Whereby I chronicle the life and times of my trek to Salt Lake City, aka The City That Never Drinks, for the Sundance Film Festival.

Nassau Airport: 12:10PM EST

Sweet Jayzus, I hate this airport. Crappy cafeteria. No wireless (at least no working version, I did manage to find a BaTelCo connection in my network list but sadly, it works on the same schedule as the rest of the comany. I.E. not on days that end in a 'y'.) Carpet that looks like it was originally the national colours of blue and yellow but now has taken on a shade that I doubt even Crayola could find names for, unless they have a line of crayons for adults.

But despite the best efforts of both the Sir Lyndon O. Pindling Bahamas Airport (aka, SLOP BS Airport), I am giddy with anticipation.

There were early setbacks when trying to purchase tickets. Was given a mere half hour window to phone and lines were as responsive as your average Department of Motor Vehicles agent. Luckily, they also allowed you to purchase online at any time with a computer system that I am going to call Vendetta Ticketing System after both its personal attacks on my resolve and my subsequent threats to hunt down its creators.

However, I am now in virtual possession of thirteen tickets for $15 each (plus various fees and charges, including, if I read the statement correctly, a $2.70 Redford Botox fee which I can't quite explain.) And now, my excitement is tempered only by the very loud, very frequent, very incoherent flight announcements that sound like the adults in Charlie Brown, but with a Bahamian accent.

Atlanta Airport: 4:45PM EST

I swear the Delta Lounge had food last time I was here. I'm &*%$ starving! Can't believe I have to head down to Chick-Fil-A just to eat around here. Oh well, the Cape Cod chips will have to suffice until I'm done talking to you people.

Atlanta is basking under a blanket of fog today, such that our landing was reminiscent of a key scene in Die Hard 2 and was cause for alarm for this easily-nauseated passenger. Connection leaves in an hour and a half (maybe) and I'll probably spend the time wandering the airport which I do so enjoy doing. There are some awesome conversations to be gleaned. As I type this, the guy next to me is about to set a record for most utterances per hour of the phrase "Are you aware that..." in a stern voice. And that is not a phrase I like being on the receiving end of in general.

Plus he's talking into one of those earpieces that always makes me think of the more colorful folks back in Winnipeg that would wander The Forks talking to themselves. Guess they were ahead of their time...

 Shilo Inn - Salt Lake City: 10:30PM MST

24 hour hot tub! In a day of accumulating annoyances, those four words make it all worthwhile. Half hour delay in leaving Atlanta reminds me to pass on a travelling tip from Mrs. Hillbilly's boss who I'm betting travels more than you do: a minimum of two hours between connections. Accept that as fact when booking flights. It's the reason I have to leave here at the un-hillbilly hour of six am on the 29th rather than a more sportsmanlike eleven o'clock. Yes, I'll have to get up at three in the morning but I (and more importantly, my luggage) have a more sporting chance of making it home with my 2.5 hour layover as opposed to the 35 minute one offered by the eleven o'clock flight.

Kudos to the Shilo Inn for a good first impression. Along with the 24 hour spa that threatens to cut into my movie viewing time, it boasts a microwave and fridge in the room, free wireless that just plain works and the friendliest hotel staff ever. One lady behind the counter greeted me like I was a childhood friend she hadn't seen in twenty years. I felt badly that all I wanted was change for the drink machine so I made up a backstory about our mutual childhood and asked her how her younger brother Eddie was coping with the rehab. (Apparently, he's not taking to it and her family is planning yet ANOTHER intervention. YEESH! You think he'd appreciate all she's done for him over the years. It's too bad, she's such a nice girl to give up her dreams of becoming a Cirque Du Soleil performer for this idiot. Oh well, she'll always be the shy girl with an uncanny knack for monkey bars to me.)

Movie-going started a bit early with a viewing of The Queen on the plane ride from Atlanta. Stupendous, stupendous movie, especially if you have at least a passing fancy in the inner workings of the monarchy which I do. A full review will probably be forthcoming at my regular haunt shortly. One thing that befuddled me is that they bleeped out any references to God or Jesus, and these two were mentioned pretty regularly, particularly by Prince Philip when referring to the British people but not usually in the religious sense. Anyway, I guess it's safer to offend movie-goers sensitive to censorship issues than it is religious nutters. And it was kind of fun to repeat the line in my head with the word "smurf" filled in instead of the dangerous references to a higher power.

Tomorrow proves to be very exciting and we are encouraged from our conversation with another friendly Shilo employee who said tickets are pretty easy to come by if you just show up. We mentioned the wait list process which is only slightly less complicated than your average rocket launch and he had no idea what we were talking about.

Finally, much gratitude and love to Mrs. Hillbilly for reminding me why I married her: her unnatural ability to foresee exactly what I'll need when packing my suitcase.