Friday, October 5, 2012

Rolling With the Punches

Well, my trip is not quite off to the start I anticipated. I write this from JFK airport in Queens. 22 hours ago, I was supposed to be taking off for Iceland. And....I'm still here, sitting at an airport bar, drinking over-priced red wine.

The short story: my flight out of Orlando was delayed for several hours for no stated or discernable reason, then a storm blew in, and delayed us even more, then they started letting flights leave but only every 5 minutes, finally we got in the air and landed in New York but by the time I got of the plane, ran to a shuttle, took the shuttle, ran across this street into another concourse, and then finally got to a whole 'nother security checkpoint, it was too late and my flight to Iceland had already pushed away from the gate. Mind you, it then sat on the runway for a long, long time. I knew this because the friend I was supposed to be traveling with (who flew to JFK from Chicago and made the connection) texted me as I sat in front of a ticket agent, fuming and re-booking my flight for 24 hours later (not a lot of flights going to Iceland), letting me know that "we haven't actually left yet! Just come knock on the door!"

Turns out the delay can be blamed on cocaine. The airplane I was supposed to take to New York arrived in Orlando from Bogota, Colombia. At some point, whether in Colombia or Florida, the plane was dismantled and searched for drugs, thus throwing off the entire schedule. You can't make this stuff up.

And, I have to say, although Jet Blue angered me at first for the delay and somewhat haphazard (non)communication (now that I know the problem, I'm a little more understanding, I mean, what do you expect a ticket agent to say, "sorry, random drug bust here, we're searching the bowels of the plane for narcotics, should be done soon and then we'll be ready to load you up"?), they made it up to me by paying for my hotel room.

So I'm tried to make the best of this lousy situation, knowing it's only the first in what will surely be several wrinkles to my travel plans. I didn't cry, not at all....I'm saving my tears for a truly desperate situation. And I've been making lots of friends. I had always heard that it's not hard to meet people when you're traveling abroad on your own, and just hanging out in the international terminal at JFK is proving that to be true. I met a nice guy from Amsterdam. A friendly Canadian couple that lives in Paris, whose return home was also impacted by the airplane drug raid. And the manager of the hotel in which I stayed, who seemed so utterly shocked and pleased when I pressed "Doors Open" to halt the closing elevator doors when I heard him coming down the hall, that he hooked me up with cheap, delicious Indian food and then had an entire bottle of red wine, completely gratis, delivered to my room. That seemed odd, but it's possible that I just had that "I really need a lot of wine" look. Quite possible, indeed.

Photographic proof that I did, indeed, see the Statue of Liberty.

And with my re-scheduled flight out of New York not taking off until almost 9:00 PM, I had an entire day to explore the city. I've been to New York a few times, but usually for work, meaning that I've walked a half-mile Midtown stretch between hotel and office many, many times, but haven't seen much of the rest of the city. I loaded a subway map onto my iPhone, grabbed a train into Manhattan, and spent the day just being a total, unabashed tourist. I should have just bought and changed into an I Love NY t-shirt, snapped on a fanny pack, and been done with it. I explored Chelsea and Greenwich Village. I went to the new 9/11 Memorial. I hoofed it to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty. I snapped pictures of famous skyscrapers and meandered my way up to Central Park. It was a beautiful early fall day in New York, and although I would rather have been in Reykjavik, drinking Icelandic beers with Blaine, I couldn't complain that much about landing in the Big Apple, instead.

Look closely, those are all alcohol laels. This is ART.
Exactly what I feared, as I traipsed around in tourist-chic (read: dorky) running shoes
The other times I've been here, I just walked back and forth to this building, from my fancy hotel, stopping at 4-star restaurants. I miss the expense account days!!
The highlight, of course, was catching up with one of my best friends/ cross-country teammates from high school, Eissa. I hadn't seen her for, I think, eight years. That's a lot of life to catch up on, but we did a great job of it over two hour while sitting in a park and eating gourmet food truck lunches. Eissa's one of those kind of girls that manages to juggle so many things, and do so so successfully, that you wonder if she's actually got some sort of secret super power that allows her to stretch her days beyond 24 hours. She's got the successful New York career, the new husband, the devotion to her family.....and then she still has the energy to say things like, "I might just jump into a marathon this weekend, just for fun." The girl's run 25+ marathons, done two Ironmans, some ultra-marathons, lots of other stuff along the way. AND, she coaches others, on the side. I'm exhausted just writing about it. Totally inspiring.

Hopefully the next time I log in, it'll be with great stories and pictures from Iceland. Blaine's been taunting me by texting pictures of all the great Icelandic things he's seeing as I sit in Queens, paying way too much for my red wine. It's mean, but it's also building the anticipation. He declared earlier that he could "live in Iceland," so it sounds like it's just as awesome as I'm imagining.

Don't fight the rats, embrace them through statues
Central Park
Another dorky tourist pic

1 comment:

  1. yayyyyy!!!! I made it on the blog. a blast seeing you too, iron-stud. have an amazing time adventuring around. excited to keep reading about it. xo E