Monday, August 20, 2012

Seattle Day 1

Friday, August 10

It's 4am. SHIT!! I was only supposed to take a quick nap last night at 12am, then wake up, shower, and pack. That's right. I haven't packed anything yet. Are you surprised? I should be at the bus stop by 5am. Hopefully, the bus comes before 5:30 which will give me a leisurely hour to get to JFK. I'll be checked in by 6:30am, and hopefully on line for security with plenty of time to grab a small bite to eat before boarding my flight at 7:50am.

5am- SHIT!! I fell asleep again. Now, I'm really going to be late. I rush through a fast shower, hopefully getting all the shampoo out of my hair. I didn't even have time to shave my legs! I'm racing with my clean laundry from the basement up to the Hoard, mentally checking off what I'm bringing with me.  At 5:30 my mom tells me she knows I'm not gonna make it and that she'll drive me to the Air Train, thereby eliminating my need to take the Q43.

6am- I'm finally out of the house. I get to the airport at about 6:30am, which surprises the hell out of me. I owe my mom big time for this one. I wait in line at security for about 15 minutes before I'm on the other side. I stop to look at the food and decide I don't see anything I really want. I'm also not that hungry. I'm more interested in making sure I make the flight.

8am- My flight is leaving and I'm not on it. I didn't make the passenger list. Apparently, there were other standby passengers who deserved to go more than me. Bummer. The next flight leaves at 10am and I'm shuffled onto the passenger list for that one. I hope I get on. I look at new food options and decide on a hot pannini and an iced tea. I find my new gate, grab an empty chair and munch on my breakfast. Not the best thing I've ever eaten, but since I want to sleep on the plane, I decided to get all the eating out of the way now.

11am- That flight was a bust, and after waiting for an hour for the gate agent to roll me over to the 4pm flight because she was busy dealing with paying passengers who were bumped off, I unhappily make my way to Gate 11 to catch a shuttle to a different terminal where the 4pm will be taking off from. When I get there, the Gate 11 Gate Keeper tells me the 4pm was just cancelled. I'm seriously pissed now. It doesn't look like I'll be going to Seattle afterall. =(

12pm- I'm sitting in the Delta Lounge. There are private tables with their own iPads and charging stations. My phones are taking turns getting juiced up. All the texting and calling I've done all morning long as really depleted their full charges. I had sent out the texts to my friend and my uncle, telling them it didn't look at though I would be going anywhere. I had gotten on the courtesy phone to talk to an agent at the Delta call center. They were much friendlier there and explained that a local tornado forced the 4pm cancellation, and that all those people on the 4pm would now try to squeeze onto the 6:30, so my chances of getting on that flight was slim to none. She booked me on the next morning's flight- 9am. My friend was not having it. My uncle thought I was going to cancel and he and my aunt had the nerve to remind me they took off Monday to take me around. Like I had any control over the damn flights!!! Ross (my friend) made me go to the lounge to relax as she took a look online. As I charged my phone, she called to let me know she booked me on the 1:30pm to Salt Lake City. From there, I could connect with one of two flights to Seattle. I had to get to the gate fast to check in. I chuck all my stuff into my bag, grabbed my weekender and hauled ass across the terminal to the new gate. By now, the security guards, gate agents, and various other airport staff have watched me traipse back and forth from gate to gate with the most forlorn look on my face. This time, they're smiling at me, wishing me luck, and reminding me to stop to get something to eat before I pass out.

1pm- I'm sitting on the other side of the terminal now and it's one of those temporary spaces that's in the middle of a huge renovation. The shops and restaurants are all brand-spanking new but the seating area is limited and crowded. The few available outlets are all taken and there are just people everywhere. I checked into the gate, making sure my name was on the standby list. As the flight loaded, I watched as other standby passengers I recognized from the other flights I tried to board were all waiting. Maybe three of them got on this time. I made friends with a lovely Brazilian woman who I lent my phone to so she could call her daughter in CA. She gave me a Brazilian chocolate bar which was heaven. My stomach was rumbling, waiting for some lunch to make it's way down. As soon as the airplane doors closed and I knew I wasn't getting on, my phone started ringing. It was Ross. She has me scheduled to fly to Portland. She planned on making the two hour drive down from Seattle to come get me . I told her that was crazy, but she insisted that she was going to make sure I made it to Seattle. She gave me the new gate information for the 4:30pm flight. It's nearly 2pm and I'm ready for lunch. The new flight would allow me lots of time to stop for something decent to eat.

