Sunday, October 13, 2013
A Trip of a Lifetime - to the US and the UK (Part 10) – Stranded in New York
There is still plenty to tell about the trip and there’s also the craft stash I acquired during the trip which my Stitching Friends are waiting for me to show off!
I have been so busy with work and life that it is getting harder and harder to find time to spend on another one of my passion and that is writing and blogging.
I hope it is still not too late (stale) to continue where I left off, if not for anything else, but for my son to read in years to come.
In my last posting on the trip, on the 6th day of my stay in the US, I mentioned that all flights out of New York, including my flight, had been cancelled due to unexpected severe weather condition within the next 24 hours.
I hardly slept that night. I had the Weather Channel on all night, so that even as I sleep (I am a light sleeper), I could hear the weather condition being reported continuously.
I prayed that the weather condition would improve in the next few hours or so, so that we may fly out of New York the next day as per our schedule.
However, as I stayed up for most part of the night, I could hear the snow storm coming in and could see the heavy snow fall through my hotel window.
By morning, it was almost certain that we were going to be spending another day in New York when the airport was closed for all incoming and outbound flights.
A colleague joked that we have been snowed in because someone had made a wish to visit Central Park but because he never got to make that wish to become a reality yet, he had wished for another day in New York to make that wish become true! LOL!
Anyway, back to the current situation and the crisis at hand, once it was determined that we won’t be able to make it for our scheduled 6.00pm flight out of New York, the next thing was trying to get the next available flight to London.
We spent the whole morning in the hotel lobby as frantic calls were made to our respective travel agents in Malaysia.
Mind you that we have a 12 hour time difference where it is night time in Malaysia as we struggled to get whatever possible flights out of New York.
Some of us were lucky when their travel agents stayed up late till 10pm to try to get us flights to London. Some were not that lucky when their travel agents could not be contacted and they ended up having to make their own flight arrangements.
It was also quite a task trying to coordinate among the travel agents, us being so far away on the other side of the globe, as we tried to get all of us on the same flight to London to make it easy to make transport arrangements in London.
When that was not really possible as thousands of other passengers who were also snowed in like us scrambled to get whatever flights available out of New York, we decided that whatever flights we could get, we will just grab it.
As if struggling to get the next available flight to London was not bad enough, we also had a crisis with our lodging arrangements when the hotel where we had already stayed for 2 days wanted us to vacate our rooms to make way for new customers coming in.
It took a frantic long distance call to the Malaysian Embassy in Washington D.C. to assist us that finally managed to get our lodging issues resolved.
When it was all finally settled – the flights and the lodging, it was already close to 1.oopm! Only then did we all suddenly feel hungry! LOL!
Everyone went back to their rooms to change out of their travelling clothes and into something more comfortable for another day in New York.
At that point, it suddenly dawned on me – WE GET ANOTHER DAY IN NEW YORK? Wow! Does this mean that I will get an opportunity to visit a craft shop which I found out through Google is actually just within walking distance from the hotel?
Ok, ok, don’t get excited! We are not actually out of the crisis yet as the snow storm had not actually subsided. Even though we had our tickets booked for the flight out of New York for 6.00pm tomorrow evening, everything depended on the weather tomorrow and whether the airport will be opened for operations.
But for now, we just had to make the best of the situation, and first things first, we had to get something for lunch.
I followed my colleagues to lunch at a nearby halal restaurant.
After lunch, many wanted to take the opportunity to do more sightseeing despite the snow still falling heavily. Others wanted to do more shopping.
Me? I wanted to try to make way to the craft shop nearby, but, I thought that I’d follow my colleagues for a while to Macy to see what’s there as I did not get an opportunity to visit Macy before this.
I managed to get myself an extra blouse to wear for the extra day in New York.
After that, with the snow still falling heavily, and it even started to rain a bit, I made my way in search of the City Quilter, 5 blocks from the hotel.
Oooh! What I’d do without a GPS! I have always been bad with directions, but ever since I could get Google map on my hand phone, back home, I have been able to go to places on foot and by car where I would have never tried venturing before, for fear that I might get lost.
With the help of the GPS and Google Map, I have become more adventurous, and what more, when it comes to going in search of a craft shop! LOL!
It did not feel like it was a long walk as I took in the sights around me, still not believing that I am actually in New York!
After walking for about 30 minutes or so, I finally arrived at the City Quilter!
Gosh! Pinch me! I am here! I am here! I am in front of the shop that I could only see in the pages of my quilt magazines before this!
I excitedly entered the shop and was in awe of all the quilting and sewing stuff I see before me! I feel like grabbing and buying everything! LOL!
But alas, reality sank in, and I had to be practical. I have limited bag space and there was the weight of the luggage that I am limited to that I had to take into consideration.
It took a lot of will power to control myself not to go overboard when choosing out what I wanted to buy. I had to keep reminding myself to only get those things which are not easily available in Malaysia, too expensive to order and ship it to Malaysia, and uniquely New York.
Despite all the limitations and constraints I set myself, I actually managed to get quite a good haul. I think my Stitching Friends are going to be so envious of me! LOL!
After paying for my purchases, I managed to get the Sales Assistant to allow me to snap a photo in the shop.
I told her that this photo will be a part of my blog journey in search of craft shops that will get my craft friends jealous! LOL! *wink*
Sorry for the almost identical photo, but some reason, photos taken in vertical comes out in horizontal when I upload it to blogspot.
I can't figure out how to resolve it. So, I decided to put 2 vertical photos together to force the photos to stay vertical.
Happy with my purchase, I made my way back to the hotel, with the snow still falling heavily, and rain coming out in full force too.
I made a stop at a souvenir shop to buy some souvenirs to take home for friends and families.
After a short rest to regain energy that was drained from all the excitement of the morning of trying to get tickets for the flight to London, reaffirming our extended stay at the hotel and finding my way to a craft shop, I started organising my things to pack up.
It was an art of packing to get everything compacted inside the bags and still be within the weight limit allowed, without having to pay excessively for excess luggage.
I already knew that I’d be paying for excess luggage when I bought an extra luggage, but I wanted to be sure that I won’t be paying an exorbitant amount.
When that was done, it was already late evening and the snow was still falling heavily.
I did my payers and prayed that the weather would improve over the next 24 hours so that we may make our next leg of our trip.
All night long, I had only the weather channel on. My brother messaged me suggesting that I go out and buy some food in preparation for maybe another long day in New York should the weather not improve.
I went out to the nearest convenience shop and bought myself these.....
I went to bed after having dinner of leftovers from the meal I had with my brother and his family.
It wasn’t such a restful night, as all night long, I kept listening up to the weather report to see if things would improve....
End of Day 7 – 8th February 2013 – an unintended extra day in New York.....