Last day of conference. Trying to put that out of my mind. Seriously not a good conference at all. Either I am getting old or seriously was the worst conference I have ever attended. Might be both. Glad that is behind me. Unfortunately not a successful travel day though for us. Helen and Chloe had no trouble though. Flight left late but still arrived 20 minutes early. All the US airlines build in massive margins into their timetables so that they can show they were still on time. Michael and I had an altogether different experience.
We got to Union Station for our 1pm train, bought some lunch and settled in to wait for boarding only to hear it announced that our train was cancelled. We went to ticketing and were reissued with the 2:02pm train and at about 1:45pm they said it was delay to 2:30pm. Massive number of people. No trains arriving or leaving at all. I realised major problem somewhere. We Googled flights to NYC and saw lots of expensive options. At 2:05pm when they changed the departure to unknown time, I figured time to head for the airport.
Fortunately Washington Reagan Airport is right near the city centre and so we headed there. Called my SA travel agent (8:10pm in SA) and she booked us a flight while we were heading for the airport. Not cheap at $410 per seat but only other option was a 4-hour drive up to NYC and I didn’t really fancy that. I highly commend the travel agent (Harvey World based at Steenberg) for answering my call at 8:10pm and booking me a flight at that time as well. That’s what I call customer service! Our flight pushed back at exactly 4pm (the scheduled departure time) and we arrived in NYC at 5:10pm. Just checked and our train has still not left Union Station. #reallygooddecision
On the flight up I was reminded again how patriotic Americans are. They announced as we pushed back that there were a number of US military on the plane and everyone burst into applause. Seriously?! I almost felt embarrassed not to be applauding. I had an emergency exit row and they did a separate safety briefing for the people sitting in those rows. The steward waited for us all to be watching him. One guy was on his cellphone and he to him “don’t worry, we will all wait until you are finished, take your time” #sarcasm #whocaresaboutthecustomer
As it turned out half the plane were actually on the train and made the same decision. Person sitting next to Michael, people sitting both sides of me. Who suggested that taking the train was a good idea?! Won’t consider that again. Someone said it was a train accident, another person said an electrical fault, another that the wires had gotten crossed. No communication from Amtrak so there were definitely wires crossed just not sure whose wires.
The approaching into LaGuardia airport was amazing, We flew right around the Manhatten skyline. Unfortunately I was in an aisle seat so I didn’t get to photograph it. Taxi from the airport and we were finally reunited with Helen and Chloe at our midtown hotel (Intercontinental Barclay). Nice hotel. Small rooms but that is what you expect in midtown Manhatten. We met up for dinner with Daniel (my nephew who is studying at NYU) and after dinner we walked to Times Square. Chloe photo-bombed about 20 different pictures/selfies. Some random stranger (#goodlookingyounglady) walked up to Michael and gave him a rose. She said some stranger had given it to her. Michael tried passing it on to two middle aged ladies who rejected him. Rose went into the trash. I love Times Square. People everywhere. Biggest screens you can ever see.
New York is vibrant and always on the go. High rise buildings everywhere. Constant whistling (even now at 10:30pm) from the hotels for taxis. Looking forward to the next few days here.