Monday, July 27, 2009

Travel Yin and and Yang on Crack

I love to travel, so the past two weeks have been nothing but chaotic pleasure. I went on a cruise with a friend, and had more fun than is recommended by the Surgeon General. I got to snorkel, eat delicious meals (each and every dessert contained Grand Marnier liqueur--ooh, lala!), have relaxing visits on the balcony of our suite overlooking the bluest water I've ever seen, and so on. It was a relaxing trip that never stopped moving...literally (the boat pretty much always moved and when it did, I got off it!) and figuratively (I was on non-stop sight seeing mode).

Then, of course, I jetted off to NYC for a few days immediately afterward and spent six days wandering around, and bussing around on a guided tour. I saw all the big spots and several smaller spots. I spent too much money on food and stuff I didn't need. I saw the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Central Park, and so on and so on. I wore out my sandals from walking. I saw my first Broadway musical.

So, that pretty much sums up my idea of heaven. Stuff to see and do every day for two weeks.

If only it weren't for the airlines, which were required to make it possible. A flight delay from Florida (the weather's fault, I grant you) meant, I got to Des Moines at 11:30 pm on Monday. My flight to NYC left La Crosse at 5:20 am on Tuesday. Five and half hours between flights, and a four hour drive from one place to the next. So, I drove like a madwoman from midnight to 4am, repacked and left my house again at 4:15am to get to the La Crosse airport again. All things told, I ended up being awake for 36 hours.

Then, coming home last night, we boarded the plane just a few minutes late (at 6:30pm). Great. But it was raining with lightning, so we had to wait to leave...along with all the other planes at La Guardia, leading to a major traffic backup. At about 7:30 or 8pm, we were about to pull away from the gate when another storm blew in. So we sat. Then we sat on the runway for awhile. We finally took off about about 9:40pm...more than three hours after we sat down on the plane. That's later than the time we were supposed to land in La Crosse.

And, as luck would have it, we missed our connection, which was the last flight to La Crosse for the day. So we got sent on a fool's errand around the Minneapolis airport, being misinformed by one Delta airline representative after another about our options for sleeping at the airport till our plane left at 10:00 the next morning. We were told there would be pillows and blankets as well as mats. Then that there would only be mats. Then we argued a little more and they finally coughed up some crappy, useless pillows and blankets. We found a supposedly quiet spot to sleep, but there was construction and cleaning crew noise all night. Fortunately, we got out of there on time this morning.

Airlines can't help the weather, but honestly. What a nightmare flying is. My love for travel is equally as strong as my hatred of what's a girl to do, really?