Somebody Started Traveling Not Knowing What It Was . . . (NYC 3)

Sunday morning came soon, and I was eager to fit as much into the day as possible. I woke up a little later than I wanted to and got dressed and packed. I checked out of my hotel and walked down 52nd Street toward Madison Avenue. The street was being set up for a huge street fair thingy with lots of booths selling food and other things. If I had known that my time wasn't as limited as I thought, I might have stopped to enjoy the atmosphere. But I had another destination in mind. I found my way to a bus stop on Madison, where I caught the M1 bus uptown. I had to stand for a good part of the time, but I got to sit after a lot of the people got off of the bus at the Met. But I had another destination in mind.

I got off of the bus at 86th and had to walk just a little way to the Guggenheim Museum. I'd heard so much about the Guggenheim--from "It's wonderful" to "The building is cool, but the art is mediocre"--so I was eager to see it for myself. I found it quite amazing. And, yes, the building itself is the most impressive part. As usual, the front of the building had scaffolding in front of it. (I say "as usual," because this seems to be a thing whenever I go on vacation.) I stood in line and got my ticket and then checked my bag at the coatroom.

As I mentioned earlier, the Guggenheim is impressive. It's a big spiral, both inside and out, and to get to the galleries, one just walks up the huge spiral ramp. The ramp area is called The Rotunda, and it houses the less permanent exhibits. When I was there, that exhibit happened to be the works of Louise Bourgeous. I didn't really like her art. I found it weird and depressing, and it seemed to get more depressing as she got older. I did, however, like a lot of the other art, including the Kandinsky gallery and an exhibit called "Toward Abstraction." I did not, however,like the gallery that housed the completely black canvasses with some person on video explaining the depth of the art. There was also some spectroscope analysis to explain how the black was different in different parts of the canvas. Modern art can be so weird.

I had seen nearly everything when my phone started buzzing, telling me that my sister and family had arrived. I headed downstairs, because I wasn't allowed to use my phone in the museum. (By the way, cameras are also forbidden in the museum, which is really sad.) I called my sister from downstairs, telling her that I was going to the cafe, since I was really hungry. I had a delicious salad with grilled peaches, dried cranberries, and candied pecans. Cha, Annie, and Ed met me in the cafe, and we soon set out to explore the museum. I didn't mind going through the museum at a slower pace, and it was nice seeing it with company. The museum store is a little small, but I bought a stack of postcards, some gifts, and a coloring book for myself. We bought some hot dogs from a vendor on the street corner and headed to JFK so I could meet my airplane.

I arrived in plenty of time to get my boarding pass and go through security. I knew something was wrong as soon as I got into the main part of the terminal. The food court and the area around the gates were both packed with people. People were gathered around the status board, looking worried. I soon discovered that a large storm front had interrupted air traffic around New York, forcing incoming flights to be rerouted and preventing departing flights from leaving. My flight read "on time," however, so I decided to wait. I got something to eat, checked my email, and sat on the floor to read my book. As I sat there, announcements about other delayed flights were made every few minutes.

Everyone on our flight got up and stood in a very long line to see what could be done. On a side note, while I was standing in line, I recognized someone a few places in front of me. Turns out that Cathy K from the church I used to work at was in New York for a wedding as well, and we were on the same flight home. We stood in line forever. People were getting very agitated, especially a woman in line (not directly) behind me. When I finally got to the front of the line, I was informed that I could not get onto another flight for about 48 hours. By this point I was frustrated but not really upset. After all, everyone else was in the same boat. At least I wasn't a part of this story!

I was fully prepared to spend the next two nights in the airport, but my dad told me to get a hotel. The people at the Jet Blue counter had told us that the best way to find a hotel would be to go downstairs to baggage claim and use the phones there to call hotels. I headed there and called several hotels, while I watched the lady next to me calling pretty much every number on the list. No luck. All of the hotels were full. I was willing to spend the night in the airport and to check again the next day, so I headed back to the gates. It was at this point that everything hit the fan. You see, when Jet Blue changed my flight, they also took my boarding pass. This meant that I could not get back into where the gates were until I got a new boarding pass, which I could not do for at least another day.

Though I had been very patient earlier, it was when this happened that I began to get somewhat hysterical. I sat on the cold, hard floor to figure things out. Then I remembered that the Palm homepage on my phone has a travel section. I was able to find the toll-free number for Orbitz and reserve a hotel room less than 15 minutes away. I headed for the taxi stand to get a ride to the hotel. By now it was after 8pm, and it had just gotten dark.

The taxi situation at JFK is surprisingly organized and relatively fast-moving. I got a cab after a while in the line and was on my way to the hotel. At least that's what I thought. The cab driver asked me if I was going into Manhattan, and when I said no and gave him the address, he seemed puzzled. Yet he took the address and got into the car and began to drive. He got on the phone with him home base and presumably asked for directions. When dispatch couldn't figure it out, he looked at the number, which was on the same page as the directions, and started yelling at me about how this place was in Long Island and he was not going to go there. He then pulled over to the side of the road and tried to call the number. When no one answered, he again started yelling about how this was a Long Island number. Oh, and did I mention that he left the meter running during this entire ordeal? While this was going on, I pulled out my handy-dandy Palm (did I mention how much I love my Palm Centro?) and found the exact directions to the hotel. When I told him I'd found the directions, he got even more upset with me. Instead of listening to me, he just insisted that the number was for Long Island and that I was wrong. "Look," I said, "you are charging me to yell at me instead of driving." He tried to B.S. me and tell me that the meter wasn't running. "I can read numbers," I answered. "And I am going to turn you in." That was when he decided to take me back to the airport where I could get another cab.

When I got back to the airport,I made it back to the cab stand, but I was determined NOT to stand in the line again. I had to make a bit of a fuss, but I managed to get to the front of the line without having to wait, and I was on my way again. The driver wasn't sure where the hotel was either, but I gave him the highway name, and he soon got me there. Finally . . . not quite!

When I tried to check in, there was a problem with my credit card. Turns out that I was too close to my limit to charge the hotel room on my card. I ended up having to give the man what was left of my cash to pay for the room. So now I had a hotel room, but I wasn't just stuck in New York--I was stuck in New York without any money!



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I write about, education, diabetes, family, pets, church, God, and whatever else comes to mind.

    Some Things That Make Me Happy

    (1) learning
    (2) family
    (3) barney
    (4) food
    (5) school
    (6) music
    (7) adoption
    (8) Doctor Who
    (9) worship
    (10) baking
    (11) reading
    (12) Quantum Leap
    (13) chocolate Irish cream cheesecake
    (14) scrapbooking
    (15) cake decorating
    (16) Star Trek
    (17) Craig Ferguson
    (18) British TV
    (19) gooey butter cake
    (20) crunchy onions
    (21) traveling

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