Send My Conscience Home in a Taxi

Externalised Memory

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Longest Subway Ride Ever
Drawing of a trike
Again, an out of sequence entry. Hey, I'm only a week behind with what I have been up to!

Today I'm enroute to London. Right now I'm on a tiny weenie little jet, a CRJ200 apparently. The second smallest scheduled passenger plane I've ever been on. Put it this way, I'm in row 12 and I'm at the back of the plane! There is a row 13, but only on one side! I lie... There IS now row thirteen, but there is a row 14. Stupid superstitions.

I was a bit stressed today. I went out last night with a (disreputable) friend of mine, Andy, who I had also hang out with in Washington last week. We ended up in a bar on the Lower East Side, after much faffing about with subway trains. And I had two beers, which is equal to two thirds of the number of alcoholic drinks I had for the whole of last year. Did I mention that I'm not really a drinker? So I feel a little woozy this morning, although getting in at 2AM probably also didn't help...

I called Deb the Beautiful girlfriend on they way home, the first actual phone call I've made since I got here. Skype is your friend, people. I had some US$16 worth of credit left on my phone and only about twenty four hours left in which to use it, so I called her up at about 4PM Australian time.

I digress.

My itinerary for this trip, the fligthts at least, has gone through several iterations. And for good or ill, my flight leaving the US is actually out of Washington. So I can say I've been there twice! From New York to Washington, I had (have? I'm on it right now!) a domestic flight. Now, in version one and two of my itinerary, this flight was out of La Guardia airport leaving at about 7.30PM. La Guardia is quite hard to get to, so I was studying transport maps and finally found a bus which went from Broadway and 110th Street West, in the north of Manhattan, all the way to La Guardia. I could do it all on my metrocard.

In version three of my itinerary, my flight to Washington was leaving out of JFK at 6.39PM. I realised this today as I was preparing to pack my stuff and leave. In other words, I had to get to a different airport about an hour earlier than I thought!

Today is Memorial day here in the US, so I was going to leave myself plenty of time to get to the airport, making the assumption that the airport would be busy with domestic travellers - everyone leaves town on long weekends - and that the trains would be running slow on a weekend timetable. I was wrong about the former, but right about the latter.

So in a mild panic, I studied subway maps and things, and found out that ini fact JFK is a bit easier to get to than La Guardia. At least there is a train that goes right nearby and another going to all the terminals. All I had to do was hop on the 1 train to Columbus Circle and then catch the A train, 8th Avenue Express out to Howards Beach, then get on to the Airtrain to the airport proper...

But of course, the Subway system was undergoing maintenance because it was quiet on the long weekend. So the A train wasn't running on the track it was supposed to. Plus it wasn't an express, it was stopping at every single station... And there are a lot of stations between Columbus Circle and Howard Beach, I estimate twenty five. Columbus is just at the bottom end of Central Park, JFK is way in the butt end of Queens, on the east coast of Long Island effectively. So the train had to go all the way to the end of Manhattan, then through Brooklyn and then above ground for a few stops before making it to Howard Beach.

Oh, did I mention that I actually missed an A train, because it turned up on the wrong side of the platform? I looked at it and thought - that can't be it, it's on the wrong side. After it left, I read a sign which said "A trains are running on the local tracks this weekend! Enjoy!" I wasn't alone, at least two other people standing around with wheeled luggage looking confused.

Anyway, after at least an hour on the A train, with my twenty kilo suitcase next to me, and me anxiously following the stations on a map I have on my iphone, we FINALLY turned in the direction of JFK. The train was above ground by this time.

At JFK there's a train internal to the airport. It's a huge airport, with at least seven terminals. I know this because I had to make it to the seventh one... and of course the train went the other way around the loop! A train which appeared to have no driver, which was a bit disconcerting. Anyway, at a bit after 5PM (I'd left the flat at about 3PM, I got on said train, and it eventually dumped my at my terminal. Which thankfully was very quiet. I checked in, with a bit of brain fade when I popped my passport into the wrong bit of the passport scanning machine, and finally I had my boarding passes, not just to Washington but to London too. Yay. All I had to do was make sure I was at the right gate - after I'd had my shoes xrayed of course!

And now I'm at Washington Dulles airport waiting for my flight to London. See you all then.


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