I hardly slept at all last night, so when the alarm on my phone rang, I was glad to abandon the ‘not sleeping’ of the night. I didn’t check the time, I simply grabbed the clothes I’d prepared the night before and disappeared into the bathroom, trying not to wake my sister. This was, perhaps, a mistake.
I got myself ready and repacked my suitcase, adding my pyjamas and wash-bag, then struggled with the zip. Eventually it closed. Then I checked my passport and ticket for the 2,000th time, and decided I may as well leave. I knew it was a little early, but it seemed daft to sit anxiously waiting in the bedroom (keeping Ruth awake) when I could just as easily sit anxiously waiting at the airport. And you never know, after all, if there’ll be delays on the way. So, I kissed her goodbye, trying to not think about how long it might be before we see each other again (because I didn’t want to cry) and I left.
The hotel doorman hailed me a cab and lifted my bag into the back. Was I meant to tip him? I hate the whole tipping culture, because I never know what’s right – I’d rather just pay a fee. I gave him $1, it had taken him all of ten seconds, and he looked surprised. I have no idea if that was because I’m not meant to tip him, or because the tip was too small.
The taxi driver told me there is no set fare to LaGuardia, only to JFK and Newark airport. I wasn’t sure whether this was true, so spent the rest of the journey anxiously watching the meter as it raced through dollars, hoping I had enough money.
Then, when the meter reached $9.50 (no idea where we were because I wasn’t looking out of the window) there was an awful noise, as if a wheel was going to fall off. The driver pulled over and went to check under the car. It turned out we had run over a cone (he had my sympathy, I did that once on a school run, but that’s a different story). I sat in the taxi, while he struggled to remove the cone from where it was jammed into the wheel arch. It took a few minutes.
Eventually we set off again (which was good, because I didn’t think I’d be able to hail another taxi from the place where we’d stopped, and I wasn’t sure what to do). The driver reset the meter at $0, which was nice of him.
Then, all very quickly, we arrived at La Guardia airport. I checked my phone. It was 7.30am. I have no idea how that happened – whatever time did I leave the hotel room? I had set my alarm, using the voice activated app, for 6.30. In one hour (apparently) I had showered, packed, said goodbye to Ruth, gone downstairs, got a taxi, stopped while a cone was removed, and driven to La Guardia. All in less than an hour?
I went to the check-in desk (I felt my inability to set an alarm excluded me from using the automatic check-in machines). I checked my bag into the hold, which cost me $25. The American Airlines website said this had to be paid in cash, but actually the opposite was true, and I had to pay by card. I was given a receipt, which was identical to my boarding card, so that might prove tricky. Then I went through the security.
Security is always stressful, with too many people, bright lights, cross voices – and too much distance between my luggage and myself while they check why I had set off their alarm. I also worry about being zapped by X-rays in their body scanners. But it was no worse than normal, and the security guy was very nice about the whole bottle of water I’d forgotten was in my bag.
I checked the boards, and my gate number was already showing, which was unexpected. I bought a coffee and cinnamon swirl (in a strange place where you help yourself to both and then pay at the end).
Now I am sitting at the gate, waiting. I have two hours until my flight. It has been a lovely week in NY with Ruth. Soon I will be in Miami, where Husband will meet me, and I’ll have a couple of days of sunshine before we fly home. Am so looking forward to seeing him again.
The gate is filling up, and they keep asking if anyone will trade their ticket and travel later, as they have over-booked the flight. I do hope my seat hasn’t been sold twice. Now they are stopping people as they board, and saying that all hand-luggage has to be checked into the hold. This is worrying, because I have my computer. Am signing off now, and will go and find out what’s happening.
Have a good day.
Love, Anne x
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