Sunday, August 12, 2012

Life is an adventure

We left with the two groups and intern Jessi on August 4th for the US...the idea was to take care of some of Valerie’s persistent physical problems (new insole solutions for her feet, some major teeth work that was going to be cheaper here with a very kind, caring, and generous dentist we know in Indiana) and then take a week of vacation to Reykjavik, Iceland via a very generous gift of a buddy pass that would allow us to fly much, much cheaper than a regular ticket (the same way we got back to the US to begin the trip.)

Valerie’s teeth are in progress (requiring another trip later this week for the finishing touches) and the insoles were purchased at great expense, along with new, more supportive shoes....but the underlying problems are still there, and may take quite a while to resolve, presuming they actually do so.
We were to leave for Iceland late Thursday night from JFK, so we flew in the day before to see some of NYC before leaving. Even getting the hang of the subway system it soon became apparent that Valerie’s feet and resulting inability to walk much were a much bigger problem than we had realized. Trying to see the sites proved much more difficult than we thought. The first day we really only had time to see Times Square before heading back to our hotel, which due to cost restraints was not in Manhattan.
The next day we had time to venture into Chelsea Market (accidentally, we just stumbled upon it while walking looking for something else)...before heading down to meet our friend Rolando, who is from Honduras but has lived in the area for the past ten years. (we sat next to Larry Johnson...former NBA player at the quaint little Italian restaurant we ate at in the West Village, said restaurant being next door to a cupcake store that won on Cupcake Wars as well.)
Valerie walking the short mile from Chelsea Market to the West Village took us an hour, as the awkwardness/pain was just too much to handle.
This will come into play more fairly soon.
Here is Valerie looking comfortable resting on a stoop NYC style while we were making that beautiful walk hour was just fine with such interesting stuff to see. 
After getting to see Rolando ever so briefly (with great effort on his part to even make it to see us) we made our way back to JFK for the 11:10PM flight that night...which took longer than we expected, got checked in and was waiting for the flight, when it became worrying that we would not make the flight. The flight was delayed due to late incoming aircraft, and as the boarding process ending finally at near midnight, the gate agent told us he only had one seat. We were not about to split up, so we declined....but having learned that in these circumstances we should never leave the gate area until the plane pulled away, we stuck around to talk about what we were going to do while we waited for our plane to sadly depart. But it did not...and we kept looking, but it never moved. After nearly an hour more...the gate agent appeared again and told us not to go anywhere. What? Perhaps we would indeed get on! Turns out there was a problem with one of the passengers, and the police came, and they pulled him off. That was fairly exciting. Now there were two seats, but we were then informed that the bag with all my clothes, supplies...essentially everything I would need would not make the flight, nor would it come the next day...the bag could not fly without me, so we would not get it until we returned. Given how much it would cost to replace the essentials (if that would even be possible there for clothing, accessories, etc.) we just decided we could not do jacket, no shirts, get the idea. The plane left. Then another two gate agents that were not standing there for the previous exchange exclaimed upon hearing our story “oh, the bag would have made the next flight, no problem!”

So, resigned to the fact we were not going to make it, and thinking that day was our best chance to get out, we made our way to change our ticket to just head back to IND the next us a chance to talk to other travelers in even worse boats also in line, including two women who spent eight hours in a plane that day without every leaving the ground.   Nothing like one of those conversations to immediately brighten your situation.  After all that, it was after 2:00AM. We could not get a hotel because of problems at nearby La Guardia caused hotels to fill to 100%, plus who knows when we would have gotten there we then were relegated to finding a place on the floor near gate 11, along with quite a few other travelers. We made our nest, and got something resembling sleep. Valerie looks great even crashing here, but of course. 

The whole time we were having fun with the situation, knowing God has us where He wanted us, and eventually realizing that with Valerie’s feet continuingly developing situation, that walking all over Iceland as would have been required...would not have worked well anyway. 

The weather related problems at La Guardia proceeded apace to disrupt smaller plane flights from Newark and JFK (as well as the roof there apparently...see the picture here for non-desired water entrance), and by the late morning after a few hours sleep we discovered the flights to IND had been cancelled, and since we were flying the time flights were resumed we were going to be waiting for another day or two...or more, before being able to get out as people scrambled. Quickly then we talked, and made alternate was time to rent a car. We could have stayed in NYC...but with Valerie not being able to walk much at all by this point, that seemed like a more frustrating option in knowing what we could do but not be able to do. It did take over three hours though to get our bag back before we could leave.   

Booking online confirmed we had a vehicle...which was good when we finally showed up in line at the counter.  We left late in the afternoon. Then we got to see a different side of NYC....driving through it at rush hour on a Friday, trying to get to the Holland tunnel to start the trek. I would not want to wait almost three hours to go six miles on a weekly basis, but it was certainly an interesting experience getting to see a different side of things....little Italy, watching people get tickets for "blocking the box", people watching again...what a city to people watch, it was continually amazing the differences between the street, sites, the subway, all certainly interesting on a variety of levels.   

Renting the car was not cheap, so we had an impetus to get back to Indiana by Sunday afternoon.  With 15 plus hours total of driving over 800 miles later, we made it with no problems.   Good thing we booked a sub-compact that averaged 37MPG as we have found gasoline prices here are about the same as diesel prices in Honduras.  Wow. 
We had a few interesting stops along the way...including an “Asian Buffet” restaurant with all you could eat sushi (one of our few actual meals), long stretches where we got to talk quite a bit about whatever crossed our mind, beautiful sites and quite a few smiles through it all. 
No Iceland, no problem.  

1 comment:

Mark LeSuer said...

At least you got to drive through God's country (Pennsylvania).