3pm: I've been sitting at the bar for nearly an hour now. It was a nice spot with overpriced airport entrees and a decent wine list. I start doing my part to break in a newly open bottle of Malbec. Freddie the bartender brought me a bunch of new grapes to go with the oversized cheeseplatter I ordered for lunch. It was a poorly done cheese platter. The cheese was cold and dry, which meant it was pre-done and sitting in a cold walk-in before making it's way out to me. Most cheese needs to be served room temp. The cheddar, brie, blue, and parm definitely were way too cold to enjoy right away. Plus, the portion sizes were insane. It was more cheese than accompaniments, thus my request for more grapes. The toast points were un-toasted. The grapes were a little wrinkled. The walnuts, which I normally don't like at all, were the only saving grace to this disaster. I let my cheese come down to room temp as I sipped my Malbec. I look up at the bar mirror in front of me and notice that mother fucking Count Vigo from Ghostbusters 2 has just parked his Carpathian ass right next to me at the bar!!! I wondered to myself how in the hell I was going to get this guy's picture. I have many, many friends who are die-hard GB2 fans and this guy's mug would have been perfect!!!! When Vigo got up to use the loo, Freddie the Bartender and I conspired on how we were going to get this done. He was going to take my phone and pretend to take a picture of me, but slightly turn so that he gets Vigo instead. Unfortunately, Vigo got frisky with a waitress on his way back and the waitress raised a ruckus and Freddie made him pay his tab then kicked him out. Dammit, Freddie!!! What about that picture???

4:pm- I made my way back to Gate 11 to take the shuttle to a different terminal. It was horrible. It was crowded and that terminal is a shithole. There were no food options there so it was good that I ate at the other one. Freddie turned out to be awesome. He bought me the 4 glasses of Malbec I sipped upon, and only charged me for the cheese platter. I tipped him generously before making my way to this temporary hell. I found an outlet and immediately started to juice up my severely depleted phones. These smartphones are a serious pain in the ass when it comes to battery life. My little Alias would last for days on end back in the day before mobile internet. This terminal is packed. My name is next on the standby list but I'm worried I may not make it again. There are so many people. Ross kept up a steady stream of text messages to let me know the other options she was considering if this fell through.

5:30pm- I made it!!! I'm on the plane!! Seattle, via Portland, here I come!!!

This beauty is taken with my iPod Touch from my window seat on the plane. From what I was told, this is Mt. Hood. Yes, I used my iPod Touch. You cannot turn on your cell phone during a flight, people!!!!!
9:00pm (Portland Time)- I get off the plane with little trouble at all. I didn't eat my inflight snacks or bother to get a drink while in the air. Five hours is just too long for me to hold my bladder and you all know how I feel about airplane toilets. If I'm not Mile High-ing it, then I need not be in there! I look around Portland's terminal. It's huge and so clean....and so empty. Where are all the people? It's like a ghost town. All the shops are closed. There is no one waiting for any flights. I feel like the whole airport is deserted. I find an empty gate area and immediately plug in my phone. After a two minute charge, it's juiced enough to receive a text from Ross. I am to make my way to an Alaskan Airline agent and pick up my ticket for my 9:45 flight. I need to hurry!!! I looked down at my clock to see it was already 9:15!!! Balls!!!! I snatch up my charger and my phone and haul ass, looking for Alaskan airlines. I find the gate on the map, but realize I need to be in Terminal A but I was currently in Terminal C. I check the map, looking for a way to transfer terminals without having to go through security again. I took the wrong connecting tunnel and found myself on the wrong side of the Homeland Security Desk. Godammit. Since I was going to have to go through security, I decided to find Alaskan ticketing and make sure they checked me into the flight. Time was running out and I know Jet Blue would lock you out if you didn't check in half an hour prior to take off. Alaskan was MUCH nicer. They even said I had a lot of time. I grabbed my ticket and made my way to the security line. I waited about 10 minutes before I made it through without any issues. By now, I was a frequent visitor of the full body scan. Why do they always pick me for that fucking "I SEE YOU NEKKID" machine??? There's nothing to see but my padded bra and a slightly smaller beer gut. I go down several long hallways, down two flights of stairs, another long hallway, and up one flight of stairs to finally find Alaskan. It was a tiny gate with just a few cushioned seats; each with their own outlets and small side tables. Swanky place to hang out. Everyone is wearing hoodies and light jackets. Me; in my sleeveless tunic shirt and leggings- felt really out of place. They thought I just  flew in from Hawaii and the gate agent gave me a blanket to use on the flight, which was boarding right then and there. The plane was tiny. Our carry-on baggage are taken before we climbed the small stairs into the aircraft to be stored below. I was surrounded by Alaskan airlines flight crew who were headed home and a handful of granola munchers. It was colder in Portland. I want to guestimate 65 degrees. I wrapped my blanket around my bare shoulders like I just ran a marathon. When I looked down at my ticket, I realized my friend bought me this shuttle flight, and it wasn't just a connection she booked on my original ticket. Crap. I'd have to pay her for this. Well, part of my ticket fare was a complimentary adult beverage. I had a great local microbrew ale. It was just enough to relax me for the hour-long flight to Seattle. No pictures this time. It was too dark to see anything out the windows. That's a good thing. That means there is more land than there are people. That's always a good thing.

