25 December, 2009

the entire story

It's Christmas day--what else do I have to do besides recount my tales of travel from the past week?
Oh yea- memorize dialogue and that last aria in upcomingopera1. Buuuut---I'm so laaaazy and it's CHRIIIIISTMAS..you can't do work on Christmas! hahaha--right? Right.

Ready? OK!

Thursday night: Leave NYC via train to upstate parents-house where all my stuff is waiting for me to unpack and repack, as usual.

Friday: Repack my stuff, adding more winter sweaters, dropping off Tshirts I had still not brought back since the summer, add necessary items from Target such as citrus ginger spice for chicken/fish, baking soda and baking powder, and figure out a way to pack my newly purchased Gucci by Gucci for him AND for her scents (how cute, we match)...without having the bottles break all over my sweaters in transit. Oh. Also packed a bottle of Alkalol. Singers, if you don't know what this is, look it up ASAP. A teaspoon of this plus some warm water in a "nasendusche" and you are officially cured of EVERYTHING.

Also, wrapped my full sized keyboard in my jeans, cuorderoys, leggins and workout clothes, wrapped THAT in a body pillow I wanted to bring back here, wrapped THAT in tons of tape, and put the whole caboodle into an extra long garment bag. (wrapped in tape).

Saturday: Looked at the weather report at 9am and was like- hmm...this looks KINDA bad. Should I take my HUGE 48 pound suitcase plus the unwieldy unfoldable and unbendable garment bag-keyboard to NYC a day early? I mean, JFK is known for general crappiness in bad weather and..IN GENERAL. So. What can I do? What if I can't get to the airport because of the snow?

Last minute decision at 11am:
Get in the car with my dad, drive directly to a best western near jfk (2 miles away) that was charging TWO FIFTY a night instead of the regular NINETY NINE just because of the IMPENDING snow storm. EVERYWHERE else was sold out. I'm not kidding you.
So. I pay. I get to the hotel at 1:15, JUSt as the first flurries start to fall.
My dad has to turn around and try to out-drive the snow to get back upstate (he did).

And me- I am like- oh, let's go outside and grab some food and some magazines at cvs.
Except--outside is the BELT PARKWAY and I am surrounded on the left by a Days inn and on the right by the Holiday Inn. There is seriously nothing.

The front desk gives me three menus- chinese, indian and pizza. And so- I order for the next day and a half, since I know no cars are going to be on the road that night.
A wrap, a pizza, and buffalo wings. I know- SO healthy.
I make good choices! YUM. NOT.

Ok, food comes 40 minutes later. The wings are GROSS. Eat one and then basta.
The pizza is fine- eat three slices (oops). Dinner was the wrap (the wrap was grossly hard, but whatever--turkey and cheese is inside, so it's ok).
I am telling you people, when EVER I have the option to watch tv- FINALLY- there is NOTHING on. I even had three showtime channels!
But what- am I going to watch The Mist? That crap is SCARY! NO WAY!
They were playing CRAP the entire day, AND there was no law and order marathon--what's up with THAT?! Yea, thanks Saturday afternoons.
By 9pm I was so stir crazy that I actually decided to check out the 'gym'.
The 'gym' actually being a room with 4 computers, a treadmill and a bike--which was also the 'business center'.
I jogged for 27 minutes, and then called it quits.
A warm shower and 2nd half of the wrap later and I was ready to attempt to go to sleep, all the while checking my flight status online (via iphone) and changing the channel on awful tv.

Next morning: Must check out at 12. Got on the airport shuttle at 12:30. Streets were being cleared, there were MAJOR delays and cancellations from last night, BUT- it looks like there is NO reason my flight shouldn't leave.

So. I get to the airport, I check my 2 bags (pay 50 bucks for the keyboard), and ..what else--DUTY FREE!! I already received an overseas 'order' for Tanqueray, I bought myself Coco Mademoiselle, and then wandered around.
What to do..what to do... for 7 hours in an airport.

Study the music I'm supposed to memorize? NO! Buy Wedding Magazines!!
Eat at Au Bon Pain!
Have chocolate chip cookies for NO REASON!

Yes, that was until 5pm, when I was like- OK, let me be the 'good' passenger and go through security EARLY to get to my gate (which is isolated from all the stores).
I walk up to the monitor to make sure my gate is the same ... and...
my flight is NOT THERE>

I check my iphone flight status.---


And now the fun begins.
I walk upstairs to where I checked in, and there are FIVE HUNDRED people at least-- waiting in the 'rebooking' line. And about 30 waiting in the 'check in' line.
OBVIOUSLY I did not wait in the 500 person line.
I kind of attached myself to some Germans who were complaining about their flight being cancelled too..and when the next person was free in the rebooking line, I went up to them.

