September 14, 2009: Traveling Back to America

I got woken up early this morning at ten till four.  I got three calls all in five minutes!  After that I was wide awake and unable to go back to sleep.  So I only got just over three hours of sleep.  Today is going to be a tough day.

I tried going back to sleep but that didn’t happen.  So I ended up getting up rather early and heading down to the breakfast buffet in the hotel.  I figured that it would be easiest to just eat in the hotel before leaving.  The buffet there is really good so I didn’t mind although it costs more than twenty US dollars which is pretty crazy for breakfast, especially for a vegetarian.

After breakfast I gathered up my stuff and checked out of the hotel.  I waited outside for maybe five minutes before the taxi picked me up and delivered me to the train station downtown.

I bought my ticket at the train station and was on the seven fifty three train in no time barreling towards Holland.  I had managed to get the express train to Schiphol which was over an hour faster than the other trains.  Good deal.

I was really, really exhausted as I rode on the train.  I was actually feeling a little ill from being so tired.  I fell asleep for a few minutes but only a few.  I entertained myself by playing WordMole on my BlackBerry.

I got to the airport in Amsterdam and got right to the gate in no time.  I was actually there about an hour before they even had security show up to start letting people through!  I only arrived two hours before my flight so that was rather surprising.  So I sat in a nearby waiting area with a coffee stand.  I got some coffee and relaxed with plenty of time.  No more worries from here on out.  I am at the airport with way more time than necessary and have no more complex or unknown transfers to make the rest of the way.  All I have is a long layover in Dublin.

The flight from Amsterdam to Dublin was uneventful.  Once in Dublin I had hours to kill so I found a restaurant and got myself a tuna steak sandwich and some vegetable soup as well as a few Guinness while I waited.  At least I was able to get Guinness right in Dublin which was pretty cool even if it was just at the airport.  It definitely tastes better in Ireland than it does in the US.

After lunch I went and waited at the gate for another hour or so.  There is a lot of waiting in flying.

The flight from Dublin to New York was, as well, uneventful.  We had a bit of turbulence this time which did not exactly make me extra happy.  I hate that feeling of dropping suddenly.

On the flight I got to watch three movies.  I watched The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds which was quite good. Cute, silly, more or less as expected but well done and entertaining.  I really liked it.  It is one of the few movies that is out in theatres about which I actually knew something and had been interested in seeing it.

I also got to watch the new Star Trek which, of course, I had been wanting to see.  I think that it was pretty good.  The new cast is great.  They definitely did some corny stuff with the storyline to make it all work but overall it was quite good.  I am looking forward to getting it on BluRay.

I lastly watched Robots which was awful.  No plot, nothing funny or interesting.  Skip that.  It wasn’t really even worth sitting through for free on an airplane when there is nothing else to do.

I had not correctly ordered my vegetarian meal for the flight but the flight attendants really went out of their way to make sure that I had something and I actually ended up getting quite a bit more food than I would normally have gotten on a flight.  Aer Lingus is really impressive.  I am extremely happy with their service and, of course, their prices are amazing too.  We will definitely be flying them a lot in the future.

We got into New York’s JFK about half an hour early arriving at just minutes after seven.  US immigration was fine.  I wonder if this was a fluke or if the US is making an effort to clean up the image of our immigration officials who have, in the past, earned a pretty bad rap internationally both for foreign travelers as well as us nationals wanting to return to our own country.

Dominica and Liesl were waiting for me right outside of customs.  It was so good to see my family again.  Liesl was very excited to see me and got upset even when I stepped away to use the restroom.

I was completely exhausted having only slept for a few minutes in all of my travels today so Dominica drove us back up to Peekskill.  We stopped at McDonald’s on the way home to grab some dinner as Dominica had not had anything yet and I had only had a light meal on the plane.

It was late, probably after nine, when we got back to Peekskill.  It was pretty much straight off to bed for us.  I was really, really tired.  Now to adjust back to normal life again.

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