Saturday, November 27, 2010

A new trip or just a continuation of the old one

Okay, sorry for no posts in like 4 months or something. I did go to Baltimore and stuff, got some local Baltimore Crystal Palace fans mad at me for having a super gigantic Railhawks flag, have been working a lot more than usual... So yeah, it's been pretty eventful, but I guess its time for the next chapter... Right? Lets hope so. So this is what I wrote the other day on the train from Brussels to Rotterdam. Hope you enjoy it!

Okay, first things first.
I finished moving/packing/cleaning up my room and everything like one hour before my bus to NY left from Cary’s Chinese Market (NAME). Pretty freaking crazy.
After finishing up with that I went to my parents and there said goodbye to my sister and then went to the Chinese Market with my dad.
We waited and waited and waited. The bus not only wasn’t early like it should have been, it was like half an hour late... So we were there waiting in the cool Cary weather for the chinese bus. When it finally came, I said bye to my dad, got on it, and then waited for a longer time again. Turns out they had over-booked! So they called the chinese bus that left from Durham. Luckily they still had space. So like 10 people who were outside just came in the bus and stayed standing. We drove to Durham and to me it seemed like an eternity. I even had time to fall asleep! When I woke up we were in Durham, the chinese guy next to me was poking me to make me wake up to give my ticket stub thingy to some other Chinese guy. So I did that. And then I couldn’t fall asleep again for a long annoying time. The whole ride was a big adventure on its own. Lots of chinese people yelling and screaming and just talking loudly. Until luckily one by one they started falling asleep. And then I got some rest. Probably slept 4 hours then, which felt amazing even if it wasn’t much. I woke up and we weren’t even in DC yet. It was morning, misty, some light rain. We stopped at a rest area and then kept going. Suddenly I got bored and time went by very fast, then BAM! We were right by Jersey City! So I took a picture of the Statue of Liberty, Jersey City, Manhattan, and then we went in the Holland Tunnel! After that the bus looked for a place to park close to Chinatown, but for some reason they couldn’t park on Canal Street like they were supposed to. Everybody got off a little bit pissed that we weren’t at Canal Street, but the bus driver said, in his horrible accent, that we were only one block away. Then came the super epic battle I shall always remember as the Thanksgiving Day Battle for Luggage. People went crazy trying to get their luggage! Climbing over other people, over other luggage, wrestling, pushing... I guess you could say we were all in NYC!
Luckily it all ended well and I got my luggage without getting stepped on. But then came the long boring tiring part.
I had to walk to Canal Street Station to get the J or Z trains to go to JFK Airport.
And I had forgotten which direction I should walk towards.
So I set of in one direction. And that looked NOTHING like what I had seen in Google Maps (One of my bestest friends in the world :-P). But then I set out in the other direction, and I still felt lost. So I called my best friends and texted Esmee. One of my best friends answered and found out for me how much longer it was. Then once all that was good I walked to the subway station, dodging all the chinese vendors on the street and a lot of other people on my way. And then I realized that the elevators in the subway system only go down one level. And where were the J and Z trains??? Down 2 levels and up one. And no, the -1 level you end up with does NOT connect to the main level where the elevator can drop you off. So there I went with my big luggage and my big backpack. Finally I got to the train and I was able to relax for almost an entire hour. Then went to the AirTrain and relaxed for some 30 minutes or so. Well, more like got all excited and became a 5 year old again. That’s what being in airports does to me, seeing all the planes and all... It’s just amazing. Sadly, I have yet to see an A380. I guess both Schiphol last summer and JFK yesterday were a bit disappointing in that. But the airport overall is really nice. Big, spacious, organized. Looks like the Engineers did a good job in this one.
I got off at my terminal (Mostly because I realized it was my terminal once all the other people in the train were done leaving, luckily the doors were still open and I had no trouble getting out) and walked around trying to get to the check-in counters, which let me tell you, are not that close to the terminal. So I got to the counters and I saw a lot of them just were American Airlines. And then finally I saw a tiny sign that said “Jet Airways go to Number 4.” So to number 4 I went. And there I stood, with like 10 other people, for like 2 hours. Why? Because Jet Airways only opens at 2. Pretty stupid if you ask me. Luckily all that was really good in the end. I got to relax more, rest my shoulders, and then weighed my big baggage.... It was only like 21 kilos!!! WOOHOO!!!! Way to be awesome at packing! That’s how awesome it felt at the moment.
And then came the part every person traveling in or through the US these days looks forwards to the most..... Seeing what the TSA will stop you for! With your hosts, the TSA people! And what did the TSA people find that was very dangerous and illegal in my bag? A bookmark and my ski goggles. Definitely up there on the most dangerous items to take on carry-on when flying. My poor pack was all un-packed. And the TSA agent was “Nice” enough to “let me” pack my pack again. Of course, that was after he had taken all the things out. ALL OF THEM. And if there is something I REALLY HATE is having to re-pack a perfectly packed pack. But anyways, after I did that I helped a mexican-american wearing boots to get his passport back because he had forgotten it in the little benches people use to put their shoes back on. Then I went to the Sprint Now Network 4G MiFi Free Internet Hotspot in the terminal. And of course, it connects to the network, but the network has no actual internet! What good use is that??? Not a very good one from my perspective.....
Then at that point I realized my Aviators had broken. I’m still not sure how or when, but part of the ear-thingy just broke off... clean-cut and everything. So I walked to my gate all bored and sad about the aviators, and then I talked with Esmee. After laughing a bit with her I realized my cell phone was dying. So we hung up before my cell phone would kick us off. Then I waited for a lot of people to board because I was in Group 3. And finally I boarded. Of course, the plain was not really all that full, so some people were able to lay down in the middle 4 seats as a bed. Lucky them, since I didn’t get to those in time. But the airplane and the airway...
Let me tell you. That airplane was beautiful. It had everything anybody could ever want. First class had like its own little rooms kind of. Not fully rooms, just more divided than seats on an airplane. And even economy... We had TV, games, language courses, music, sms/e-mail and phone calling all in our seats! AMAZING! I’ve never seen that in an Economy class! So it was definitely a great experience. For dinner they even gave us real glasses and real silverware! I will definitely be traveling Jet Airways again. Only crazy thing though was that when we were somewhere above England, the pilot suddenly said “If there’s any doctor’s aboard, please talk with a crew member, we have a medical emergency.” Not really what you want to hear on a trans-atlantic flight. But it must not have been all that severe since we were able to go all the way to Brussels. In Brussels the plane was experiencing some technical difficulties. First of all, it was all dark and I almost thought the pilot had missed the runway. Second of all, the crew was not ready to receive the emergency personnel from Brussels, and it was a mess of people trying to leave, emergency people trying to get to the end of the plane, and then me sitting there watching it all. Third, the airplane couldn’t open some of its cargo bay doors, so I had to wait an ENTIRE HOUR just for my baggage. It was only like 20 of us waiting too, so it wasn’t that big of a cargo bay I guess. But one thing that definitely annoyed me of today is that the plane pretty much goes over Rotterdam and then to Brussels. And then I had to take a train from Brussels Airport to Brussels Central, going through Brussels North. And then now I’m on the train from Brussels Central, through Brussels North, to Rotterdam Centraal. Why? Cuz the Brussels to Amsterdam train only stops at some stops.
Now I’m just ready to rest, so for now I’ll save this and post it when I get to Esmee’s house I guess. I hope everybody had a good Turkey Day! I certainly had an interesting one...
Doei! Au revoir! Dag! Bye!

