotte to Sarasota I fell asleep almost so soon as I was seated.  I came to when the Captain made an announcement.  I opened the window blind and saw the runway. "Oh my goodness" I said to my seat mate, "that was quick. I slept all the way to Sarasota".  He grinned and said "sorry pal, we are still in Charlotte and are about to take off". Sophisticated world traveler -  not a chance.
There's stuff about Lynchburg, Mesa, Piedmont, and the Dash series 300 plane down below.
A bit of Lynchburg from the 20th floor of the James River Bank. First the river valley, then the railroad  made Lynchburg prosper

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