I’m in the Memphis airport waiting on the plane to Atlanta. Memphis is such a laid-back airport, easy to check in and go through. Even the security people are friendly. They guy who waved me through the xray chatted with me, called me “brother,” mentioned my destination.

It’s easier going than coming. We don’t pick up luggage until SPaulo. Coming, we have to go through customs and immigration in SP, pick up bags in Atlanta (or Houston, or wherever our first stop is in the US), and then recheck luggage on to Memphis.

6:15 p.m. EDT. Met an interesting guy next to me on the plane Mem-Atl. Thomas is from Corinth, Miss., Episcopalian youth worker going to work with the Church of England in York, UK. He knows Alan Hagy, Nor and Linda’s son. His cousin is Alan’s girfriend. Will be his first time out of the US, so he seemed to be glad to meet me and talk about cross-cultural and traveling experiences. He’s 6’8″ and quite a large guy, so he was glad of the Bombardier plane’s space. (So was his seat mate.) The 767 to Manchester will likely not afford him the comfort we had on the 900, even though we were the last row.

I’m at the gate in Atlanta airport waiting for my flight. Was going to do some work on my new Neo (which I’m enjoying) during the flight here, but we chatted the whole way. There’ll be time on the international flight for sure.

It’s a bit ironic: Micah and Valerie are in Atlanta right now, visiting some of her extended family; they’re going to a Braves game tonight, Micah said. So close, but so far.

I wrote a quatrain for Vicki yesterday, and she seemed to enjoy it. I need to give more attention to the little details with her. I’ve slipped on that score.

8:10 p.m. Aboard Delta flight 105 Atl-Gua. Good takeoff, pretty much on time, enthusiastic captain from his greeting over the PA. Let’s hope the crew is as chipper. Flight attendants were handing out newspapers. I thought I was getting the Folha de SP, but I got the International Press in Portuguese, for Brazilians living Japan. Interesting perspectives.

This morning I bought a new suitcase and a shoulder sling at Walmart, the latter for about $13. I’d seen one on the Internet, high-end product for over $100. But I couldn’t bring myself to buy it. So I went the cheap route. I realize I need to go with quality, but we’ll see how long this one lasts, If I really like this model, beyond my initial enthusiasm for it, perhaps I’ll consider the upscale version.

Advantages of the Neo: (1) Size. I have no problem handling it in the cramped space of economy/turist class; my seatmate tried using his laptop the drop-down table, but can’t lift the screen completely vertical. He put it in his lap and that didn’t work either. (2) Speed. He spent MINUTES opening WinXP on his Dell. I hit a button and started typing. (3) Time. I’ll be typing away when his battery has long given out.

What do you think?