And now, since then, seeing as its Saturday night, I'll tell you what happened.
There was lots of train traffic and construction. A lot of trains were late. Mine was almost half an hour late on its way to Rotterdam, hence why I had time for all that long blog post and etc.
But then finally I arrived in Rotterdam Centraal. It was a lot colder than I was expecting it to be, but luckily I had my peacoat and my hoodie, a pair of gloves, a hat, and a thing for my neck. I went to the north side of the station but I didn't see Esmee's parents. I walked around the shops a bit, waited by there some more, and then decided that since I had my OV-Chipkaart, I could take the Randstad Rail to Berkel en Rodenrijs to go to the house, or else to Den Haag Centraal to wait for Esmee who got off from school at 2 or so, since I'd rather be inside a station waiting than outside. So I called Esmee and left her a voicemail, since she didn't answer. I thought she was in class. Then I took the Randstad Rail to Berkel en Rodenrijs. I really like the whole expansion of the Randstad Rail into Rotterdam Centraal. It is a lot nicer than the Hofplein station, that station left you closer to the Hofplein, but it didn't connect with anything. Being at Rotterdam Centraal, the Randstad Rail Metrolijn E now connects to all of Rotterdam's services, including the trains at the station, other metro's, taxis, buses, everything! And it's not all that much farther from the Hofplein, just a little bit.
As I was entering the Randstad Rail, I was starting to think of going to Den Haag instead of Berkel en Rodenrijs. And suddenly when I was going by Berkel Westpolder I saw Ramón right there! So I got off and he said he was there to pick me up. At the time I wondered a bit how he knew or if he had just guessed I would take it, but later I found out that Ingrid saw me on the Randstad Rail as it was going by hers, since she was going to Rotterdam to work at 1. So we go to the car and then suddenly I look back towards the station. I saw Esmee! And Ramon then says "I think Esmee should be here soon," so I point to him that I see her coming out of the station. We said hi and then she rode her bike to the house.
The rest of the afternoon was really chill; watch TV, eat some fries with mayo, relax, then go babysitting at Ramon and Ingrid's friends' house to babysit their 4 or 5 month old daughter. Little baby Nina started crying a bit but then she relaxed and went to bed. Woke up only once and it wasn't a hard thing to do at all. You should see Esmee's magic with children! It's really amazing to see.
We got back home at 12:15 this morning and went to bed after talking for an hour or so. Then I remembered why I didn't like the blinds much... they cover the entire window. We woke up at 11:30 this morning to a cloudy day, but of course we didn't realize it was late until looking at the clock, haha. After that we were very lazy for a while, but then went downstairs to have lunch with everybody and then I got to drive again, going to the Dorp to buy some groceries. After returning we watched a movie and then had dinner. After dinner Ramón left to go to his waterpolo game and Ingrid, Esmee and I sat down on the couch and watched TV and talked. Ingrid tried some air heads, and liked them, and then Esmee had to go to babysit again. So now I have been here editing this post and going to post it. As soon as Esmee arrives home we are going to sleep, and then tomorrow she has to babysit again.
Next weekend will be fun, we're going to do a whole Sinterklass gift-trading game with dice. Last year, Esmee won a chocolate fondue set! Maybe we'll use it for dinner one of these days too, hehe.
We'll also go and watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 next Sunday, will be fun.
Anyways, I hope everybody is doing good wherever you are. Have a good weekend and stay safe!
Here I'll be waiting to hopefully see snow sometime this week!
El Tano, in Berkel en Rodenrijs, South Holland, The Netherlands.