Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Trip Across the Pond

The ride to BWI was extremely simple. One of the easiest trips to the Baltimore I've had. Found a parking space right next to the shuttle stop in the long term lot. Made it to the check-in desk without a line. Both bags were under the weight allowed. Breezed through security in 15 minutes. Sat down and read for a bit. Had a pretzel. Browsed a few shops. We board the plane, drop the bags on the tarmac-pick up the bags on the tarmac, start to taxi out, and stop. The captain says there's some weather in NYC, so all flights are on hold. What? They switched our flights, so we only had 2 hours between, and now he's talking about a 50 minute delay?! 15 minutes go by and he says he trying to take a different route, which will be longer, but get us into the airport ahead of the adjusted time. Better, but not good. Then he comes over the intercom and says we're a go. Back on schedule. He dropped the hammer, and made it into JFK within 10 minutes of the original time! Nice and easy. Ah, breathe.

Getting from Terminal 2 to Terminal 4 at JFK, not so easy. "Just go up there and stay left." I'm in the middle of a square building...how left is left? "International terminals, out the door." Ok, I'm outside, looking at a 2 lane road with construction going on. Where to now? "Just go down the sidewalk...and keep going." Yeah, even in New York, the sidewalks have potholes. And they are 2 feet wide. Not conducive to dragging a carry-on behind you. Especially with buses hugging the curb. We make it inside the International terminal and it's a completely different world. The US Open for tennis was being held during this time, so there were a lot of fans (and I'm assuming a few players too) headed home. Of course, the door we entered was on the opposite end from the check-in counter for Air France.

All checked-in, now it's time to go through security, again. Imagine a crew of New Yorkers, dealing with thousands of people daily, many of which have no idea what is being said to them. Yeah, good times. Talk about being cow herded. Moo. I was amazed that they didn't require us to take our watches and jewelry off there, but every place was a little different as I found. After 45 minutes of moo, we emerge into the terminal and are bombarded with Duty Free shops. I'm not shocked, really, but it's like 5th Avenue in there. We actually walked to the terminal and right onto the plane. The shorter layover period is starting to pay off, but made the cattle walk a little anxious.

The very last row of an AirBus is an interesting place. Thankfully there aren't any bathrooms at the rear, but it's where the plane goes from 2-4-2 seats in a row to 2-3-2. And there is a decent amount of room behind you for gathering and hanging out. Despite the 5 hours of popcorn in the cabin, there was always a crowd behind me the entire trip. Odd, given we took off at 4pm and landed at 5:30am. That was a quick sunset. It being an AirFrance flight, English was sometimes the third set of instructions...which often sounded like the first two. This was one of the first times in my life that I truly felt out of place. Just a weird vibe on the flight. But hey, it was a means to get to St Andrews!!!!

Here's the mushy part. We got a sunrise in Paris for our honeymoon! The flight to Edinburgh was uneventful, and things were going well. Until we go to pick up our luggage from the carousel and the big suitcase was beaten to crap. The handle was broken. There's a rip in the back. One of the spine was snapped. There were skidmarks on the side. On wheel was stuck. We go to the baggage help window, the girl takes one look at it, and says "Yeah, we know. That's the one that got stuck on the ramp and was about to get crushed." Ok....what are you going to do about it? "When you get home, file this claim on-line, and we'll most likely send you money for it." I guess I can limp this thing through.....

We find Neil our driver in the lobby, hop in the Mercedes Van!!! And we're off to the Old Course Hotel. He gives us the little history lessons along the way. It's odd riding on the wrong side. Look out dude, he's coming right for!!! Oh, never mind, that was close. He shows us where Mary Queen of Scots used to stop for tea in the middle of the River. He points out the little towns here and there. He tells us we're about 25 mintues to the hotel....

The neat thing about entering St Andrews is that it doesn't do it gently. It's like ripping a bandaid off. All of a sudden, you are there. The first thing you see is the Strathtyrum Course. Then the practice area. Then the rugby fields for the University. Then the Hotel. Blam. It's right there. There's no distance viewing, trying to guess how much longer. It's upon you all at once, within 30 seconds.

No comments:

Post a Comment