Another stellar trip
You may have seen my note that I was in Boston last week. I flew in on Monday with 6 co-workers to train on a new admin system that we are purchasing. I have to admit, I was pretty pumped to go. I have always wanted to go to Boston because of all the history in that city. But, I was also a little upset because I couldn’t take Amy with me. She has probably wanted to go to Boston more than me. I was planning on taking her, but we didn’t find out until the last minute that I was definitely going. So that made booking a flight for Amy nearly impossible. So, I was very sad for a week.
Monday – 4:30 am
Got up early so that I could get to the airport an hour before my 7:30 flight. Boarded a little “puddle jumper” bound for Cleveland. Flying into Cleveland was educational. I didn’t realize that Cleveland was on the “coast.” That being the coastline of Lake Erie. Once we landed, we were only in the terminal long enough to get to our connection before we had to board again.
This is something I can’t figure out. That’s a lie, I have a pretty good idea why they do it, but we took a little “puddle jumper” from Little Rock to Cleveland and then a big 737 from Cleveland to Boston. What’s up with that? I believe that Continental Airlines are just a bunch of sadistic freaks.
We arrived in Boston around 1:00 and, after filing a missing bag claim by one of my co-workers, we were off to the hotel. We stayed at the Hampton Inn Boston/Natick. It was really convenient because it was right across the street from the company office that we were training at. It was also located right across from the Natick Mall, which was a really nice mall.
Well, once we got situated, we decided to all meet for lunch and ended up going to the mall and we ate at a cafe in Nordstrom’s called Cafe Bistro. Which brought 2 questions to mind:
“Have I ever eaten in a department store cafe before?” to which the answer is “No.” The closest that I have come to that is eating in the food court of a mall or McDonalds in Wal-Mart.
And the second was:
“Isn’t that name a bit redundant? I mean isn’t a Bistro just another word for Cafe?” Yeah, this is the mind of Dusty.
Anyway, and this is for Dustin, the food was really good. I had the Honey Chipotle Steak Sandwich. This is the description:
seared sliced steak, caramelized onions, roasted sweet peppers, baby spinach, spicy cumin aioli on toasted ciabatta
And yes…it was as good as it sounds.
After lunch, the ladies wanted to go shopping…which I wanted no part of. So, I set off in search of a movie theater that I had heard was in the area. I walked all through the mall and out the other side and couldn’t find it. So, I decided to duck into a store and ask directions. So, the closest thing was a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream store. I didn’t even know it was a franchise. I mean, I knew about the ice cream, but I didn’t know it was a chain like Baskin Robins.
On the way in, I decided it was time to start having fun with these “Yankees.” Let me explain. My stepdad’s brother lives in Boston. When my mom, stepdad, and sister would go visit, everyone from Boston would try to keep my sister talking because she has this thick southern drawl. So, they got a kick out of it. Well, now it’s my turn. I mosey (yes. I said mosey. I had to get in character) up to the counter and in a nice southern drawl, I address the girl at the counter:
“Skuze me, ma’am. Eye’m lukin’ fer the A.M.C moovie the-ater. Kin you point me in the rite die-rection?”
As soon as I started talking, her eyes got real big and she grinned from ear to ear. Northerns…it’s almost too easy. Anyway, she starts telling me where to go and asked if I’m parked in their parking lot and I say,
“No ma’am. Eye’m akshoe-ly walkin’. Eye’m stayin’ at a ho-tel over by the mall and fig-ured eye’d git out fer a walk.”
(More grinning on her part.)
Long story short, I get the directions and am on my way. Good times at Ben & Jerry’s.
I decided to do a double feature and watched Hancock followed by Hellboy 2: The Golden Army. Both films were okay, but would have been just as good on DVD.
Tuesday through Friday were all pretty much the same. From 8 to 5, we had training classes across the street at SunGard. Once again, this next part is for Dustin. The lunch menu each day was nothing to write home about, but he dinners were pretty good.
