The long journey home: unscheduled stop in Denver

Denver Travel Blog

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My train platform 14

My long journey back home from Amsterdam began with a wake-up call I requested for 7:30 a.m. with the hotel reception. True to their word the call came in Dutch asking me to get up, of course by this time Agnes was awake and dressed. She did not allow me to remain in bed as I struggled helplessly to keep my eyes open, but I knew I was fighting a losing battle so I picked me up and out of bed right into the shower. The hot water running down my back felt so refreshing as I stood still feeling nothing but warm. After what seemed like an incredibly long time, I stepped out and got me dressed up. We headed down to breakfast on the first floor, the plan was for me to leave the hotel at no later than 9:00 a.m. if I was to make my flight (Schipol is a busy airport).

Train station

I checked out right after breakfast and Agnes helped me carry my bag to the train station where I bought a one way ticket from Central Station to Schipol for 4.75 euros. We said goodbyes: Agnes was to remain at the hotel waiting for Margaret to pick her up for a day trip to Mastrich. My train ride was not long and I made good time to start the rather long ticketing/ check-in line. After nearly fourty minutes in line, I finally got checked in and headed to the security gate: another 40 minutes got me through the second security gate for passengers headed to the US. Our flight to Philadelphia took off in time arriving in Philadelphia at quarter after 3:00 p.m.

Here comes the fun part: US immigration and passport control lines, if you have arrived into the United States recently through Philadelphia, you know what I’m talking about.

Agnes saw me off to the train
The lines are exceptional, but the proficiency of the immigrations officers is commendable too. I stood on the left where US Citizens and Permanent Residents were and on the right where ‘All other visitors’. Finally it was my turn and I approached the counter I handed my passport, permanent resident card and declaration form to the lady officer who looking at my passport proceeded to ask which country I’m from and what the purpose of my visit to the United States was. I answered her question which was immediately followed by another: holding my Permanent Resident card she asked “are you a resident of the United States?” (No I’m a resident of the moon, I thought inwardly), Yes ma’am I answered. She asked how much money I was bringing in with me and if I was carry any foods into the US.
My train to schipol
Once the ‘interrogation’ was done, I proceeded to baggage claim where I waited another 25 minutes before picking up my luggage only to re-check it 5 minutes later.

My connecting flight from Philadelphia to Phoenix was scheduled to leave at 6:05 p.m. and I was glad I had the time in between because the security check and travel to my departure gate all together took more than an hour and a half. Exhausted and sleepy, I made it to the gate and sat down with everyone else to be called to board. By this time, we had a little less than an hour to wait. We boarded at gate G4 on time and then sat in the plan for 40 minutes before the Pilot was kind enough to announce over the PA that they were having issues getting the plane fuel levels upto where they would like it, go figure that. Once the fuel level was up the pilot again informed us that they were waiting for the paper work to be processed now that the fuel level was satisfactory. Another 15 minutes and we were cleared for take-off (all this was almost an hour later).

Once we were airborne, the pilot again announced that we were going to make an unscheduled stop in Denver, Colorado for fuelling: you should have heard the reaction of all the passengers not to mention mine. With nothing to do about it, everyone settled into their seats and behaved as good passengers should. We arrived in Denver at 9:30 p.m. and left twenty minutes later. The flight from Denver to Phoenix took another hour and a half. We arrived in Phoenix at 11:45 p.m. MT. Poor me, I still had a two hour drive from Phoenix to Tucson and did not know if the shuttle was still available to take me since I was an hour and a half late on arrival. The luggage took another 30 minutes to come out, so I took the opportunity to call the shuttle service and was informed that I could ride on the 12:30 a.m. shuttle. I arrived in Tucson at 3:00 a.m. on January 05, 2009.

Happy New Year indeed. Phew!

 

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My train platform 14
My train platform 14
Train station
Train station
Agnes saw me off to the train
Agnes saw me off to the train
My train to schipol
My train to schipol
26,097 km (16,216 miles) traveled
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photo by: crystalware