Saturday, October 27, 2007

Day 1: In Which We Travel by Air... Eventually

I was up at 8:30 due to an anxious Dad, and rearranged my suitcases after breakfast. Dad gave me $25 in ones to supplement the $40 in ones I already had, since apparently in Egypt you need to tip everybody for everything and they LOVE American currency. After breakfast, we walked outside the hotel. Who knew? NYC has snails! Lots and lots of them, all over the benches out front.

More hurry-up-and-wait at the airport. We arrived at ~11 AM for departure scheduled 6:30 PM (see prior reference to Anxious Dad) and ate lunch in the food court; Dad and I took turns taking brisk walks around the circumference of the concourse to get our blood moving. The only available seats were hard plastic food court chairs and REALLY uncomfortable STONE BENCHES around the decorative pillars. Between a rock and a hard place, indeed!

IMG_0351 concourse

We attempted to check in around 2 when Egypt Air staff arrived. The Grand Circle Travel rep shepherded us to the correct line where we waited for an hour and a half; after 20 minutes, I gave up, sat on the floor, and pulled my knitting out of suitcase. I got 1.5” done before they told us our flight was massively delayed; now our plane was not due to JFK until at least 9 PM and we would leave at 11 at the earliest. Apparently the delay in making this announcement was to allow the photocopying of meal vouchers so we could eat at the food court on their dime. Nice, but would have appreciated an announcement: “Your plane is delayed 5 hours. Come back in an hour and you can pick up your meal vouchers. Go sit somewhere more comfortable!”

We called John from the line and learned Michigan State lost its football game.

IMG_0353 chapel

6 PM: Things are looking up. I went mall-walking a second time and decided to explore the upper level this time. Spotted the row of International Chapels and lo and behold, Mass had just started in the “Our Lady of the Skies Catholic Chapel”. Gift of grace! A fellow GCT passenger said afterward, “Well, now we know why our plane was late!” I’m starting to spot more fellow GCT travelers. So far I am the youngest by maybe 20 years. Note the distinctive decor of the chapel: I love the propellor!

9:30 PM: Dad and I spent the last 2+ hours talking with a GCT couple from Washington State, named Don and Shirley, and a really nice couple from Manchester, England whose names I don’t remember. We laughed and told travel horror stories; the English couple told us how nice NYC was and how friendly and clean it was. I wondered where they’d been visiting, but was glad they had a good time. They came to celebrate her birthday. Poor things – THEIR flight is delayed till at least 2:30 AM.

IMG_0359 manchester

IMG_0358 manchester

No comments: