"Make sure your seatbacks and tray tables are in their upright... oh, forget it, we're all going to die anyway"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Travelling is usually an enlightening experience. This was certainly true of my recent three-day trip to visit my sister in New York City. Some of the gems I can share with you:

  • If your flight is delayed due to poor weather at your destination airport, but later the airline cancels the delay and declares that they are going to "give it a shot", beware.
  • If you are on such a flight, and the pilot orders the flight attendants to take their seats and suggests that passengers tighten their seatbelts, and the flight attendants reminds you that the "barf bags are in the seat pocket in front of you," you're in for a ride.
  • People lose ALL sense of humor when their plane hits turbulence.
  • New York is an absolutely fascinating town. And by town, I mean large-ass megalopolis. So much to see and do, and not just in Manhattan. I highly recommend it.
  • New York cabbies must be some of the most skilled drivers in the world. I imagine it's what the Blue Angels would look like if they were talking on a cell phone in a foreign language while flying.
  • If you are a visitor in New York City, you will stand out. There is no way to avoid it.
  • The East River has a specific smell. It's like Justice Stewart's definition of pornography... I can't define it, but I know it when I smell it.
  • The people of New York have a reputation for being assholes, but I didn't find that to be the case. Except for Jets fans on Sundays. They are, as one might guess, unbridled dickheads.
  • Make sure that your flight isn't scheduled for the one day where it might be difficult to get to the airport.
  • Arrive early for any flights out of LaGuardia. The security lines can snake back and forth around the entire Departures section. It's like the lines at Cedar Point, only without the fun ride at the end. Unless, of course, you end up on one of the flights I mentioned earlier.
  • On a 7:30 a.m. flight, worry more about the 60-year-old guy next to you than the 6-month-old in the seat in front of you. Both of them will sleep through the flight. But only the 60-year-old will snore like a lumberjack the whole way.
  • The three days you leave Michigan will always, ALWAYS be the nicest few days of the month weather-wise.

Anyone else have recent travel advice?


Smitty 6:38 PM  


The last time I had a pilot say they were going to "give it a shot" I was on a helicopter. In body armor. Armed with a rifle and grenades. With 29 of my closest friends. Landing in a lovely section of downtown Mogadishu.

See? When that pilot wanted to "give it a shot," we sorta saw what he meant. And I was being paid for that trip, not the pay-or, but the pay-ee. That made "let's give it a shot" a lot nicer, on top of the fact that we could at least shoot at something when we got off of said flight.

You? You paid...lots of money...got a similar trip...and couldn't shoot anything when you got off.

Mrs. Smitty,  6:59 PM  

The last time I was on a flight where the pilot was going to give a shot and the flight attendants were told to sit down: one said flight attendant was walking down the aisle, when she got to the row I was in we asked her for more barf bags, she replied "I'm not supposed to be up" It's always a good sign when your customer service matches the turbulence.

steves 6:31 AM  

NYC was interesting, but I honestly don't care if I go back. The people were mostly nice and I felt safe, but I guess I just don't see the appeal. Central Park was weird. The guide went on and on about it and I just thought, 'what is the big deal about a bunch of trees?' I guess it depends on what you are used to. The last time we were there, we were supposed to fly out of JFK. The flight was too full and the airline said they had another, but it was leaving from La Guardia and we had to hurry. They got us a cab and told the driver when our flight left. It was just like in the movies when someone gets in the cab and says, "make it as fast as you can." He drove very aggressively (even by NYC standards) and we made it just in time.

I was on a flight when the FA's had to sit down. Great fun. Flying is such an unpleasant experience now, with the delays, cramped conditions, and random searches.

Rickey Henderson 1:56 PM  

Always wear a snarky t-shirt when flying. Airline attendants love snark.

RE: Central Park... True, it is just a bunch of tree and rocks, but the interesting thing is that it's all man-made. Nothing there grew naturally, it was all designed & landscaped to look like it however. Fairly nifty stuff.

steves 2:56 PM  

It doesn't look natural, though. Having grown up in the 'sticks', it doesn't look like any forest I have ever seen. I am not saying it is bad, but is just isn't natural.

Bob "Chief Beer Advocate" 9:27 AM  

My sister lived in New York for about 7 years and has recently return along with my best friend and numerous other Michiganders I know.

That place is so populated with Michiganders that one bar my sister used to go to was called the Great Lakes Saloon and was owned by Michigan natives.

I have been there a few times. My most recent trip was interesting. My friend Brian lived in a converted barn that was built in the 1800s in Brooklyn at the end of a cobblestone alley. The alley was cool because it was shared by all of the surrounding residents who could park and BBQ there.

The only problem was the area. When I told the cab driver where to stop he actually asked me if I was sure I really wanted to be let off at that location. If the cab driver is worried, maybe I should have been worried too. It ended up being a good visit.

B Mac 9:27 AM  

I think Central Park would be great if you lived nearby. Living in the middle of that much hubbub and chaos, it would be nice to have a place to throw a football or just generally get away from the massive crush of humanity, at least to some extent.

However, I agree with Steve on the "realness" of the park. As a frequent visitor to Up North*, Central Park doesn't really look like anything I've ever seen in nature. It's more like a terrarium for humans.

* For those of you who aren't from Michigan, Up North is a specific area located between Clare and the Mackinac Bridge. Michiganders visit Up North during the period between the snow melt and the end of deer season.

steves 10:21 AM  

"* For those of you who aren't from Michigan, Up North is a specific area located between Clare and the Mackinac Bridge."

Having grown up in the UP, the area you describe is 'down south.' I first crossed the Mac when I was 18 and heading down to college.

B Mac 10:43 AM  

For those from the UP, I thought everything below the bridge (i.e. the Land of the Trolls) was just "Detroit". Everything outside of the actual city (e.g. Kalamazoo, Saginaw, Mt. Pleasant) is just considered suburbs or outskirts.

Similarly, for us Trolls, everything past St. Ignace is just "near Marquette".

Andy 11:12 AM  

OK, I guess I need to weigh in. I grew up in NY. Not the city, but long island.

You all are taking Central Park through Michigan eyes. They in NY City don't know what "up north" or "real parks" look like. They know crazyness and loud at all hours of the day. They don't know how to drive, but know how to take a subway and cab and walk everywhere.

Central Park is amazing because in the middle of a small island with 3 million people, there is a big park. With an ice skating rink. And a big reservour. It is a getaway in the middle of big, huge city. (except for at night...).

As for the flight...B Mac - that was hilarious. Beautiful! I flew back from Paris and the plane was shaking so hard that had the wing broken off, I would not have been surprised one bit. We kept dropping, then lifting again. Scary as hell. Stuff was falling out of the overheads, people were throwing up. When it was done, the flight attendant told us that it was the worst flight ever.

Oh, and the NY cabbies - they are great drivers. When all the roads go one way and are all perpendicular, it is easy to drive like a bat out of hell. It is great fun!

Rickey Henderson 2:10 PM  

I guess my point about the park is that it's a place for New Yorkers to go to forget they're living in a city. On that level it succeeds.

If you want to see a modern marvel, check out the Brooklyn Bridge. Not that's something incredible to see--a 100 year old suspension bridge. Some of Rickey's fondest NYC memories are late night strolls across the bridge with various ladies.

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