Archive for September, 2009
I finally arrived in Houston about 11pm on Wednesday, September 23. My friend C picked me up and took me to her house, where I had a great night’s sleep. I *finally* rolled out of bed at, like, 10am the next morning. I had a yummy cinnamon roll C had made for breakfast, and we spent the rest of the morning chatting and playing with her adorable little girl. After some good baked spaghetti for lunch (I really ought to make that sometime; it’s great for leftovers), we headed into Houston.
We spent a nice couple of hours at Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts. I thought it was great. It’s not the walk through an art appreciation book like Chicago’s Art Institute, but it’s definitely a nice collection. I enjoyed getting to see some pieces I hadn’t seen before by artists I love (Monet, Matisse, Caillebotte, Degas, etc.). One of my favorite things was an animation called “City Glow” by Chiho Aoshima. It’s an animated panoramic video. It’s 7 minutes long and definitely worth the time.
Traveling is like art in that it’s important to please yourself. You shouldn’t spend 20 minutes staring at the Mona Lisa if you’d rather spend that time seeing little known works by Monet. Who cares if the Mona Lisa is more well respected? It’s better to really enjoy your time than spend it on things you’re “supposed” to see. If you prefer Europe to Hawaii, then, for Heaven’s sake, please go to Europe! And don’t be ashamed if snorkeling in the Bahamas is more your speed than strolling the galleries at the Louvre; that’s completely acceptable. The reason the world is so interesting is because people have different interests, and you shouldn’t force yourself into spending your precious vacation time (and money!) on anything less than exactly what you want to do. Unless, of course, it’s what your wife wants to do. Happy travels!
TTT: Travel Tip Tuesday
My blog is two years old today! In the past year, I’ve visited 11 new countries – Jamaica, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Poland, Norway. I’m also presently on a crazy trip around the US on JetBlue. It’s been a great year for travel!
Monday, September 21 – Wednesday, September 23 are getting lumped together in one post because they were somewhat uneventful… At least, most of what happened isn’t worth sharing. Okay, I’ll explain.
As I mentioned in my last post, I took the red-eye from Denver into JFK Sunday night (well, Monday morning really). I think I got one of the last seats on that flight, so my seat was in the row right in front of the exit row. Those seats don’t recline. Now, sometimes that’s not a big deal. But the 2 guys in the row ahead of me both reclined their seats back as far as they could. AND the guy next to me was so tall that his legs simply wouldn’t fit behind the seat in front of him, so one of his knees stuck into my space. It’s a good thing I’m not claustrophobic because I got pretty freaked out by how little space I had on that flight. Needless to say, I got zero sleep.
My friend in Connecticut who I stayed with worked part of the day on Monday, so I wasn’t in a big hurry to head her way once I landed. So… *BE PREPARED – THIS IS ONE OF THE GROSSEST THINGS I’VE EVER DONE* I took a nap on the floor at JFK. I scouted T5 (that’s Terminal 5, which is all JetBlue all the time for those of you non-AYCJers) and found a quiet corner where I was basically blocked in on three sides. I put my head on my bookbag, held my purse tight to my chest, and placed my legs so that no one could take my carry-on without waking me up. I think I got about 30 minutes’ sleep. I could’ve slept longer, but the ick factor was too much. LOL So I got online for a couple hours (the charging stations in T5 are so nice! ) and then headed towards Connecticut.
I took the AirTrain from JFK to the metro and the metro to Penn Station. I’d decided it would be really fun to walk from Penn Station to Grand Central, where I caught MetroNorth to New Haven. Well, it was cool to see stuff – I saw tons of people, department stores, the NY public library, and the Empire State Building. It wasn’t cool dealing with having that rolling bag though. People always managed to avoid walking into me, but several managed to kick my bag or stick their foot under it or something. Yeah, I rolled it right over some lady’s foot. Oops! I couldn’t have known she was going to try to dart that close behind me. I made it safely to Grand Central, got my ticket to New Haven, and got on the train. I napped a bit and played with my phone some on the way.
My friend was waiting for me when I got there, and it was so super to see her! Finally! I’ve been talking to her online for YEARS, so it was cool to finally see her in person and hear her voice and everything. We had a great time just chatting at her place – and I got to meet her little boy. He’s such a cutie! She made us a yummy dinner, and then we watched some bad tv before I crashed on her couch with her super sweet kitty. Yeah, he slept by my head all night. I loved it.
I felt a little funky Tuesday morning but just figured I was tired. Um… No. It turns out that the little boy I’d hung out with in Denver had a stomach bug, and he passed it along to me and most of the other folks I hung out with in Denver. Ack! My friend and I made it to IHOP for breakfast (it’s so nice to be able to go on a weekday; it’s impossible to get in during the weekend without waiting for ages), and then she had to take me back to her place. I pretty much napped off and on the rest of the day while half-watching Gilmore Girls. *sigh* I felt a lot better in the evening, and another online friend came over to hang out and have pizza. She was really fun to meet too. They were both so sweet to me! I hope I’ll get to come back to visit again sometime when I’m not sick! There are tons of cool things to do in Hartford – Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Mark Twain House, Harriet Beecher Stowe House and Library, and, of course, soak up Gilmore Girl-iness.
