DHS is a pain in the ass.
It seems that searching my bags was not enough. I got selected for secondary screening when I went through the x-ray, and was given the old 3x over with the magic wand. They found nothing.
I'm starting to think that arriving in the states wearing an orange skirt, and a beard is perhaps not the best thing - even after I explained to the customs guy that Thailand has the death penalty for drugs - and that I'd be a complete idiot to bring anything in the country.
However, after all that - fate seemed to smile at me.
My flight from San Francisco -> Washington DC was heavily oversold, with a number of business-men who had paid full price fares and were demanding to be in DC that night....
I happily gave up my ticket, was put on a flight to Baltimore leaving 15 minutes later - and in exchange, was given a free round-trip ticket anywhere in the US + a one-way upgrade to 1st class for my next United trip. Awesome!
Fate continued to smile on me....
Kat met me at the airport, we drove to DC. On the way, I called up the Marriott and asked to speak to the manager. I explained the bump-situation, and told him that we'd had to rent a car to get from Baltimore to DC. Was there any way he could waive the $27 parking fee? He Could? Lovely.... He also confirmed that they'd given us a free upgrade from a deluxe room to a junior suite.
However - once we got to the hotel, I did my very best to flirt with the manager-on-duty. After a few minutes of heavily-British-Accented chatting with him (man/woman, it's all the same if it gets us a nicer hotel room), he announced that he'd upgraded us to an executive suite, and that he'd given us an extra-late checkout time of 5PM. Woo!!
The room.. oh, the room.
A huge bed, 2 bathrooms, a living room with a huge dining table, a mini-kitchen, and a HUGE rooftop balcony overlooking the NPR headquarters on K street.
The next morning, I called down to the reservations desk, and found out that the room would normally have cost $600.
The power of flirting, and a British accent!