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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Travels and Tribulations

Hello readers! Bridget here.  I'm so glad to see the feedback that TJ/Myriam have received over their last few posts.  We know it's been a while and its a really great feeling to know that you (at least some of you) are still here!  Some of you may have noticed I have been absent from blogging, I have been working on my mental/physical health.  My daily routine has included waking up,
 working out to Ellie Goulding,
 laying by the pool with my book I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell 

and then going off to work.  

But alas I have returned!  TJ challenged my inner brat in her last post by first asking me to comment on her post (I am very defiant) and then questioning whether or not I would have even read her entire post (which obviously made me want to comment to prove her wrong).  This conflict led the this conclusion...I've got to blog...just to throw her off.  I will not bend.  So again, here I am.  

Iowa was.... many things really.

But in a word: awesome.  Seriously, I had such an amazing time.  There are so many things I could, and will, talk about.  But I think I'll start at the beginning.  This blog post is dedicated to the part of the trip I will refer to as: Travels and Tribulations.

My traveling partner, Scott, met me at my house at 10 am Tuesday morning.  My roommate, Dustin, dropped us at the airport in San Diego an hour before our noon flight.  Scott and I cleared security (because of my middle eastern decent, I'm always at least a little nervous).  As we headed towards our gate, Scott and I shared our irrational fears of accidentally leaving an explosive or machete in our carry ons.  In the course of what I thought was an interpretation of Scott going through security, he dropped his suitcase and took off, full sprint, back towards the metal detectors and TSA agents.  Moments later Scott emerged with another bag in hand.  He had left his camera gear at security.  That would have been a hell of trip...

As we arrive at our gate I hear the flight attendant announce "Would Bridget Najour and Scott Fecteau, party of two, please see me at the desk?"  My heart dropped.."I should have double checked for explosives."  Luckily they were just informing us that they had found us two seats together on the plane, as opposed to our adjacent middle seats we were originally assigned.  We boarded our plane for an on time departure.  
We had a connection in Chicago and then were to depart from Chicago to Waterloo, IA.  After a relatively easy flight the Pilot (yes the pilot, not the flight attendant) came over the intercom that we would be beginning our decent, however we would not be landing in Chicago.  Right as our San Diego flight was approaching the Chicago area, a massive storm broke out.  Protocol in this situation is for the plane to go into a holding pattern (aka fly circles above the airport until the weather clears up).  However, as our pilot had informed us, our plane did not have enough fuel to fly aimlessly above O'Hare International.  So we took a detour to Madison, Wisconsin.  After 2 exhausting and frustrating hours sitting in a airplane on the tarmac in Wisconsin we were finally cleared to make the 20 minute flight back to Chicago.  We landed just in time to find out that connecting flight to Waterloo was literally pulling out of the gate.  It was the last flight to Waterloo of the night.  The next available flight would be tomorrow, at 2:30 p.m.

When you are forced to stay the night in your layover city you are given a coupon for a "Distressed Passenger" discount at a nearby hotel.  Our "nearby" hotel was 20 miles away, in the opposite direction of downtown Chicago.  After waiting for 30 minutes in the sweltering humidity for our airport shuttle to our "nearby" sanctuary, we googled the closest, cheapest hotel (a Holiday Inn) and hopped on that shuttle instead.  (Sidenote.  Holiday Inn's are to Chicago as Starbucks are to Seattle. There are 14 Holiday Inn's in the Chicago O'Hare area, including two that are across the street from each other.  Each hotel has it's own individual shuttle.) We got on the wrong shuttle, our hotel was the one across the street.  Luckily, Scott was able to talk the driver into making a pit stop for us.  Sure, we could have walked, but any extra step we had to take in that humidity was just unacceptable.  Seriously, Chicago feels like Satan's sauna.

Our luck turned when we arrived at our home for the night.  Though they were not our assigned hotel, they accepted our distressed passenger discount and it ended up being even cheaper than their competitor, 20 miles away.  We were tired, hungry and in need of a drink at this point.  So we rinsed off the stink of 8 hours on an airplane and 30 minutes in the Chicago heat and hopped in a taxi headed for downtown Chicago.  

I texted one of my best friends from college, and CSULB alum, Ron.  He is currently living in Chicago and studying Vocal Performance.  I quickly explained my situation and our current destination. He responded with 4 of the most beautiful words I've ever read: "I'm on my way!" At the urging of our taxi driver, we met Ron on Division Street in downtown Chicago.  Scott and I wolfed down some Chicago pizza (though Scott will tell you that I did NOT in fact have Chicago pizza because mine was not deep dish) and headed to the nearest bar.  Did you know that bars in Chicago are open til 4 am??  It's awesome.  But I was tired, so at 3 am we parted ways with Ron, took a taxi back to the hotel and turned in for the night.
The next morning I awoke to the sound of what sounded like hail outside our window.  I was doubtful we would ever make it out of Chicago.  The storm finally passed and we made it back to the airport.  
The view from our room Friday morning.
The plane to Waterloo was so small that if you sat on the right side of the plane you were sitting in a window and an aisle the same time!  Scott had to crouch to navigate the aisle of the plane.  They also had to move passengers around to redistribute the weight of the plane...true story.
Yep, that's definitely Iowa.

Our flight left on time, we were in the air for a full 40 minutes and finally arrived on the ground in Waterloo, a full day behind schedule.


  1. Well, I'll be the first to comment on your post even though you did not comment on mine. HAHA! Great post B. Our readers missed you. Tiny Superstars 4 life! True dat

  2. Holy Toledo! What a fiasco! I would have either expired or ended up in south Dakota. Can't wait to see your incredible masterpiece Bridget. Can you believe it's all coming true!
    I like TJ's inner brat!

    1. I do not have an inner brat! NONE! I am flawless.

  3. Well all of that was worth it. You met some amazing people.