(Let me preface this by saying that Blogger is doing something REALLY funky with my pictures and formatting, and I have no idea how to fix it, so I'm just goin' with it).
It's 10:19 AM on Sunday and I'm sitting on my sofa, kinda feeling like I never let -- except that my feet are awfully sore, and I'm exhausted from only 4 hours of sleep last night.
Why, you ask? Were you out partying? Were you up late chatting with people?
No and no -- the answer is that I'm exhausted because I'm an idiot.
But let me back up.
After all the sessions and closing keynote were finished yesterday, I went back to the hotel to freshen up. I wasn't feeling 100% excited about the parties, I was tired, and I didn't feel like TALKING anymore. I'd navigated my way through an insanely busy Times Square at about 5 PM, and after that, I was "put a fork in me" done. I just wanted to chill out. Chilling out involved hangin' in my hotel room for about 2 hours, catching up on work emails, and eating a big slice of NYC pizza... and suddenly I realized, I didn't want to go to the parties AT ALL.
It was a completely perfect day in NYC. All the heat and humidity from Thursday and Friday were completely gone -- it was warm, but comfortably so and happily the humidity had totally disappeared. I didn't want to sit in my hotel room all night - duh! I'm in NYC! - but I also didn't want to spend it inside another hotel conference room, drinking and eating mediocre food. I decided to skip the parties, the dinner invitations, and just have a little date with myself. At first I thought I'd head to central park and walk around for a while. Maybe the Met. Maybe Top of the Rock. And then I remembered those open-air busses that were cruisin' around the city... offering sight-seeing tours. Bingo!
After a quick internet search, I'd purchased and printed out a ticket and was in a cab headed to the boarding area. The ticket included a trip to Top of the Rock -- perfect! But things didn't go quite as planned.
First of all, when I got to the ticket booth,the agent told me that it wasn't a hop on / hop off tour, so I'd have to use the Top of the Rock ticket either before or after -- but the ticket was good for a week. Perfect! I thought I'd use it this morning since my flight wasn't leaving until 2:30 PM.
Second, I literally could not hear ONE WORD of what the tour guide was saying. So even though it was a beautiful night, and very fun to be relaxing in the air, alone with my thoughts and my camera, I wish I could have heard some of what he was telling us.
Third, speaking of my camera, the battery was starting to die, which resulted in some VERY blurry pictures. Disappointing, because I could have gotten some incredible shots of Manhattan at night from Brooklyn.
All of that said, I enjoyed the tour and the lights and the sights of New York City... I just don't think it was worth QUITE what I paid for it.
Now here is where the story gets a little crazy -- while on the bus, I thought "Oh hey, I should check in for my flight," so I pulled out my blackberry to do so... and upon doing so, discovered that...
I missed my flight.
Because my flight was mistakenly scheduled for Saturday.
Because I was too frazzled / rushed to properly look at the reservation that I got from our office travel agency.
I missed my flight.
And, despite the message from the airline telling me that I could rebook for free, for whatever reason, my blackberry was telling me there were NO OTHER FLIGHTS available out of LGA, JFK, or Newark.
Now, this wouldn't have been the end of the world - I'm taking the day off on Monday, I could have gotten an inexpensive hotel room in Queens (we just opened a Country Inns there), and it wouldn't have been a big deal. Except that by this point I was really, really, really DONE with New York City.
So after finishing the tour and then navigating myself through Times Square AGAIN (Ohmygodseriouslysocrowded), I retreated to my hotel room to try to figure this out.
And rebooked myself (for free, yay), on a flight at 6 AM out of LGA.
Yep, 6 AM.
Which means that my wake-up call came at 4 AM, just four short hours after I got home, figured out the mess, booked my flight, packed my suitcase, printed my boarding pass (sans seat assignment), took a shower, and turned out the lights.
The upside? I wanted to come home earlier anyway. The downside? I didn't get to use my Top of the Rock ticket, which certainly would have made for some great photo ops.
LaGuardia at 4:30 AM was completely insane. I mean, I cannot BELIEVE how busy it was, how rude people were, and how dirty that airport is. At 4:30 AM!!! I kind of expected it to be empty, but no -- the baggage check line was a billion miles long, second only to the security line. Luckily I got through both and got to the gate with time to spare, and luckily not only did they give me a seat assignment, but it was an aisle saeat... and then luckily there was nobody sitting next to me, so it was quite a pleasant flight... but WOW. 4:30 AM.
I landed back in Mpls around 8 AM and as I walked through the 13 baggage carousels in our gleaming clean airport, completely empty, Vivace being piped in through the speakers, I wanted to lay down and take a nap right there on the cold tiled floor.
Minneapolis, I'm so glad to be home -- away from the noise and honking and sirens; the stench of garbage, the pulsing throngs of people, and the flashing lights.
Home sweet home has never been sweeter.
Below are all the pictures I took on the trip:
|The view from my room on the 19th floor of the Radisson on Lexington|
|NYC Summer Streets! Park Ave closed for bikers / runners!|
The famous Magnolia Bakery, a sad little fire hydrant, and a HUGE Rodin sculpture... at least I think it is Rodin.. at least very Rodin'esque. All spotted on my way to the conference on Saturday morning.
|Radio City Music Hall|