Amsterdam – Day 1 (Thu – 11/25)

Editor’s Note:
All posts dated between November 2004 and June 2005 were imported to Keith’s Amusing Musings on January 21, 2006 from my previous travel blog. I decided to delete that blog and move all its content here which some readers may find disruptive considering Keith’s Amusing Musings did not come online until October 2005. The good news there will be only one blog, Keith’s Amusing Musings, going forward. Enjoy these older stories.

On Thanksgiving morning we left home for Amsterdam. We assumed it would be smooth sailing as everyone would have been where they were going. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. We pulled into our usual MasterPark airport parking lot and quickly discovered they were full. They were only taking cars that had existing reservations. Who knew you had to make reservations to park your car?! We were directed to another MasterPark lot down the street. Upon pulling into that lot, we noticed orange cones blocking the entrance and several cars in front of us driving in and back out. Again we were informed the lot was full and if our name wasn’t on their clipboard of existing reservations we didn’t have anything coming. They directed us to another company that still had parking spots available. Unfortunately, that lot didn’t have “valet“ service. So, we had to make our way through the maze of cars to find a spot. They had just a handful of spaces left in their roughly 2,000 car lot. After getting parked, we caught the shuttle to the airport…a little off schedule, but still ok since we checked in online before heading to sleep Wednesday night.

By the time we got to the gate, they were just about to board our USAirways flight to Philadelphia. We were surprised to learn that the flight was going to be full. ugh. 🙁 (Where are all these people going? Didn’t they want to spend Thanksgiving camped out in front of the tv with a plate of food, and not on a plane?) The flight boarding was pretty uneventful, except for the guy who boarded at the end and threw a tantrum when he discovered there was no more overhead space for his bag. The flight attendant politely told him he could check the bag. That didn’t go over with the man and he still kept complaining. The flight attendant said, “You can either check the bag or get off the flight.” Of course the guy checked the bag. And then we were off. Having not flown USAirways in several years, it was quite an experience compared to United. Everyone knows the airlines are operating on thin profit margins and several are trying to emerge from bankruptcy, but it was evident that USAir is running on bare minimums. After takeoff, we ended up watching two movies on Keith’s laptop, Shrek 2 and Elf. (Shrek 2 was hilarious. If you haven’t seen it, rent it today.) By the time we finished those movies, we were about 45 minutes from landing.

We arrived in Philadelphia, and had a 4.5 hour layover. We went to the Marriott hotel connected to the airport to find a “real” meal. They did have a pseudo Thanksgiving dinner. I got the Thanksgiving fixed dinner which included butternut squash soup, dinner of turkey & gravy, cornbread stuffing with cranberries, mashed potatos, roasted vegetables of sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes, & onions, and pumpkin mousse with candied walnuts for dessert. Keith got the butternut squash soup, seabass for dinner, and apple crumble with carmel ice cream for dessert. All the food was quite tasty. We were both stuffed. The best part was dinner ended up killing about 3 hours of time.

We headed back to the airport security to make our way to the international terminal. We decided to hang out in the international USAirways lounge for an hour before boarding. Surprisingly there were quite a few people. We had enough time to make our ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ calls and charge Keith’s laptop. After about 45 minutes an announcement was made that boarding for our flight was beginning. We packed up and headed to our gate.

Again the boarding was pretty uneventful. The USAir seats were pretty much on top of one another. You would have expected a little more leg room for international flights, but that was not the case. It was a Boeing 767, and we had the middle three seats to ourselves. So at least we had a bit more arm room. After settling in, we took our Ambien sleeping pills which were prescribed for jet lag. (It was about 3 am in Amsterdam, so we were hoping to get on their schedule as quick as possible.) We were warned by the travel medicine doctors that we should only take a 1/2 pill the first time so we could get a handle on how our body reacted. We were expecting to take the pill and be knocked out like Sleeping Beauty. After about an hour Keith and I looked at each other confused. We both ended up taking another pill, and sleeping for a few hours. We wrapped up Thursday, November 25 somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean.