Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Joys of Travel

Travel is a bitch.

I don't mean that glorious, heart-warming travel thing you do where you're gobsmacked by the wonders of the world, the similarities or differences between cultures, or the incredible serendipitous moments that create memories that we hold separate from our everyday memories.

I mean the act of getting on a plane in the US. Getting from A to B. Yuck.

I was ambitious yesterday, first canoeing in the Meadowlands, then flying to Vegas so that I could start my Grand Canyon rafting trip this morning.

Canoeing worked out. I had just enough time to drop off my car, take a super-fast shower, and get a taxi to Newark Airport.

My flight to Dulles was delayed an hour, so I sat on a plane on the runway worrying about my connecting flight (and luggage, which I'd checked after growling about the liquid rules for a while). Then my connecting flight ran late, so I got a manicure in the terminal before again sitting on the runway for more than an hour.

By the time I crawled into the "world's largest Super 8" in Vegas, I was shattered. Sitting next door at the greasy spoon restaurant at Ellis Island Casino, I reflected that eating next door to the karaoke bar would normally be amusing.

It was not.

But somehow, it all worked out. And if I'm lucky, in the next fifteen minutes, I'll store a bag, get a taxi, and arrive at the meeting point on time. If I'm luckier, I'll buy a water bottle and deodorant. How could I forget these things? I'm guessing I don't want to go out into the heat without deodorant. But then again, no one on the raft will know me or ever see me again...

1 comment:

Ed Ward said...

I know what you mean: I spent Saturday on trains. Ooops! No time for the superb hotel breakfast: catch a cab to the station! Get off, and walk around only to discover that the next train is parked behind the one I just got off -- and I've got a minute until it leaves.

It does well until Lille, when it Just Stops. I've got a tight connection in Brussels, not one of Europe's more intelligently-laid-out stations, plus I'd like to buy a non-train (ie, not quite so expensive) sandwich. No luck: another 2-minute connection, but the good news is the train's on the adjoining track.

Then 2 1/2 hours in Cologne station, where there's no place to sit down and it seems the entire city goes there to drink and act weird. A woman about to be married is dressed in sackcloth and rags with little things tied to it everywhere, and she's wandering around selling these little things off. There's a mosh-dance team, in uniform. And many, many pre-celebrating football fans.

And then the train finally comes and I am doomed to 5 hours' total boredom. And expensive sandwiches.

Gonna have to do it again in the next couple of weeks, though! Three times!