Airports, Gates and a Happy Surprise

Flying

Funny how things will come back to you. After not being in an airport, by myself, for years, once I got there I felt confident in how to find where I was to wait. This would not seem like a big deal to most people, but for me, it was a rare thing to be confident, alone, in a strange place.

My morning started at 4:15 am with a wake-up call and hustling to get dressed and re-packed to catch a 5:15 shuttle to the airport. Hotel room coffee is mediocre, even at a Hilton. My adrenaline was pumping enough to make up for it. When I looked in the fridge for a bottle of soda, on my way out the door, I gasped. My insulin was also in there and I had completely forgotten it. What a horrible feeling! Complete confidence buster for sure. I thanked God for my guardian angel who, once again, saved my butt.

I made the shuttle with 2 minutes to spare.

My flight to Dallas was crammed full and I boarded with the “C” Group, so I was surprised to see an aisle seat open, not too far back. A young mom, with a 2-year-old, had the middle and window seats and motioned me to sit there. I did. She laughed and told me that no one wanted to sit there because of her child. I said that I was a grandmother and children did not scare me. Aside from some turbulence when we climbed and descended through the clouds, the flight was uneventful. Exactly how I like them.

After landing in Dallas, my first priority was a restroom, then to find what gate my flight to Harlingen was departing from. No flights to Harlingen were on the boards yet, so I hung around gate 8 and checked the texts that I missed while in Airplane Mode. A couple from Maggie, a few hours ago that she had just landed in Dallas for a long layover.

Dallas? No way! How did I not know that her flight stopped in Dallas?

Her next text said, “Wait! I think we will be boarding in Dallas together! Text me when you get here.”

Me: “I am here in Dallas, at gate 8.”

Maggie, “I’m at gate 10, can you see me?”

Me: “Whoops! I’m at the wrong gate. The notice on the board says we leave from gate 19.”

Maggie: “Are you at the airport? “I’m at gate 19.”

Me: “Me too!”

I stood up and looked around the gate. I recognized her right away, she was facing away from me. I snuck up on her and stood right behind her. “Hey, Roomie!”

How could we have gone for months without realizing we would meet in Dallas and fly to Harlingen together? I was sure that after I booked our flights that I compared them. Apparently not. The one-hour and 15-minute flight (pardon the pun), flew by. We landed at 5 pm, got the car and our bags, and we were on the road to South Padre Island by 5:30.

The sun had not gone down yet but was rapidly sinking into the west and would be dark soon. When we saw a Sonic drive-in, we decided to have dinner there for old times sake and we were starving. We were going to get to the island in the dark either way.

To be continued…

Adventures in London & Paris

Our trip began at the Phoenix airport International wing. It was a plethron of intertwining languages.  None of them English.

We were offered upgrades to the Business Class section (for a price). The soft cozy blanket was well worth it.  I wanted to take it with me so badly. I should have asked for it because I did not steal it and now I do not have it.  Oh, well.

Our adventure began with 2 nights in London, at the Conrad London St. James Hotel. It was a miracle we managed to get from the airport to the hotel.  The left-hand side driving is not the most unique traffic issue they have in the UK. The streets are a bit narrow, the intersections are either not laid out or so laid out that you cannot tell which way, side, or lane you need.  That, and they all drive 90 mph in places that Americans would drive 25-30 mph.  Bay Area traffic is nothing in comparison.

Our shuttle driver deserves either a medal or a straight jacket.

After we checked in, we explored around Westminster and Victoria Street. I wanted to have my photo taken in a London phonebooth. I only lasted in there 15 seconds. It reeked in there, It was obvious that the booth was used for other things besides phone calls.

Conrad is a 5-star hotel and I recommend it. I took pictures of some of the cool things about our room:

  • Big Screen TV -it doubled as a mirror when turned off.

Huge bathroom -With Shower & a tub!

 

 

 

 

We had a late dinner at the hotel and went to bed. The next morning at 4:00am we caught a shuttle to the train station for Paris.  I was so excited. Our tour would take us to the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, and a boat down the river Seine.  All in one day, which is all we had since our ship was boarding the next day.

The train to Paris was fun, the weather gloomy. Our guide, the lovely Celeste, was fun and full of energy. Our all-day tour began at the Eiffel Tower.  We took a shuttle up to the 2nd observation floor.  The view of Paris was amazing – I had no idea how large Paris and it’s surrounding suburbs were.

Then, I got it in my head that I wanted to walk down to the ground level instead of riding the shuttle car.  The fact that the other three decided to walk with me, helped my self-confidence.

It was so cool! We were walking down inside the intricate framework.  I tried to take lots of photos, but they did not look nearly as cool as it did in person.  Halfway down from the observation floor, we realized we were in deep doo-doo. Our knees were starting to ache, then they began to tingle like they were going numb. Several times my sis-in-law and I had to stop walking and let the tremors subside before we went on. As we went on, each flight increased the agony that our knees experienced.  By the time we reached ground level, we were, for all intents and purposes, crippled.

Oh, Come on!  Crippled?

Yes.  We climbed down 674 metal steps.

Our next stop on the Paris-in-a-day-tour was The Louvre. The largest museum in Europe. To sis’s and my dismay, this monstrosity had stairs and vast hallways that led to even more stairs.  Upstairs was not so bad, but the going back down was nightmarish.

The Mona Lisa was moved up to the top floor because of the restoration going on in the museum. Sis and I were totally thrilled about that, as you can understand. Being there inside the Louvre was incredible. Of course, we had to see The Mona Lisa, we were there.

I’m happy to report that we saw Mona, barely. She had a huge security detail and photo Nazis that hurried folks past the painting after one photograph. So… this is the picture I got of her.  Not very impressive at all.

Happily, there was a reproduction hung in the hallway by the Mona Lisa room.  This Mona took much better photos and there were no annoying security guards to hurry you along.

I wonder what Leonardo de Vinchi would say about all this craziness…

 

♥  TTFN  ♥