Wednesday morning I got up super early (6am), feeling MUCH better. My friend dropped me off at the train station in New Haven, and I took the train to the metro to AirTrain. And even with all that time, I arrived at T5 just shy of 10:30am, the cutoff to making my 11a flight to Houston. If I’d printed out my boarding pass, I would’ve been fine – would’ve just headed straight to security and easily made the flight. But I hadn’t printed out my pass. I went to the machine to print it out since there was no line for that, but it gave me an error message. (That’s the second time I’ve tried and failed at using the machines to check myself in on this trip! Maybe it’s something to do with the AYCJ pass?) I got in line REALLY just before 10:30, but I didn’t make it to the front of the line until 10:45! By then the flight had closed and they wouldn’t print a boarding pass for me. Ugh! The guy put me on standby for the next flight to Houston – 8:30pm. Ugh. He was nice though – got me a big bottle of water and later came by and offered me coffee.
So… I spent the day surfing the ‘net at JFK. I took AirTrain over to Terminal 4 since I’d read that’s the nicest one in terms of things to do. There’s an area before security there that has restaurants and shops, so it was worth the visit.
Four hours before the 8:30p flight, I went to the counter to check in. The lady was all puzzled as to why I was on standby since AYCJ pass holders shouldn’t be on standby. Then she tried to say I’d no-showed for the earlier flight and would have to pay the $100 penalty. I explained how I’d been there and ready to get on my flight but had been refused a boarding pass. So she printed a pass for me, and I went through security (what a pain that was; there were line jumpers and some TSA disorganization). Oh, one of the guys gave me an AYCJ pin and the lady gave me an AYCJ luggage tag! Exciting. Once I got settled, I just surfed the ‘net, worked on the blog, and waited to get my seat assignment.
I’m looking forward to spending the day in Houston tomorrow - I’ll meet two friends and an adorable little girl, have fabulous food, and hopefully visit the MFAH.
9-21: $7.25 AirTrain + metro, $3 ice cream, $14 train = $24.25
9-22: $10 tummy meds
9-23: $18.50 train + $7.25 AirTrain + $4.02 lunch + $1.19 postcard =$30.96
Total for 8 days: $173.67
Sunday, September 20, was my last day in Denver. My friend K made some really good french toast, eggs, and bacon for us for breakfast. Then we did something sad – we walked around looking for her boyfriend’s lost dog. He’s since been found, so that’s great. K dropped me off downtown to hang out with D and R – the mom and the adorable little boy from the day before. The three of us wandered around downtown, checking out the Capitol Building, including getting my picture taken on the mile high step; admiring the sculptures and fountains near the art museum and the art museum building itself; and strolling by Civic Center Park and through the 16th Street Mall. For those of you with dogs, there’s a super cute store in the mall with everything from dog strollers to costumes. Oh, we also saw Robot Man.
Growing up, our parents told us not to talk to strangers. Well, I’m recommending that you throw that rule out the window, especially when you travel. The more you talk to folks, the more you’ll learn and experience. Plus sometimes strangers will help you out. For example, while I was at JFK yesterday morning, a JetBlue pilot gave me a cough drop. Isn’t that sweet?
TTT: Travel Tip Tuesday
On day four of my trip (Saturday, September 19), I rode up to Kanosha Pass to see the aspens changing colors with a couple of friends and one adorable kiddo. It was gorgeous! Also, we were reminded that the last wild bison in Colorado was killed in 1897.
My third JetBlue All You Can Jet pass day was lame in the morning and perfectly low key in the evening. I had a 4am pickup from SuperShuttle to take me to Dulles, which meant I got up at 3:30am. Ugh. The SuperShuttle was really nice though. They picked me up right at my friend’s front door and dropped me off at the JetBlue check-in for much less money than a taxi. The van was clean and not too crowded, and the driver was polite. I got there way early though. Oh well – better safe than sorry.
The flight was uneventful for the most part. The flight attendant was super cheerful and asked how many AYCJ folks were on the flight (about half a dozen!). I got a little sleep but was awoken by a little kid a few rows back singing “Do Re Mi” from Sound of Music. *sigh*
My friend, with her two adorable little girls in tow, picked me up at the airport. She drove us to Golden, Colorado. We had a picnic at the park and then played with kids a bit. They’re seriously soooo cute!
Mosey on over to Elizabeth Anne Designs Living for a preview of our recent Baltic cruise. My friend “Elizabeth” posted a few pics from the trip, one of which is below. I hope to find some time to post some info for y’all soon. I learned soooo much in researching and planning this trip, and I’d love to share it so that the time I spent might benefit someone else.
Sonadora lives a bit outside DC but works right in town. Her husband dropped us off near her office, and she pointed the way towards a nearby Barnes and Noble so I could get online to post yesterday’s report and poke around online. That’s exactly what I did… except that I got distracted along the way. I saw the IRS building, the EPA building, the Old Post Office, and the Capitol Building. I spotted a green space, which turned out to be Freedom Plaza. Neat! I’m totally enamoured with DC. I love the serious, stately architecture and all the monuments. It makes me feel very patriotic.
I made my first purchase of the trip at B&N – $2.15 for an orange juice for my breakfast. I had one of my breakfast bars to keep it cheap even though I really wanted a pretty pastry. I messed around on their free WiFi for a bit, and then I moseyed over to my law school friend’s office. I got to walk by the White House, which is always fun. They were actually closing down the fence line right after I took a couple snaps.