Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A long day at EWR

I needed to be reminded by what the balloon Victory captain in the Masai Mara said when we had to abort the take-off: “It’s better to be on ground wishing you were up there, than to be up there wishing you were on the ground”.

Airports are no fun these days! I’m sitting at EWR, lovely Newark Liberty Airport waiting for the next flight from Seattle to arrive, so I can fly home. It’s a lovely Saturday morning in New York, cold and sunny. I’ve been here since 5:45 in the morning and now it’s still only 2pm. My morning flight was cancelled due to mechanical problems. The next available flight is at 6:15 pm, assuming it arrives on-time. So, I’m spending this lovely Saturday held captive in tiny Terminal A at EWR for over 12 hours. Not Fun!!!

I flew to New York to attend two Africa events in conjunction with the New York Times Travel Show at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Both these events were outstanding and well worth coming to New York for. Both events were sponsored by APTA (www.apta.biz), the Association for Promotion of Tourism to Africa. There were many great speakers and discussion panels. I made some new connections and reconnected with some old friends. I stayed at Hotel Chandler, a cute little boutique hotel just 2 blocks from the Empire State Building. The beds are heavenly albeit the rooms are small and the bathrooms are tiny. This is New York, not Africa where a standard tent is larger!!!

However, flying has become an ordeal. Security is tight. I cannot recommend it J, but of course we have no choice but to fly. Security is tight. There are no amenities. People carry on huge bags and the overhead bins fill quickly. I just wish the terminals would be more comfortable and some sleeping areas were available. 12 hours is a long time when waiting. SeaTac Airport has been much improved, but Liberty is old and uncomfortable. There’s nothing to do, no internet café, no interesting shops and there are no good places to eat.

I’m happy to be safe and waiting 12 hours beats landing in the Hudson River.

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