Joe’s adventure: Day 1
(Written at half five in the morning because Jet-Lag’s a Bitch!)
Some years ago, the great Irish republic, because we like new and shiny things decided to go and build a brand new terminal for our flagship airport in Dublin. Despite the extensive traveling that I have been up to since (snort!) I had not yet had the opportunity to use it and appreciate it to its full extent. Naturally; I jumped at the opportunity when given to sample this wonder.
My day started naturally enough for a transatlantic flight at stupidly early in the morning and I found myself at first light standing waiting for the aircoach (every fifteen minutes my arse!) and noticing the odd snowflake fall around me.
Weather in Ireland has a tendency to sneak up on you like a demented toddler and by the time the coach had reached the airport those scattering of flakes had become a blinding blizzard. In much the manner as the already mentioned toddler the weather came in bursts and as I passed my way through the tangled layers of security and I.D. checks that mark American pre-clearance each view out the windows showed either clear skies or a whitish curtain of snow.
Waiting then in the meager cafe that services all US bound passengers I received a call from the architect of my trip asking if the flight had been delayed on account of the snow. “Nothing has been announced” I said assuredly.
I have long come to the opinion that it not only the C.I.A. who monitors our phone calls, it is also the Irish weather. Within minutes of me switching off my phone the P.A. buzzed informing us that “Due to extreme weather conditions” our flight was going to be delayed for about half an hour.
So well so good I thought as I left my seat in the cafe to paying customers. I went to a seating area and watched outside as the demented toddler switched between clear and white-out. I was joined in my vigil by more of my fellow travelers. Some of whom I entered into conversation with. A young offaly lad going on business to Tijuana of all places (something told me he was glad for the delay), the woman from Atlanta, transferring at New York because it is so much more expensive to just fly to Atlanta for some reason, and the couple on route to Missouri who regaled me with how much they loved Ireland (I urged them to come back! We all can do our part for the Irish tourist industry!)
While that was going on; A frustrated sounding announcer came out every now and again and gave us our regular shot of bad news. The flight was delayed again, The inbound plane was diverted to Shannon, the plane had to refuel, there was a queue to get back to Dublin, Finally it was on its way, could we wait a little bit more. Eventually we filed through the gate while they asked us (straight faced and all!) if we could move as quickly as possible so they could expedite the delay.
The flight itself was of no consequence; I finished a book, and we landed just before four in the afternoon local time. Unfortunately that meant I missed the direct buss to my destination so I had to make alternative arrangements. I wasn’t too concerned. I was a big boy, I had planned for this.
There is a bus that travels direct from JFK to central Manhattan and after some technical glitches I boarded and set off into a fantasy world. The weather was what we like to call “misty” back home so it was hard to see anything in the distance but as we traveled along the monolithic skyscrapers loomed into view out of the gloom. As I looked out of the windows. I saw the settings for countless movies and television shows traveling past my eyes. And the people, so many people! Even getting into the evening the place was a hive of activity. Easily beating my small place any day.
The bus dumped me unceremoniously at the port authority bus terminal and with some negotiation I secured a ticket for my destination. I waited with others in the rabbit-warren tunnels below the city where I started a conversation with a young fellow heading in the same general direction.
The conversation lasted nearly all of my journey. We talked about Ireland while we pulled out of the labryinth streets of New York. We talked travel while the forest of skyscrapers fell below the horizon and we talked about life in general while the sky turned dark and our bus traveled through the small towns of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It was only at the end that we asked each other’s name. Shaking goodbye for the first and last time.
Pulling into the bus terminus we were accosted by men asking “taxi?” in broken English. Somewhat foolishly I now realise I went with one of them and found out quite quickly that this guy did not know where he was going. Through a combination of asking his friend for directions and dead reckoning, We eventually found the place. And I skulked like the weary traveler I was into my hotel room. While it was ten here, it was already two in the morning back home and I was well and truly out for the count.
After taking the short time to send an “I’m safe” back home and confirm some arrangements for tomorrow. I fell into bed and a deep slumber filled with thoughts of what was going to come next.