Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Philly, Phriends, and Phlights

My full day of meetings behind me, Frenchy and I had some time to enjoy our weekend in the US. I decided that I'd spend a few hours taking care of something I'd not ever had time to deal with: one of my two NYC storage spaces. Ugh.

Knowing that you have a bunch of stuff in storage in another country sucks. Not having any idea what is in that storage sucks a lot more. The one thing I did know, however, was that I was going to clear out a lot of stuff and because I was short on time, I'd have to take care of it as quickly as possible. No excuses. Time to clear out!

Frenchy and I went to Hertz to pick up a car at 2pm. I forgot how slow they are there. Only one person working the counter at 2pm on the first awesome Friday of the spring. That poor woman. Anyway we finally had the car and were at the storage space by 3pm. I couldn't find my keys in my flat in Barcelona, so I had to pay them $25 to destroy my locks. Imagine. I have to pay THEM to break my stuff. Whatever. All you need is a HUGE drill. Keep that in mind.

By 4:45 we had some how cleared out my entire storage space (a surprising amount of stuff can fit in a 3 cubic meter space) and THEN somehow smooshed it all into a very small SUV and were on our way to dump everything on my unsuspecting sister in Philadelphia. Poor Nicole. Her house was so cute and tidy before Hurricane Noelle arrived. Now, in fairness to myself, I did make a bit of a mess, but I ALSO CLEANED IT UP! And got rid of a lot of stuff in the process. And left them with all my coolest belongings, like all my sporting goods, my samurai sword and my tsais (I figure you can't even check those in your baggage, so they stayed behind) and all my video games and DVDs. Hey, if you're gonna drop a load of junk on your sibling, at least make it QUALITY junk!

The rest of the weekend was a lovely collection of Philadelphia sightseeing (with shockingly warm, sunny weather), backyard barbecues, and tennis. My dad even happened to be in town for a night. I can never keep track of where my parents are at any given time, but they certainly turn up in the right place at the right time with shocking frequency.

On Sunday morning we took the train back to NYC. Impressive how a not-very-fast train can still get you somewhere in what would take 3 hours in a car. But this time, we were laden down with an extra bag thanks to my storage ransacking extravaganza. I told Frenchy as we got on the train: "Okay this train keeps going to Boston after we get off. So no leaving anything behind. NO DELIVERY SERVICE HERE." Everything was completely under control... until Frenchy decided he had to go to the bathroom 2 minutes before arrival at Penn Station.

At or around that time, we got separated by a wall of people who all wanted to get out of the train RIGHT NOW and Frenchy got stuck with the two big bags and me with the small ones. We were squashed on the super narrow escalator going up to to the main area of Penn Stations when Frenchy looked back at me and said, "Do I have the camera?" I looked at him and saw no sign of a camera. "No. And I don't either." And in a strange moment of zen, I said, completely relaxed, "That's it. It's gone. No more camera." Frenchy's jaw dropped.

Then the guy behind me said, "The train doesn't leave for like 5 minutes. You can go back and get it."

And that's when my second travel adventure of the weekend began. I left Frenchy with the pile of bags and convinced the woman fending off the crowd of people trying to get on the train that I just needed to go get a bag off the train. She let me pass and I raced down the escalator and realized I had NO idea where our car was. I was on the opposite side of the train and very confused. But then I found the cafe car and from there the car with the guy who had a cool bass amplifier, and from there the car with the sleeping baby in front and then... MY CAMERA BAG! Under the seat. How the heck did it get there? Never mind, had to get off the train before I got stuck en route to Beantown.

Good thing I got the camera back, too. Because after meeting my friends Ilmi, Melanie, and Philip for brunch at Schiller's in the Lower East Side for brunch, we headed to the Guggenheim and one of the coolest exhibits I've ever seen.

After something like that, you need a rest.
On Monday morning Frenchy and I packed our things and headed out for our last morning in Manhattan. We did some last minute shopping for our EU friends and had lunch with a few pals and it was time to head to the airport.

In other words, time for one more airport comedy show! On Sunday afternoon I had spent half an hour on the phone with Delta in order to request upgrades for Frenchy and myself (because I'm a fancy medallion member), and the woman told me I'd just have to ask about it when we checked in the next day. So check in we did, and we were told that Frenchy had been upgraded but not me. Strange. Never mind, the woman assured me that I was 2nd on the waitlist and would surely be upgraded as well, particularly since I'm the Medallion member.

Great, so we headed straight for the gate to get our new boarding passes printed. At which point the guy at the desk looked at me like I was speaking Chinese and insisted he had no upgrades and no waitlist. Now, I could get into the details that followed here, but honestly I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Fortunately Frenchy decided that, for the first time, I should have photographic evidence of one of my travel nightmares. (He also said I should try to get a job negotiating such things because I've become so good at it apparently... I didn't manage to get the upgrades, but I did manage to get 3000 free miles from Delta after I complained, so maybe I should just get a job as a part-time negotiator.) And like the say, a picture is worth 1000 words. So here's 3000 for you:


Dining Diana said...

fantastic pics! makes me feel like im right there with you.....and a little frustrated :)

Yelena said...

1) yay, i am an EU friend!!!! :))
2) digging the photojournalistic attempts to document airport life :)