For the first time in months, I am finally traveling again for work. I’ve had the itch to get out of town, visit some hotels and explore my newest adventure. My destination: Fayetteville, NC.; Home of Ft. Bragg Army Base, Pope Airforce Base, and of course my hotel, Ramada Plaza/Baymont Inn and Suites Fayetteville Ft. Bragg Area. Yes, I know this is the longest name of a hotel ever known to man, but I didn’t choose it.
The morning of my flight, my BSM (Big Strong Man) was kind enough to wake up at 3:30 am to get me to the San Antonio International Airport by 4:00 am for my 6:00 am flight. For some reason, every time I travel for work, my flights are before the sun has had its morning coffee, much less myself. The most regrettable thing about a 4:00 am flight out of San Antonio isn’t the waking up at 3:30 am part, it’s the fact that Starbucks doesn’t open until 6 and not a moment before. If you ask me, that’s complete bull honkey. I have to suck it up and get in the longest line at the airport, no not the TSA line, the Dunkin Donuts line. This line, no exaggeration, is longer than the line of “T.V. Crazed Black Friday Shoppers” waiting to bust down the door at Best Buy. Once you finally get through the sea of indecisive breakfast eaters (even though they’ve had 30 minutes of standing in line to figure out what they want), coffee is finally in hand and it’s time to head to the gate.
Oh the gate experience. This is seriously the most humorous experience for me. I find it amusing to watch the kindergarten minded travelers fight for who is first in line. The funny part of this you ask? The seats are assigned. Why is everyone so anxious to get on the plane and sit there for another 30 minutes watching people pass by and knock you in the face with their carry-on? If you have any answer for this, please leave me a comment, I am truly interested.
Enough about the pre-flight adventures as you have all been there at one time or another. Let’s get to the layover. This trip to Fayetteville landed me in Atlanta airport for an hour layover, which is not bad at all. When it comes time for my flight to board, I realize I don’t have a seat assignment. I go up to the Delta desk to talk to the joyful guests service agent and she informs me the flight is overbooked and I will need to wait to find out what my seat assignment is if anyone decides they want to take a later flight. Alrighty, wish I had known it was over booked before I got up at 3:30 am and put myself through the “Dunkin Donuts Experience.” Shortly after speaking with her, the kind lady gets on the intercom and asks for 10 volunteers to take another flight. 10!? The flight was overbooked by 10 seats!? How is that even possible? I understand the overbooking concept; we do it all the time in hotels, but not by 10 rooms – that is extraordinary. I was unable to get on my flight, but Delta did oblige and grant me a complimentary hotel for the evening along with a few other amenities.
The flight I am not on takes off and I search for the shuttle to take me to the hotel I will call home for the evening. Once I check in, it is only 11:00 am so I decide to explore Atlanta. I have never spent time in Atlanta outside of a hotel or the airport. I ask a local I run into at the hotel and she tells me to check out “Ponce City Market.” I have nothing to lose so I summon an Uber and head that way. The moment I arrived is the moment I realized I must give off a “hipster” vibe to people that do not know me. It must have been the boots I had my jeans tucked into that gave it away. Walking around Hipsterville, I found a lot of clothing stores that individuals have opened to sell their “I graduated from fashion school” ideas, over-priced vegan restaurants and this really cool gift wrapping shop with break dancers to entertain the kids.
Other than the shops and restaurants I’m not really into, it was a really well laid out center with a very modern design. I have a few photos here, but they don’t do it justice. All of the walking around and fighting off the urge to rip holes in the knees of my jeans and toss bleach on my blouse made me hungry. I found an adorable restaurant“Bellina Alimentari” to give a try. Not only was the restaurant adorable, but they made their own pasta in house to order. Watching them make pasta while you wait is not only entertaining, but refreshing. The one thing that truly drew me in was the great selection of wine as well as a full bar. Remember I am in Hipsterville. When I say ‘full bar’, that means every bartender sports a mustache, man bun, and a passion for scotch. Regardless of the ‘I’m broke’ vibe everyone at the market radiated, everything was way out of my price range. All in all it was entertaining to walk around and enjoy something I wouldn’t have normally found myself exploring.
To wrap up the day of adventure, one of my friends/co-workers trolling my snap chat realized we were in the same city at the same time. A quick phone call turned into an unexpected dinner date at yet another vegan focused restaurant, “Sapori di Napoli.” We decided to get one of the few things on the menu with actual meat on it and indulged ourselves in a hearty pizza. The pizza was phenomenal, the atmosphere was acceptable and the company was irreplaceable. My favorite thing about this over-booked experience was the surprise of finding my friend in the same city at the same time for a quick hello and goodbye, until next time.