Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Last few days in Jersey and waiting at the airport

So the time snuck up on me faster than I thought it would.  My last few days included eating with family at Texas Roadhouse for the last time in a while, getting a free Grand Slam from Denny's, visiting friends and playing Wii and Dance Dance Revolution, Settlers of Catan, and visiting my school for a tapas event.

I was really stressed out yetsterday after seeing the weather forecast and was trying to frantically see about getting out on a flight for Tuesday instead of Wednesday, but the flight was full.  It was still on my mind while I was at school, but the tapas event was a nice break and was a good opportunity to see some of my students again as well as some of my teaching colleauges.

After I realized that there was nothing I could do to change my flight or the weather, I decided I was simply going to enjoy my last day before the trip and just take the flight one step at a time.  I had dinner with friends Tuesday night, and when I left their place around 7:45 it was already snowing, and it had accumulated quite a bit.  ( was forecasting it to start at 10 or so, so I was suprised that it came earlier than that.) 

Then I was off to another friend's to visit, and I stayed until about 11:30.  None of us bothered to look out the window at that time, but there was probably about 6 inches then.  Luckily I had brushes and ice scrapers with me, and I made it home safe and sound.

My dad and I ended up leaving around 7 in the morning, and luckily the weather had taken a break from snow, and we were getting rain.  The roads were mostly clear with a little bit of slush, and here is a shot from along the way:

We got to the airport around 9:45 or so, and by that time the weather had switched back to snow.  I found the window for TAM Airlines, but the woman was busy helping others.  So I decided to double check the weight of my bags.  A guy helped me use a scale at a window, and my bags were 54 and 60 pounds each.  He told me that the weight limit was 50 pounds per bag, which was contrary to what the airline told me of 70 pounds per bag.

I checked out a store in the airport that sold luggage pieces and carryon luggage, but a small duffel bag was $82.  So that started the Great Repacking.  I pulled out things for my dad to mail to me, and I started moving heavier items into my carryon pieces.  After about half an hour of that and reweighing bags, my dad was able to talk to the woman at the desk for TAM Airlines, and it turns out that the baggage limits for TAM were indeed 70 pounds.  So everything went back into my bags after all.

While my dad was waiting in line for the airline, he started talking to a woman also waiting in line.  It turns out that she is Brazlian but living in New York and is traveling there to visit family for Carneval.  She was also checking the weight of her bags, and it turns out she's on the same flight as me.  My dad and I and her got lunch together and got to talk some more.  She was giving me travel advice and even went as far as to call her son in law who lives and grew up in Rio.  She talked to him and told him about me, and he is willing to show me around over the weekend.  She even told me that she will be back for the entire month of September and offered to show me around if I wanted to visit her then.  I have her number there to call her.  Once they learn that you are visiting their country, the hospitality of complete strangers never ceases to amaze me.

This is completely off topic, but apparently men in the JFK airport need help with their aim in the restrooms:

The first urnial I went to looked like it had a dead fly in it, so I went to the next one.  Then I realized that every single urinal has a small fly painted on the inside of it.  I guess maybe other guys don't have such as good aim as me, and perhaps this cuts down on costs of cleaning the floors of the restroom.

So I got in line to check in around 12:15 or so, and it was time to say bye to my dad.  I'm going to miss him, and we got a picture together before he headed back:

I've claimed a small area of the floor next to an outlet, and my Ipod and camera are completely charged.  My laptop is plugged in now too.  I still have over 2 hours before I have to get ready for boarding.  It looks like my flight will be fine after all of my worrying, and asking all of my friends and family to cross their fingers and toes for me also helped out too.

Now hopefully my flight to Sao Paulo will go smoothly as well as making my connecting flight to Rio.

Countdown to departure: 3 hours 10 minutes

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