Monday, February 13, 2006

Home Sweet Home...

It's good to be home. I arrived in Basel at 4:25 PM yesterday and TBF was waiting at Euro-airport for me just outside. Thanks very much to the nice man who works for Roche who put my bags up and took them down on the last leg - LHR to BSL ( for all you travel geeks out there who know the airport codes) - I was pretty tired by then! So...here are a few events from my trip last week.
Parsippany, NJ - all went well including the journey on Wednesday evening from Newark to Atlanta. I was anticipating a bad "intra-USA" trip. Let me tell you...domestic US air travel is no fun any more. Before moving to Basel I travelled extensively for business, and mostly intra-USA. Back then, pre-911, it was easy peasy (as the Brits say). I would drive from the office to O'Hare (ORD) and park, run to the gate and arrive at the gate about 20 minutes before the scheduled take off - no problem! Now, you must allot at least 90 minutes depending on the airport. Newark tends to be a nightmare, but after practically disrobing while going through security...all was well. At one point my boss (who I was travelling with last week) commented that I was practically naked after I had to strip off my layers for security. But, all went well. Note to Pete V. - I will definitely contact you next time - would love to get together!
Atlanta - We (boss and I) arrived in Atlanta at around 9PM and the lovely Sam Epp was waiting for us post baggage claim to take us to our hotel. Sam owns the limo company, and I advise anyone travelling to Atlanta who needs a limo to contact Sam!! Sam has very cool tricked out SUVs and travelling with Sam is like having your own personal body guard! Well, let me tell you...Sam was definitely the highlight of the evening. After dropping us off at the Hilton Northeast (somewhere near Duluth,GA) the boss successfully checked in and before going to his room suggested we meet in the bar in 15 minutes for our last chance for a meal for the evening (this was after he and I bitched and moaned about flying economy in the US and not getting a meal). So, I hand over my Amex to the nice young lady at the desk and she tells me she can't find me a room and they are oversold... and horror of all horrors...I am being shipped off to the La Quinta!!!! Oh my god ...do you know what this means to a hotel diva????? Quick phone call to boss saying see ya tomorrow and I'm whisked off to La Quinta. First of all, the La Quinta doesn't have a proper sign outside...it's been demolished and a small "Bayside Suite" banner is in it's place. Now, I never, and I mean never, stay at a hotel, any motel, at which you enter your room from the outside!!!!! Ladies ...this is not safe! I was horrified by the exterior room entrance. Luckily, I survived the night, but...there was no door on the bathroom, the sheets on the bed were definitely of a low thread count, my shampoo came in the equivalent of a plastic McDonalds ketchup packet, the bar soap cracked in half in my hand when I tried to lather up due to thinness, and the heater did not work properly so I woke up after a very poor night's sleep as a Mrs. TBF-sicle. Thank God I was only in the room for about 7 hours total. Luckily, there were no bugs or rodents - to my knowledge. I got up early so I could get out and wait to be picked up by the boss. I'm not even going to horrify you by describing the "breakfast room", but suffice it to say that there was no way I was going to have an egg from the giant bowl 'o hard boiled eggs" or a waffle from the lady reading the morning paper with the squeeze bottle of waffle batter. The boss laughed at my experience, but admitted that if anything had happened to me he would have felt horrible for unknowingly taking the last room at the Hilton. Ok, the day was ok, and when I left the office to return to the airport - Sam Epp was waiting to whisk me off and send me on my way to ORD.
Chicago - Arrival on time, pick up slightly delayed due to traffic coming out of the limo lot and into the O'Hare melee. I had the driver take me straight to Kobe East - my current favorite Japanese restaurant where mom (known as Jo to TBF) met me. I ordered some carryout sushi - YUMMY - and then headed to chez Jo for a restful night. Mom and I had lunch out, shopped at Woodfield and then met my bro and sis-in-law at their place before proceeding to Banana Moon (Deerfield, IL) for a nice dinner. Saturday, mom and I went over to TBF's sister's place and visited with her, bro-in-law and the kids. It was a very nice time indeed...and thanks to sis of TBF for the ride Saturday evening back to ORD for my journey home.
Special journey to LHR - Check in at O'Hare was uneventful, but when I reached the lounge, the poor lady was in the process of trying to get some very slow travellers (all men) to hurry up and get to the gate for the flight to London (one before mine) that was about to close without them on board. They were a lame bunch...one of them said to her...I believe I misplaced my boarding card, to which she said...SIR - GO TO THE GATE NOW AND THEY WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU...BUT GO NOW!!!! Well, I joked around with her and tried to make her feel better as she was very worried and stressed for these guys who were moving in the slow lane. Anyway, it was a sleeper service so I went to the dining room to catch a quick bite before boarding so I could sleep on the flight. Much to my pleasant surprise, she appeared a moment later asking me for my boarding card and telling me not to eat much because she was upgarding me to 1st class!!!! What a nice lady ... definitely made up for the La Quinta experience. This was my very first 1st class experience and hopefully not the last!
Well...back to the beginning of this lengthy post...TBF was waiting for me when I arrived at BSL...HOME SWEET HOME...I missed him a lot!
Happy Valentines Day for all you lovers out there!
Ciao.

6 comments:

CanadianSwiss said...

Quite an exciting trip you had there! But I'm sure 1st class made up for the other mess-ups. Hehe. And I'll make sure both Orange and I are very friendly to the ground stuards/esses

Expat Traveler said...

Wow - what a trip... I guess it's a fast whirlwind tour and back. But I'm sure it feels gerat to be home.

Michael said...

You gotta love International First Class, did they give you a "refresher kit"?

Gretchen said...

I'm glad you're back. I was getting concerned about TBF... staying up late at night listening to bad music (the CDs he borrowed from me), and seeking companionship with my crazy Hund, Grady!

Karen said...

What a small world - I used to live in Deerfield, Il!

J said...

I've just found TBF's blog off of Christinas, and wanted to let you know that I enjoyed reading about your trip - even if I do travel at the other end of the spectrum as you. I'm actually amazed if a hotel I stay in offers breakfast.

J
Germany Doesn't Suck