11:00pm (Seattle Time)- Seattle's airport looks amazing. It's big, bustling and full of food options. Too bad I'm exhaustd and my ass is parked on a bench, charging my phone. I thank Ross for her awesome flight-booking skills. I talk to my aunt and uncle who have sent a driver to pick me up and take me to my hotel in Downtown Seattle. After the driver calls to tell me he is about 30 minutes away, I settle on my hard bench and let my phone charge as I watch the people around me. Seattle's airport is visually stimulating with lots of art hanging everywhere and a very specific coastal, nautical theme throughout the buildings. The restaurants I could see from my perch were all amazing seafood options. If I had more time....Oh, well.

12:00pm (Seattle Time) - I am checked into my hotel now. The Red Lion Hotel in downtown Seattle. It's beautiful. I knew it would be because it was damn expensive. The front desk clerk gave me a couple of food options in the area, but they warned me against walking around this late at night by myself. They also suggested the pub attached below the hotel. It looked awesome from outside, but admittedly, I was too pooped to really want to venture down. The view from my 10th floor room is nice. I can't see the water, but the city looks clean and sparkly from my vantage point. The windows are huge and the people in the City Center across from the hotel can look right inside and see me admiring the view. I pick a bed. I stick my iPod into the dock next to my bed and head into the bathroom, which is gorgeous, also. It's not a jacuzzi or a soaking tub, but after spending the entire day in the cesspool that is JFK and then airplanes and two other airports, I needed a good soaking to take the weariness out of me. I pour in my Lush bath bombs, make sure the water temp is perfect and soak for a good half hour before I shower the suds off me, wrap myself into the luxurious hotel bathrobe, and snuggle into bed. I stare out into the Seattle night sky, slowly falling asleep to the Counting Crows, Untitled Love Song.

My first view of the room.

Nicer shots of the beds.

The window and seating area.

The tv, pricey water, and hidden mini fridge.

Closet with bathrobes.

I don't know why I found the frosted glass doors so fascinating, but I did.

View of the commode from the outside.

Nicer view of the commode minus the actual commode.

They had one of those awesome curved shower curtain rods, which I love.

Full view of the tub area.

The really gorgeous vanity. I like the open storage below.

Full length mirror right outside the bathroom.

Semi artsy shot of the other bed.

It's been a long day, but it was worth it.


  1. Katniss!!!! That's the start of an adventure. So why are you flying standby when your friend got you a buddy pass? For the money it cost, they should have confirmed your seat. I saw that hotel online and rooms were going for over $200 a night. Was it worth it? I gotta say though, as bad as your day was shuffling back and forth you stayed positive the whole day, cracking jokes, and posting funny shit. I take it you're a good traveler? I can't wait to read about the other three days.

