Series of unfortunate events continued....

New York Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 5 › view all entries
And so, my friend, we near the end of our fantastic trip.  But, alas, what happened to the rest of the series, you ask?  Well, you shall see.

Shannon: Shouting, "Gwen!"
Me: Waking with a start, "What?!"
Shannon: "It's snowing!"
Me: "Ugh."  Goes back to sleep.

I might've crushed Shannon's dreams but at 6 in the morning, I wouldn't care if Santa Claus was actually outside the window.  =)  Later, at a more decent hour, the sight of snow made our decision for us- definitely no conference.  My mom's from Missouri so I'd seen snow plenty of times in my life (although it's only snowed once in 100 years in Brownsville!), but just knowing that we happened to be in New York for the first snow of the season was so enchanting.
Fall meets winter. Beautiful.
  We wandered around for a bit, then headed to an outdoor Christmas market, despite the cold (I had on almost every article of clothing I brought with me! =) ).

Mistake #2 and a bit of backstory:  I had won a photo contest at my STA travel branch in Austin a while back, but getting 3rd only got me a $25 gift certificate, which doesn't buy much at STA.  A couple days before the trip, Liz and I went in to see what I could get in New York for the amount.  The answer: not much.  I could, however, purchase the airport shuttle that would pick us up from any hotel and take us directly to La Guardia for $16.  Sure, I'll take it.  I used the rest to purchase the same thing for my friend, and everyone else just purchased their's online.

Flash forward to Sunday around 1:00pm: Everyone else in our party had received calls confirming pick up time and place.
It's ironic that we look like a line-up. =)
  Not us.  Liz and I were scheduled to be picked up at 2:00pm, so with confirmation and voucher in hand we decided to call to confirm ourselves, not really worrying.  Here's how the conversation went:

Me: "Hi, my name is Gwen.  I'm just calling to confirm our shuttle today at 2:00pm."
Shuttlelady: "Sure, just give me your name."
Shuttlelady: "Hmmm....I'm not seeing that.  What time did you say it was for?"
Me: "2:00pm."
Shuttlelady: "Hmmm....are you traveling with anyone else?"
Me: "Yes, Liz __."
Shuttlelady: "No, ma'am, I'm not finding anything.  We don't have a reservation for you."
Me: "Huh?  I have a confirmation right in front of me.  Pick up at 2:00pm at the Hampton Inn."
Shuttlelady: "No, ma'am.  I'm sorry but I can't help you.
HUGE Christmas ornaments!
  What you have is just a voucher, you needed to call 24-hrs in advance to make a reservation, there's no room for you."

At that point I hung up angrily because STA failed to inform me of this necessary step.  With little time 'til our flight and no idea how long it would take to get there, we had no other option but to take a taxi to the airport.  It was pretty much the most expensive photo I've ever taken- $100 for the two of us(+$32 for the shuttle).  I sadly parted with my $50, thinking STA better be ready for when I go in there on Monday.  Because the cab was faster than the shuttle, we arrived 20 minutes earlier than anyone else.  After passing through a long line at security, we feasted on the wonderful terminal food- pretzels, salads and brownies.

On the third trip to the Au Bon Pain stand, we noticed that our flight back to SA was delayed an hour due to the snow.  While we waited for everyone else to arrive, we contemplated the consequences.  Our layover flight in Houston was, of course, only 50 minutes long.  Liz and I laughed at what would undoubtedly be major frustration for the rest(I didn't have class until 2:00pm the next day, so I wasn't worried).  Sure enough, everyone else arrives, I tell them the news, and our driver(of all people!) gets angry at me, the humble messenger, because she has homework she needs to do.  After many talks with the airline staff, we come to realize that many of the people on our flight also needed the connection so they would try to hold back the plane for us.
So pretty. =)
  Another crisis averted, right?!

Not quite.  The flight itself was uneventful.  We were all entering the leg of the trip when, although you don't really want to leave, once you get heading home, you want nothing else but to get there.  We checked one bag on the way back, as my friend couldn't easily stuff a nearly 50 pound duffle bag into overhead(!), so we went immediately to baggage claim, ready to drive the hour to Austin and sleep(since it was nearly 2 in the morning by this point).  As we wait for her duffle bag to come around, I glance around the empty airport and spot our driver rifling through her bag a little frantically.  I know something is wrong.

Mistake #3:  As she approaches us, I brace myself.  "Hey guys. So, uh, I can't find my keys.
I was so cold. I'm pretty sure my boots were soaked through by this point, but it was worth risking frostbite. ;)
" *Sheepish smile* "My roommate in Austin can bring me my spare but I"m gonna go check by the car first."  Sweet.  It's so late, and I'm so tired, I'm indifferent.  Five minutes later I get a call- success!  But, what?  How would she have found her keys by the car? Strange? I think yes.  We walk to her car as she tells us the story- she found her keys in the ignition and the doors were unlocked.  Hold it- what?  That doesn't sound right to me, but I'm too tired to ask questions.  We open the too-small trunk and fit our baggage in like puzzle pieces.  I sit in the car and glance up at the cab light, which is not on.  Synapses in my brain fire off messages. 

"Lisa, do the lights in here usually turn on when every single door is open?"

..Yeah.  I then innocently suggest she check her car battery.  Even then, she denies that the car could be dead.  I smile smugly at being right about something that's going to be really shitty.  Sure enough- turns the key, nothing.  Not even a sputter.  The car didn't even want to breathe its last breath for us.  Completely and totally dead.  When will this end?  With no other options, a couple of us go back into the airport looking for security or just some charitable passerby to jumpstart the car.  20 minutes later, security pulls up in a pickup, looking like an angel.  Connect the jumper cables, sit back, turn the key, wait. 

After the appropriate amount of time and in near hysterical relief we get in the car, ready to go.
  Turn the key, nothing.  Huh?  She tries again, I look up in interest.  The gas needle never leaves empty.  Not only is this really unfortunate, but the whole situation finally connects- She left.  The car.  RUNNING.  Now, I know you're wondering why no one else noticed that the car was running when we left.  Unfortunately, the rest of us had disembarked as soon as we parked, in our hurry, and forgot to perform the obligatory make-sure-the-car-is-off check, stupidly assuming the driver would take care of that one for us.  (She really is a very smart girl; that's part of the reason why this story is so funny.) And so, we went on another mad search for gasoline.  Our Angel returns a short time later, with a grin and a "Don't even ask where I got this but, here's a little bit of gas."  Sketchy, yes, but none of us gave a damn at that point.  We thank him for his life-saving help, and turn our car on. 

Crisis, finally, averted. =)          
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Fall meets winter.  Beautiful.
Fall meets winter. Beautiful.
Its ironic that we look like a li…
It's ironic that we look like a l…
HUGE Christmas ornaments!
HUGE Christmas ornaments!
So pretty. =)
So pretty. =)
I was so cold.  Im pretty sure my…
I was so cold. I'm pretty sure m…
More blurry photos taken by strang…
More blurry photos taken by stran…
The Christmas market.
The Christmas market.
New York
photo by: herman_munster