Monday, July 9, 2012
From LA To New York
9th Jul 2012
Terrible night at the Radisson. We were sweaty and sticky and the air conditioner kept turning itself on and off regularly. The "sleep number" beds weren't that comfy either. You can pump them up to be hard to let them down to be soft but mine went about halfway and thus I slept on an angle. Managed about 5 hours sleep all up.
Dragged ourselves up at 5.30am and made it into the transfer bus, jam packed in with a bunch of others. Thankfully it got us there by 6.20 or so. Then we entered Delta Hell. Problem one: can't check in with the computer kiosk because it insists we buy extra luggage and then rejects our credit card. We solve this by heading to talk to a real person. She helpfully fixes the problem (I'd already paid the $25 per bag fee) and then tells us to check our bags. Without thinking, I send mine off first, forgetting it's unlocked. Then, as it's tootling off down the conveyor belt, Luke weighs his.
Nope, she says. That's 14 pounds overweight. It's 50 pounds per bag.
But hang on, we say. My bag was 14 pounds lighter.
Nope, she says. It's on a per-bag basis, you can't net weigh them.
Cue the swearing.
Well, bring back Karen's bag, Luke says.
Nope, she shrugs. It's gone. That'll be $90 for the overweight bag.
Thankfully she lets us repack the bag. We've accumulated a lot of extra weight while in the RV including bottles of wine, kitchen utensils, bike locks and food. We throw away a tin of Milo and shampoo and conditioner. We stuff dirty clothes and other items into our carryons. We get frustrated and sweaty but eventually it's all out of Luke's bag and it tips the scales at 50 pounds.
Problem solved. We hope.
Off we go to Gate 68B, way down the end of a long hallway and line up for our little bit of US security theatre. Shoes off, belts off, jackets off, everything in the trays, then it's backscatter x-ray time. Both of us opt out, preferring the pleasant idea of a feeling-up to the uncertainty of backscatter radiation. Except the female feel-up-person doesn't arrive. I wait and I wait and my stuff is piling up unattended at the end of the conveyor built. In the meantime Luke has a pleasant enough interaction with a feel-up person with no hard feelings. He didn't even tell them to not touch his junk.
Eventually I gave up and just put myself through the scanner. Here's hoping they don't find out a single dose causes major damage.
We squashed onto the plane along with a tour load of Japanese kids who were rather badly behaved. Took off and headed east. I'd planned to sleep but the view out the window kept me awake - acres of desert, Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains... glorious stuff. I couldn't help but feel amazed that people would keep their blinds down as we flew over it. But then it got cloudy so I took a nap.
We changed planes at Cincinatti after a sideways landing. Hi. I'm in cincinatti. Piled immediately onto a much nicer plane with less people and wider seats. This time we flew over farmland and constantly populated countryside.
The landing into La Guardia was fairly hairy, full of sharp drops, steep turns and sudden touchdown on a runway that was only just there. Had a few heebie jeebie moments, imagining what it was like for those people on the 9/11 planes.
Once landed we collected our bags and arranged a shuttle bus. Shared it was a family from Iowa who were in to see the big city. Luke made them laugh by promising not to molest the large truck driver who was forced to sit next to him. They were an amusing cliche, the teenage daughter hating every moment, the little girl laughing at horses and not shutting up. Good fun.
We dropped them at Times Square and headed to the Upper West Side where Hotel Belleclaire is. The hotel is undergoing renovation, hence the cheap rooms. It's an old building but the rooms are swish, nice beds, hardwood floors, renovated bathrooms, though a bit small. Only problem is the in-window air-conditioner. Loud enough to wake the dead. Here's hoping the heatwaves stay away.