Joe’s American Bar & Grill – Pretty good food. By the end of the first training day, we were all beat and ready to eat. We just got a bunch of appetizers and munched on them. I think we had the Spinach and Artichoke dip, the Chicken Quesadillas, and the Chicken Nachos. It was a bit more upscale than, say a Chili’s, so I expected a bit better service. We sat there for about 10 minutes before I had to go to the hostess to ask for a server. Worked out in the end because she comped a couple of desserts for us.
Legal Sea Foods – This was a bit of a sore spot for me. You see, Monday night before I split off from the ladies, I made the comment that I at least wanted some good seafood before I left the Boston area. To which they replied, “Legal Sea Foods.” So, I thought, cool, we’ll go some night. Well, when the rest of our group from the Jacksonville, FL office got in later that afternoon, they all went to Legal Sea Food. Where was I? Either finishing up Hancock or just starting Hellboy 2. I was a little peeved, but I quickly got over it. So, on Wednesday night, I decided I was just going to walk down to Legal’s.
Side note: Everybody thought I was crazy for walking everywhere. They’re all telling me to take the hotel shuttle. To which I respond, “It’s only a little over a mile. That’s nothing.” City folk. Go figure.
Anyway, a couple of the other girls met me there and I ordered the Lobster Roll. Not too impressed with lobster. Everything else was pretty good though.
Duck Tour and Legal Sea Foods – This was the night I was really looking forward to. SunGard organized a company outing. We went into Boston for a Duck Tour and then on to another Legal Sea Foods for dinner. (I guess I was making up for missing the first night.) The Duck Tour was really neat. Our driver was Captain Mack. Really neat guy. Boston is so full of history, I was running on information overload and was loving every minute of it. I didn’t get a lot of really good pictures because I was toting a disposable camera. I had left the digital one with Amy back home. But, I’ll try to remember to post some later.
Once the Duck Tour was finished, we walked over to Legal in downtown Boston. They had a nice menu prepared for us. We had a choice of a few different items, but I went with the New England Clam Chowder, Grilled Salmon, and everyone got the Boston Cream Pie for dessert. I had never had clam chowder before and I must say I was a little hesitant. But it was AWESOME! Loved it! The salmon, of course was delicious and the Boston Cream Pie was out of this world. If you go to Boston, go to Legal and try to order that exact same menu. You will be glad you did.
Friday started out like the others. But we only had class until noon. Then we all split up until about 2:30 where we met for the shuttle back to the airport for our 4:30 flight. So, this is where the trip got “fun.” We got to the checkin counter and found out that we had been bumped to the 3:30 flight to Newark. Which was great. Currently, we were on track to get home at 10:00 pm. So, an hour earlier would be great. Then they tell us that the 3:30 flight is an hour delayed. So, now we’re back to 4:30. Oh well, we have time to kill. So, where do we go? We went to Legal’s Test Kitchen. That is the Legal Sea Foods airport restaurant. I actually had a burger this time. And it was really good.
Well, we thought we were going to have to get our food to go because they started boarding our plane. But, it was a false alarm. Anyway, we got on the plane, and, wouldn’t you know it, get seated in the back across from the bathroom. Sucktastic. The pilot comes over the intercom and says that we are going to be a little delayed in taking off because of traffic in Newark. So, I’m thinking, “I hope we don’t miss our connection. There aren’t that many flights from Newark to Little Rock.” We ended up sitting in the plane, on the runway, waiting to take off for 2 hours. We landed in Newark at about 7:25. Our connecting flight was scheduled for a 7:30 take off. We had 2 people on the phone talking to the airline trying to get them to hold the flight. They didn’t hold it. What was stupid was that about 15 people missed that flight. The plane holds, at the max, about 50 people. I found it odd that the only flight that wasn’t delayed at Newark was our flight to Little Rock.
So, now we’re off to the Continental Customer Service desk. Long story short, we have 2 options:
- 1) Wait for the next flight to Little Rock, which would be the next day sometime.
- 2) Catch a flight to Houston in an hour and then take a 7 am flight to Little Rock the next day.
