Blog .:. July 2005 1 Entries

About that Hound, Grey

5 July 2005 Comments

The simple version: I arrived.

The more dramatic and altogether more interesting version, with much ranting at the gods:

8:30 p.m. Thursday
The porter catches me in a conversation that makes me late for my taxi to the bus station.
8:45 p.m.
Fortunately, the bus is also late, so I make it.
11 p.m.
The ticket agent comes on duty and calls me over to her window, where her printer promptly has a meltdown. Boarding card? No such thing! Ticket agent, instead of handing me off to someone whose printer works, insists it will be fixed “any moment now.”
2 a.m.
Searched by x-ray security.
3 a.m.
Searched by security before boarding the plane. Because, you know, I might have picked up something dangerous in the last hour.
4 a.m.
Flight takes off. I go to sleep. Sounds good to me.
11:30 a.m.
Flight lands. Customs doesn’t even look at me. However, I quickly realize that I am carrying a backpack and my purse, pulling along a trunk on wheels, and lugging an A3 bag full of clothes as well. It’s a little… um… heavy. My hands? They are hurting.
1 p.m.
Catch bus to Port Authority, where the Greyhound station is. Have twelve hours before the 1 a.m. bus leaves. The 1 a.m. bus will get to Relative’s City at 1 p.m.
2:30 p.m.
Arrive Port Authority. Imagine New York Traffic. Now imagine it on midday Friday before the Fourth of July. Now you know why it took an hour and a half to get to the P.A.
4:15 p.m.
After almost two hours of running around to every ticket counter in the Port Authority, I have determined that my Relative’s City does not exist. No, really. It doesn’t. I know there is a 1 a.m. bus going there, but not one employee can even find the name of the city in their computer system. I give up and get ticket to Pittsburgh instead. Pittsburgh bus? Leaves at 4:30. After two hours of dragging my above-mentioned luggage back and forth across Port Authority I’m not sure I can feel my hands any more. Oh. Ever walked around with a laptop and a case of CDs strapped to your back while dragging heavy luggage for two hours? No? Try it. I dare you.
4:30 p.m.
Bus line to Pittsburgh is six million miles long and the noon bus to Newark is sitting in the bus slot. Do you think this looks promising? I sure don’t.
5:30 p.m.
Bus to Pittsburgh begins to load. I am next in line to get on and the driver arbitrarily denies boarding to anyone who isn’t going to Newark. Um… yeah.
5:45 p.m.
All of us denied boarding on the previous bus are put on an express bus to Philadelphia, where we will be allowed to board the bus we were just told we couldn’t board. Look, don’t ask me. I don’t make the rules. I just stand in lines for hours and sweat.
Hours later
Arrive at Philly. I know you thought the holiday traffic out of NYC got better as the day went on, but you were wrong. More standing in a line that has more people on it than could fit in a single bus, all of whom desperately want to go to Pittsburgh and a good 1/3 of whom are currently pissed off at being chased of their bus for no apparent reason. Good job, Greyhound.
An hour and a half later
Watch the original bus we should have been on arrive, board the first 1/3 of the line—none of whom were in NYC in the first place—and leave. I’ll let you fill in the curses.
Half an hour later:
Second bus arrives followed closely by a third bus to get us out of there. Smart Greyhound people; they thought to bring on extra buses.
Fifteen minutes later
Bus begins to pull away from the station, then pulls back in. Oh yes. The bus is broken. No, I am not kidding you. If looks could kill, I probably would be locked up in a cell right now for murders committed years ago, but assuming I got off those charges, the driver would have been vaporized into nothingness by the collective hate of a bus full of NYC people who have just been delayed one too many times.
Hours later
Harrisburg. Uneventful, if only because there is nothing left that can go wrong.
Hours later
Food stop. Not uneventful, because the “20 minute” break turns into 40 minutes when a certain Crazy Man orders Burger King right at 20 minutes and apparently orders enough to feed Rwanda. I would have left his ass sitting in the restaurant, but the driver is nicer than me.
Hours later
Arrive Pittsburgh. It is now roughly 4 a.m. For those of you keeping score at home, I’ve now been traveling for almost 32 hours. At 4 a.m., there is no way my relatives can pick me up. Guess who will be spending the next several hours at the Pittsburgh bus station?

Mmm hmmm.

Remember the crazy guy? Over the next two hours he told me at least 6 billion times how pretty I was, tried to get my phone number, and insisted he didn’t mean anything when he asked me how “pure” I was. This would be the point where I finally shook him off and got away from him, if you’re wondering.

Also, it helped that he finally caught his connection and left the station.

Hours later… the relatives arrived. For those keeping track at home, we are now at 36 hours of travel. You figure out where I slept; I’m not sure I remember.

Several hours later still, arrive at relatives’ house.

Cambridge, England to Western Pennsylvania, in 40 hours or less. Go Greyhound!

Twelve hours after that, the pain of dragging the suitcases everywhere diminishes enough that I can log on to the computer to check email.

Tagged: 2004-2005 Year in Cambridge, Travel, United Kingdom, United Kingdom - England, United Kingdom - England - Cambridge, United States, United States - New York, United States - New York - New York City, United States - Pennsylvania, United States - Pennsylvania - Harrisburg, United States - Pennsylvania - Philadelphia, United States - Pennsylvania - Pittsburgh

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