Thursday, June 20, 2013

Day 1 Travels and Tribulations

So, generally speaking, I travel with a crew of relaxed/late travelers.  I like being there early.  Plenty of time for beers at the airport and in general, a relaxed airport experience.  I was planning to have Mom or Dad drop me at Logan Express at 5:30 so that I could be at the airport by 6:30 for my 9:00 flight and go get a few beers and dinner and watch the Bruins’ pre-game stuff and catch a little of the first period.

That brings me to today.  I got out of school at noon full of hugs, good wishes, and cadre of Bath and Body Works products (they must have had a sale this week).  I ran a ton of errands, Wal-mart, Target, the library, bank, lunch, etc.  Finally got in the shower around 4.  About 4:15, I was sitting on the floor in my room playing on my laptop trying to update my iPad, iPhone, and iPod so that I had my book, movie, and song situation in order.  I somehow, happen to glance at my boarding pass on the floor.  And there, staring back me, is “Boarding Time 6:15 p.m.)  I don't know why I had 9 in my head but I did. 

Turns out, the flight was at 7:10 p.m.  I was planning to have Mom or Dad drop me at Logan Express at 5:30 so that I could be at the airport by 6:30 and go get a few beers and dinner and watch the Bruins’ pre-game stuff.  That changed into a full on panic throw everything on the floor that looks like it could be useful on a plane into your school bag.  Grabbed my 80% but now 100% packed suitcase and flew down the stairs.  Mom was planning to drive me to Logan Express because doesn’t EVER go in town.  It was now almost 10 to 5 and I didn’t think I had time for the Express, especially if I had just missed a bus.  So, luckily Daddy showed up and after questioning my overall intelligence several times (keep in mind this is a guy that once got dropped at the airport and left his suitcase in the car and bought all his supplies at Wal-Mart when the plane landed).  

Dad did some bad-ass back road navigating so we got on 93 by the Mount Vernon in Somerville in less than 15 minutes.  We had horrific traffic for another 20 minutes.  Dad finally dropped me at the airport at 5:30 with boarding time of 6:15.  I handed my bag and $5.00 to a sky cap and ran to the security line the first 

Security went real quick and by 6:45 and had the following exchange:

TSA guy:  Oh man, Amsterdam, well Amanda, I hope you have an awesome time.

Me:  Well actually KEVIN, I’m running a little late so I’m actually having one big PANIC ATTACK.   But thanks.\
I continued on to my gate through 2 sets of escalators and two walking ramps and once I saw the gate was finally able to relax and email Corey that I would, in fact, be arriving tomorrow.

At the bar, I drank the five quickest Bud Lights of my life while talking to a real nice bartender in a “Boston Strong” shirt who also wondered aloud why I wouldn’t check my flight time but gave me two free Bud Lights (and I think pocketed the cash that he did charge me).  Works for me.  Every time I went to leave, Bartender would stand on the back of the bar to check the flight line.  Then I’d have one more. 
I finally got to the flight with plenty of time to spare (This is a giant flight.  Probably the biggest I’ve been on.  At least 300 people if not more.  Seats go two, four, two and I’m in row 33 with a good bunch behind me.) 

Few other flight thoughts:
*Free beer and wine.  I like your style Delta.

*I think this comes from being a teacher but I really appreciate when people follow the rules.  There’s a lady about four rows up that you can just tell thinks she’s a hot shit, that while the “fasten seatbelt” sign has been on during our take off has twice gotten up to get a bag or move shit around in the overhead compartment and then once to go the bathroom.  I can’t be sure, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t drink 80 ounces of Bud Light before she got on the plane.  So in other words, I want to go superglue her to her seat.  But in the nicest possible way.

*My flight companion is an older Scottish grandma going home via Amsterdam from visiting her grandkids.  She agrees with me that that lady above should have stayed in her seat.

*My Scottish grandma while seemingly having no desire to talk to me did wait for me to get my entrée with the main cabin while she had her diabetes meal.  Sometimes it’s the little things.

*Unless you were born before 1937, take off your shoes.  Do I believe that this in any way makes me safer?  No, but that is the rule and you are choosing to fly by air so take them off.  (I’m taking to you lady with the jean capris and the white take top collared whatever that was shirt). 

*The flight attendant used her hands to signal to someone what a drink is, (hand cupped to her face), leads me to believe that that person doesn’t deserve a drink.  It’s a beverage cart.  You can have a drink.  I would call said person a dumbass but you’re talking to someone that didn’t check what time their flight went off at. 

*The guy on my flight in the Bruin’s jersey and me in my Marchard shirt had a fine time talking ourselves into the fact that there would 1. be wifi, 2. be a pilot that would give us updates, 3. would be on the plane TV.  Yup, we’re 0-3 on that front.  Go B’s though. 

*Scratch that, Scottish grandma just dug into her low sugar meal leaving me behind. 

*Delta actually has a lot of good options on the TV front (HBO, Showtime).  Just none of them were the Stanley Cup Finals however. 

*Pretty good food, too.  For dinner we your choice (unless you were in row 33) of vegetarian pasta, cold chicken salad, or hot chicken and rice.  I ended up with the pasta which was just red sauce and cheese (topped with vile olives – all olives are vile) and it came with a roll, cheese and crackers, a blondie, and a role.  Pretty good.  (I can tell I’m tired because I just spelled my dinner “roll” role in the first time through that).

*I don’t know why I want to go kick the guy stretching his legs out by the “galley” in the shin.  I just do. 

*I came on the plane with The Great Gatsby, The Killer Angels, the newest book by the Kite Runner author (I forget the game of it) and two Amsterdam tour guides.  I then slept from the end of dinner (8:30 or so EST) till now which is 12:06 a.m EST which is a great amount of sleep for a 6 hour flight but I don’t think it’s going to be enough to get me through the day. 
*Actually he did update us.  6-5 OT loss.  Bleh.

*On the way off there was an announcement by the pilot to stay in our seat so that the paramedics could help the medical emergency.  Some really pale poor lady was wheeled up to the front with an IV bag.  I missed that during my nap I guess. 

*I usually try not to sleep when I arrive places in the morning so that I don't get jet lagged.  It became pretty clear this morning that was not going to work.  I ended up sleeping for an other three hours and got up around 1 and showered and headed out.

*To say that the train system / schedule is confusing is a drastic understatment.  First off you have to use an automated machine to buy your ticket, which is fine, except that you have to have coins or a debit card to purchase.  My visa didn't work (not due to lack of funds - yet), I didn't have coins so I bought a coffee and used that change, except that wasn't enough change, so someone is getting a sweet "I love Amsterdam" magnet, too.  Once you get your ticket, you go down to a group of two tracks and on one of them, your train will come and even though it says a track number it probably won't be the one written on your ticket.  They all look different and some are express and some are local and you want a local but it doesn't say it anyway, only the final destination village (which I guess is normal like when you get on a Forest Hills train).  I didn't want to get on the wrong one so I let two go by and then finally hopped on board.  There's first class and second class (I bought a second class but have no idea where I sat).  Best part is, people with the Charlie Card equivalent swipe their card and everyone with a one ride paper ticket just walks through.  No scanning, no one checking. 

*I'm suprised that there aren't more Dutch NBA players.  These humans are huge.

*Just had a pretty good turkey sandwich at a cafe next to the Anne Frank House.  The line is enormous.  I would like to go but am adverse to standing in long lines for anything.  I may try to come back tomorrow earlier in the day but for now I think I'm going to go check out the Van Gogh Museum before heading back to the hotel. 

*I think I'm going to go on one of my long trips tomorrow but the location has yet to be decided.  Stay tuned!

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