I must have seemed about to CRACK to the lady at the desk although I was extreeeemely calm and collected and said- I need to get to Europe. Anywhere in Europe. As soon as possible.
And she was all like- "honey I will get you there.".
The next time you can fly to Frankfurt is on THursday.
GREAT! Cuz it's SUNDAY today.

So. No.
Anywhere else?
Brussels. Tomorrow night at 7.

AND she put me in first class. Although- no mention of where I was supposed to sleep tonight, OR the fact that we weren't "sure" my bags would be re-tagged for Brussels and not Frankfurt.

And so- I took a car service to my bff in Brooklyn who always so kindly lets me crash on her couch and gives me an extra tshirt to sleep in when all I have are the gross clothes I've been wearing in the airport all day.

Next day- get a NY bagel in the morning, take ANOTHER car service back to the airport at 2.
Check in- thank the LORD I was upgraded, because they have a separate checkin line, and the coach line was MASSIVE.
I ask the woman where my bags will go. She says- supposedly Brussels. Awesome.

I go to DUTY FREE- AGAIN (oh, by the way- when my flight was cancelled yesterday I had to go BACK to duty free, tell them my flight was cancelled, and give them my receipt to get my money back---since they only deliver the stuff to you when you get on the plane).

Buy the same stuff, and wait.
Music learn? NO.
There's just something about being stressed at an airport. It's not conducive to ANYTHING.
Try to read. Check the flight updater.
Now, it's 6:15. Check-in time.
They even made the announcement that we will board first class first. The flight crew already is ON the plane...

And then...

So. We are delayed. Who knows for how long.
First, an hour.
Then, the pilot comes out and says- it's a problem with the FLAPS--which we need in order to LAND.
But he "thinks" it will be fixed by 11- which is our max. time that they can hold the flight for.
So the whole flight is told- go to gate 11 and get a dinner voucher.
And do you know how much a meal ANYWHERE in the airport costs at dinner-time? Yea...at least 14.
I stand in a line, AGAIN to ask ANOTHER lady whether there is ANY other flight going anywhere in Europe. Tonight.
She's like- you were supposed to go to FF, why aren't you going there? And I'm like- the lady last night said I could only get to Brussels.
Of course- for her to put me on standby for the frankfurt flight (with 16 other people which means I'd never make it)..she would have to take me OFF the brussels flight.

So. I sit. I eat at Chili's. I wait. We have a gate change! Halleluja! Are we leaving?
We have a NEW PLANE! They kicked an LA-bound flight off to our plane, because they could wait longer than we could.
so. 10:15. I'm ON the plane.
But no, we can't leave the gate because--there is another plane BLOCKING us from moving..they don't know where to put it...
umm--hello? it's an AIRPORT! I'm sure you can figure out how to move a plane 50 feet so we can BACK IT UP!

We take off.

12pm- I land in Brussels. Look, I'm not going to say first class on an intl. flight wasn't super-snazzy, but I was already having such a bad time of it all...I couldn't take full advantage of my situation.

So. Brussels. Of course the greatest thing ever is getting off of the plane first and going through customs with no line--but all of that is only worth it if you DON"T CHECK BAGS!
And of COURSE mine came out THREE MINUTES after I was supposed to catch my TRAIN from Brussels Airport to Brussels Central, so that I could make a Brussels to Cologne and then Cologne to Frankfurt Train- BEFORE FIVE PM.

Fast forward to the next train- the SLOW ONE.
I get to Brussels Central, RUN with my two freaking huge and heavy bags, get on the Thalys train (French fast train)--with NO ticket, (along with a zillion other people who had been cancelled or delayed from the storms in Belgium and England and France for the past day)...and am STANDING for three hours on a train.
The conductor comes by and there is such a fuss by everyone else that me not having a ticket seems totally fine. Pay with credit card. Nice.

Get to Cologne and have 6 minutes to change trains..without suitcases, I would have been GOLDEN.
With them--I get to the ICE (fast) train to Frankfurt AS the doors are closing..and the door conductor doesn't hold it. RUDE!
So I'm super angry now, AND the handle on the garment bag that's holding the keyboard breaks, AND I'm full of general grime from lugging already-dirty bags.

30 minutes later and one station change later via Sbahn, I'm on the Frankfurt bound train. To the airport...where I was supposed to arrive on Monday morning. Not Tuesday at 8:30pm.

Made it home via tram by 9.
Best part?

Silver Lining? Went to a spa the next day for 2 hours of sauna, hot spring, steam room, foot bath and other amazing relaxing things.

And now, Xmas day- woke up at 2 (well...got out of BED at 2)...it's 6 now. Maybe I'll do something musical that I'm supposed to...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To have a trip like yours is one of my worst nightmares. Congratulations for surviving it. BTW: I love your blog and am your faithful reader and fan :)

Happy New Year with zero flights cancelled and tons of happiness