We go with the flight to Houston. At least we’re getting further south and it’s in a bigger plane. Which means a bit more comfortable ride than the puddle jumper. Also, we get our bags re-routed so that they’ll meet us in Little Rock since they didn’t make it on the last Little Rock flight. So, now we have about an hour to kill because the 8:15 flight to Houston is … surprise, surprise… delayed. We finally board and someone else is in my seat but at this point I’m beyond caring and just sit down in a seat somewhere. I end up sitting next to this couple from New York that are on their way to Houston for a friend’s wedding. We had some good conversations. They were really nice. It’s funny though, because I’m starting to think that all Northerners secretly want to be Southerners. A few of people that I met told me the same things or asked me the same questions:
- I love grits. Especially cheese grits.
- I love sweet tea.
- Do you guys have Waffle House in the South.
I started laughing at the last one. Please. Do we have Waffle House? Where do you think it got started. Anyway, we had some fun conversations.
We landed in Houston at midnight. The airport was like a ghost town. We had decided not to get a hotel because by the time we got checked in and in bed, we would only be able to sleep for 3 hours before we would have to be back at the airport. So, we made our way to the B terminal which was where our flight was scheduled to depart from. We didn’t know what gate our flight was scheduled to depart from and evidently neither did the departure monitors. We just made a guess and decided to set up camp in one of the four corners. You see, the B terminal at George Bush International, is set up like a big X, the gates are at the top corners and the food and security area was in the middle. We camped out in the top right corner of the X. Little did we know that our flight was going to depart from the lower left corner. Anyway, we were wondering what the best place to sleep would be: floor, chairs, possible sofa? Luckily, we planned ahead and “borrowed” some pillows and blankets from the previous flight. We get to the “camp grounds” and look around. Not a lot of options. A couple of people slept on the floor, a couple of people slept in the chairs, and a couple of the ladies slept on top of the chairs. That was a real sight to see. Here’s what the seats look like:
Notice the metal armrest. Can’t lay down on them. The people that slept in the chairs just balled up in the chairs. The ladies that slept on the top of the chairs just laid down across the top like they were on display at a funeral wake. It was weird. I have yet to say where I slept. Well, I wanted to make sure everyone was situated before I went down and I was also surveying the situation. I tried lining up a couple of chairs from a restaurant table, but that didn’t work. Then I remembered passing by a few massage chairs on the way in. Those turned out not to be as comfortable as one would think. You see, the cushion is cut out in the middle of the back so you sit down and you’re all hunchbacked. So, right across from me is one of those airport carts. You know, the golf carts that are always running around the airport. Well, I figure I can curl up on one of those seats and I finally got a little sleep.
I woke up around 5:15 and wandered back down to the rest of my group. We were all feeling pretty rough. We collected everyone and everything and wandered to the other side of the terminal to await our flight. Everything else went off without a hitch. I never thought I’d be so happy to see downtown Little Rock from the air. The trip was finally over. All I had to do was collect my bag and it was off to Greers Ferry Lake to meet Amy and Iliana. So we stand around the baggage carousel and start to wonder where our bags are. Remember, we had them re-routed. Well, I head off to the Continental ticket counter to see what’s up. Evidently, they didn’t go to Houston with us. They were still, more than likely, in Newark waiting on the next Little Rock flight. And I say “more than likely” because the Continental clerk really had no idea.
By the way, Continental customer service sucks. Just thought I’d throw that out there. If anyone that works for Continental Airlines ever reads this, your company sucks. Every part of it. Suck-a-riffic. I mean, you guys excel at sucking. If sucking were an Olympic sport, you would not only medal, but you would get the Gold, Silver, and Bronze.
I decide to file a claim and leave for the lake. And that sums up my trip to Boston.
I really enjoyed Boston, just not the traveling part. I found out yesterday that I have to go to Jacksonville, FL in 2 weeks. If I can’t figure a way to take Amy on that one she’ll probably divorce me.:) I’m going to try to talk my company into just letting me drive down and pay for my gas. That way, I can take Amy and Iliana and we will have a car while we are down there. Amy and Iliana can go to the beach during the day while I’m at work. It’s only about 20 miles from Jacksonville. Oh well, we’ll see.
Anyway, thanks for staying with me for this long. I know it was a bit wordy. If you know me, you know I’m wordy. So…here ya do.