    1. When I'm not rushing because I'm late, I'm actually an awesome traveler. I love to fly. I have the process down to a science. My friend offered up a buddy pass when I saw the tickets were going for $800 retail. A buddy pass is a discounted ticket where the employee is only charged "cost" and you are declared as "non-revenue" meaning they aren't making a profit off you, so paying customers always come first. You don't get a confirmed seat. You get your name on the list for the flight and if there are available seats then you can get on the plane. If there are not, then you're shit out of luck. Luckily, I got bumped to a business class seat going to Portland. Unluckily for me, I was so tired from the wine and from running around all day that I slept through the entire thing. Granted, it was a comfortable seat and perfect for sleeping, but I didn't get to watch Avengers when it was playing and I didn't bother with the free alcohol my seat afforded me.

      My ticket was supposed to cost me $385 but my friend wouldn't take my money. So, she kinda paid for me to fly out there, and her boyfriend paid for my Alaskan shuttle to Seattle from Portland. I tried to pay them for both tickets but they refused to take my cash. I guess to balance that all out, I paid nearly $600 for 3 nights at that hotel. I almost never stay at a hotel and I usually budget about $500 for plane tickets, so it was within my travel budget.

      The hotel was 4 stars, not 5. The price I paid was mainly for the location, which I'll get into on my next entry. Yeah, I'd say it was really worth it.

      The way I see it, there are enough assholes in the airports. Some of them are the passengers and some of them are the employees. I got a lot of people to help me that day because I stayed friendly and always had a smile on my face. That makes all the difference to an employee who deals with angry people all day long. ;-)

  2. My favorite parts-

    - Shit!! at 4am and SHIT!! at 5am. Thats the kat we all know and love. You owe your mom big time. I know how much she hates driving in uber urban areas.

    - Count Vigo getting "frisky" with a waitress and the waitress "raising a ruckus"...where have you been that they have you talking this way? Was it the granola munchers?

    - Enough about the alias already!!!! That was over 5 years ago and no one uses those dinosaurs anymore. you don't even know where yours went so let go of the sentimentality attached to it. I got you your phones at next to nothing when everyone else was paying upwards of $200 for them!!!! The alias is dead. The alias 2 sucked and never lived up to the awesome you thought alias 1 was so stop kicking a dead phone!! No more talk about the alias!

    -the mountain pic is fucking should be made into a demotivational poster or something.

    -"I see you naked machine" hahaha...if I was TSA I'd make you go through it, too. You're a hot chick. comes with the title so just deal with it.

    -"you look cold dear so here's a blanket" hahahahahaha Did everyone get blankets or just you?

    -Did your aunt hire you a private driver all weekend long? Holy shit. How much green are they growing out there????

    -so you were too tired to go grab a quick bite to eat but you had enough energy to snap pictures of every ccorner of your room? you weirdo.

    -I spot the purple Chucks. Nice.

    OK stop reading comments and go write Day 2

    1. * Yes, I'm a poor time manager. One day, that tragic flaw will kill me.

      *Ruckus is a wonderful word that isn't used nearly as much as it should be. Podunk is another great one that I should try and utilize more.

      *The Alias was one of the best little phones I've ever had in my entire life. I've known 3 others who had it about the same time I did and they all loved it, too. It took a beating and never crapped out. The battery could go for days. It was a true champion in every sense of the word.

      *I know. I have made iPod photo skills, yo.

      *I'm not as hot as I used to be. Otherwise, I wouldn't mind going into the "I See You Nekkid" machine. The beer gut bothers me. And I wonder if they can see my tampon. =/

      *No, everyone else had hoodies and jackets. I'm the only jackass who didn't know it gets nippy out in the pacific northwest in the evenings, even in the summer. I was improperly dressed.

      *Yes, they hired me a private driver. I don't know what kind of green they're rolling in. They wanted me to be safe, and the wanted to discourage me from walking around by myself in the middle of the night. I didn't use him that much, though.

      *The room woke me up with it's charm. You're lucky I took those pictures otherwise, this would have been a pretty boring entry.

      *Purple lace-less Chucks.