The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.—Franklin D. Roosevelt, first inaugural address
With all due respect to your quote, Mr. President, you left something out: JFK International Airport in New York. That’s what I fear.
Now, thanks to being temporarily adopted by a nice couple on New Year’s Day, I have almost conquered that fear.
It all began this morning when I got on an American Airlines plane (after paying the detested $25 baggage fee) bound for New York. Then I fell asleep multiple times, each time awakened by a different complaining body part) for almost the duration of the 5-1/2 hour flight during which time some of my things tried to stow away on-board.
|Poster at Sea-Tac. King penguins all dressed up.|
|Too much glare, but this is another of Alaska Airline's paint schemes. I think this one has "Cars" characters and Disneyland on the tail|
|Alaska Airline's Eskimo with a lei around his neck--the Hawaiian scheme.|
AA assisted in this mutiny, I discovered later, by disguising the seat-back pocket to look like a seat-back pocket, when in actuality it’s a slot. What else would you call a flap fully attached at its bottom but attached at the sides by an 1-1/2 inch band of elastic, making the perfect receptacle for things that want to disappear out its sides.
I woke up on the final approach to JFK and began checking my pockets and day pack for certain things. I located everything but by eyeglasses and point and shoot camera. I was not getting off that airplane until I'd located both. A search revealed the sneaky seat back pocket, which led intuitively to the floor, but checking the floor was impossible until I had the airplane almost to myself.
It was a successful hunt. Both the glasses and the camera were on the floor. The glasses were directly below me, but were it not for the bar that stretches across the width of the seat near the floor, the camera might have wound up on the flight deck. As it was, I had only to go to the row in front of my seat to capture the camera.
Then I left the airplane, almost the last one off.
|I took this shot with the camera that tried to go walk-about. I think it was still pouting about being found. That "Welcome to New York" sign is, I think, in Broadway font. Funny.|
I walked and walked and rode moving sidewalks, took numerous escalators up and down, and waked and walked and walked some more. I think I might have been in New Jersey when I finally found baggage claim. Then I waited about 45 minutes for the bags to arrive. An elderly gentleman correctly interpreted the look on face and drew lines on a map brochure that showed how to get in the vicinity of the hotel courtesy van pickup spot. That was his job, by the way.
I followed “Air Train” signs until I dead-ended at an elevator. A bunch of people got on and, hestitating before the open maw, I asked, “Does this go to the Air Train?”
A kind, nice-looking fellow said, “Yes. Is that were you’re going?”
I stepped aboard and said, “I don’t really know WHERE I’m going.”
Whereupon I was adopted by the man and his wife who were going almost to my destination. The wife led the way while the man brought up the rear, making certain I didn't get lost. Sure enough, they got me on the air train, put me off at the correct stop, and pointed out the way to the hotel vans. There followed profuse thanks and many "Happy New Years."
Then I stood in the cold and wind for a half hour until the van showed up and deposited me at a Best Western hotel where I am now.
|My hotel room in Seattle didn't have Fox News Channel--the 24 hours cable news station--because its programming is delivered by Dish TV which is in a carrier dispute with Fox.|
|Nothing fancy, but clean and serviceable. It's 2 in the morning local time and the guests in the next room are still up and going in and out of their room. I think there's a kid with them, too. No Fox News here, either.|
There's no food service in this hotel and none nearby. At check in, I was handed three menus from restaurants that deliver. One is an Indian restaurant and I am taking that menu with me because it gives the Indian name of the dish and then describes the dish and lists the ingredients. Can you imagine how helpful that is going to be?
In the meantime, Julie L.'s blueberrry walnut bread has been a part of several travel meals, along with some tasty mandarin oranges. All gone now, though. And that reminds me, I went looking for a McBiscuit/McSausage/McEgg at Sea-Tac this morning and didn't find a single McDs. Imagine. Is it a McD-free zone? There were a number of restaurants open at 4 A.M., though, a far cry from the Sea-Tac of old when we dreaded getting stuck on a night lay-over for several hours and nothing was open.
Late Friday morning, I will leave this hotel and return to JFK to attempt to conquer the balance of my fear, that of negotiating the correct ticket counter for Air India, correct concourse, and correct gate. Having accomplished all that, I expect to find other people with Vantage Travel ID tags hanging around their necks. Then I'll be safe.
Next will be a 14 hour flight to New Delhi, India, followed by a two hour flight to Kolkata (Calcutta), then boarding a riverboat.
After four-plus days travel to get there, let the fun begin.