I am not going to blog about Bali. Not that I have nothing to say about it, there is plenty to say, but I just don't feel blogging about it.
I arrived in Florida at 2pm On Thursday July 29th (EST) but it was quite an ordeal getting me here. There were many moments that i thought I wouldn't make it here.
1. My wonderful and generous parents were kind enough to use miles to get me from Hanoi to NYC. Above and beyind and extremely appreciated. However, they used the miles through a partner airline and never received the confirmation from the airline. Apparently the airline needs to 'release: the info to the partner airline and I was standing in hanoi airport surrounded by my bags being told that there was no record of me. Then that there was a record of me but it couldn't be accessed because American Airlines didn't "release" the info to Cathay. I also knew that all the flights from HK to NYC were booked solid for the next two weeks. I literally stood in the airport feeling defeated thinking, "Well August in Hanoi can't be so bad." Luckily, my ROCKSTAR father took charge and got me on the plane last minute. Thanks, dad!
2. My flight from Hanoi to Hong Kong was the bumpiest flight I've ever been on. The plane kept nose diving and then coming up quickly to recover. I am a frequent flier, and usually pretty calm, but found myself in a but of a stomach lurch situation. I then thought to myself, 'Ok Alice, if the plane goes down, it goes down. You have no control. There's nothing you can do." Strangely enough, this worked.
3. The weather in Hong Kong was atrocious, flights were delayed and canceled left and right. This was upsetting because I wanted to go into HK and hang out and see friends and also because my flight from HK->NYC (with a stop over in Vancouver) would inevitably be delayed and I had another flight once I got to NYC that was unrelated to Cathay and that I'd miss. So I spent the whole time worrying about that.
The point is, after 40 hours of travel I made it. And I did it in style.
My amazing parents also were told that all miles flights were booked until August 15th. How could they get me home they asked? The airline responded with an option..."well you could upgrade her to business class." Much to my joy and surprise, they agreed.
Despite all the of the bad things that happened on my journey they are all counteracted by the fact that i flew business class. Yeah it was a shame that I had a 12 hour layover in HK in which going into the city was impossible, but I had access to the Business Class lounge. This BCL is a magical place...a place where all food and drinks are free. Where there are showers, sleeping pods, an internet and game room. I contemplated not leaving. Where else could I drink two bottles of wine, eat cheese and noodles, shower in luxurious showers and then order ice cream after ice cream while sipping Black label on the rocks? I enjoyed myself thoroughly and definitely took full advantage of the amenities at my disposal. (Come on, wouldn't you?!) Perhaps, I shouldn't have sent a barrage of drunken emails/haikus to my Hanoi friends...
I then stumbled on the plane (I lied to myself saying it was fatigue but in retrospect i think those drinks might have had something to do with my bleariness)ad discovered that my seat was one of those seats I've always walked by and stared at enviously. You know the seats I mean. the individual ones that turn into a flat lying bed. I'm not joking, I was totally horizontal, with a fluffy blanket all to myself. I was asleep before they even made the safety announcements. I slept for almost nine hours, waking up in the middle to eat some of the fish, mashed potatoes and vegetables offered to me. When i woke up, refreshed, I watched two movies while still enjoying the steak being serves (with ice cream) and thinking to myself "I refuse to travel any other way"...a sentiment that, when later expressed to my parents, was laughed at. They selfishly refuse to upgrade my flight back to Asia)
Despite my flight being delayed an hour and a half, we got to NYC at 8am. My next flight was at 10:50am, so I thought to myself...If I can clear customs, get my bag and check in within an hour and a half I'll be ok. You never really know. Sometimes it's a breeze but there have also been times I was at the airport and waited for a bag for 45 minutes. Luckily for me, I was through everything in twenty minutes (flight Gods on my side!)...made it to Jetblue (hideous and slightly smelly) in time to check in and contact my father to tell him that I would, in fact, be in Florida that day.
two hours of flying later and I look out the plane window to see the Florida coast...a sunny clear day, postcard perfect. Half an hour later, we're the ground, the flight God's made my bag come out early and ten minutes later I'm seated next to my father heading home.
At home, my best friend, next door neighbor and world traveler (girl just got back from two months in Cape town, has traveled all over South America and Asia, where she also used to live) had, per my request, gone to Publix and picked me a box of fried chicken, lemon lime Gatorade and chocolate.
Thus was the happy ending to the best and worst travel experience I've had to date.