Wednesday, July 9, 2008

888 is the New 666

What an interesting day I've had. It was spent braving the hot, thick, murky air and witnessing a fascinating cross-section of the human race. Yes, I spent the day at Newark International Airport.

You may remember my mom came to visit around Memorial Day. After her visit she spent a few days in Pittsburgh and then went off to England, where she had been staying until today. Faced with what turned out to be a nine hour layover (plane delays are such a pain,) we decided it was definitely worthwhile for me to come spend the day with her at the airport. If I'd had a car we could have spent the day together doing something a bit more exciting, but faced with current realities we decided to hang out.

The Journey:
Here's the good thing about Passaic. It's 25 minutes into the city, by bus or by train depending on where you want to end up. Here's the bad thing. Getting anywhere else is a real pain. No direct trains or buses. What can you do? So off I went to the train station. First off, both ticket machines were broken. Paying on the train is almost double the price but there were enough of us getting on that we successfully convinced the ticket guy to charge us regular price. 15 minutes later I was in Secaucus. And then it was a 25 minute wait until the connecting train came into the station to take me two stops. Ok, $5.50 and an hour later I'm at the airport. Not bad.

Welcome to Newark International Airport.
You see that walk way, that's what connects you from the train station to the Air Train which takes you to the actual terminals. That and this:

Yep, another $5.50 to get through the barrier so you can actually enter into the airport. (And don't think I didn't have the same thing going home! $22 is a bit much. I could make at least one pair of socks with that!)

Then the journey on the Air Train; from the terminal to P4, Terminal C, Terminal B and finally Terminal A, where Mommy was waiting for me. Five or so hours to burn, so we checked out the terminal. Not much going on, I have to say. Of course there was no Kosher food (which neither of us thought there would be,) so it was off to Starbucks. Mommy didn't like the looks of this one so we decided to go back to Terminal B, where the international flights depart from. It should be interesting there. Not! Maybe things get exciting once you get past Security, but the front end of Newark Airport is a dud! I speak from experience. At last count I have been to 21 countries and 12 states. Of course the criteria is that you must leave the airport, which means there are even more airports that didn't make the count. BTW, best Duty Free shopping - Turkey!

Speaking of going through Security, I found this poster to be quite helpful.

No mention of those things we might be unsure of: liquids, tweezers, knitting needles. But it did inform me that you can't bring guns, flammable objects or explosives, sharp objects, tools, club-like items or chemicals on to a plane. Wow!

Anyway, Terminal B was just as disappointing but we hung out at the food court, snacking on Pringles and Diet Coke. Mommy regaled me with many stories of Grandma, other family members and Bridge. We were very naughty and laughed a lot. With over three hours to go we decided to check out Terminal C and hit the Starbucks. What a disappointment. Nothing there. Nothing. Only Continental's check in. It was at this point that Mommy wanted to know what P4 was. Maybe we could go there. But once I told her it was a Parking Structure 4 she decided to give it a pass. So it was back to the original Starbucks at Terminal A.

I ordered my standard Iced Venti Latte, but opted for half caf. It was already late afternoon... No matter how many times we have gone there, it still takes her ages to figure out what she'd like. Sometimes it boggles the mind. The line is growing, there is only one barista. My drink is ready, Mommy has ordered. It's time to pay. 888. "Isn't that the sign of the devil?" Mommy asks. "Perhaps," I answer, what with inflation and airport prices.

We find a place to sit. Mommy eavesdrops on a nuclear family having a nuclear squabble and giggles. It isn't us you see. We're grown ups now and don't do things like that in public. More Grandma stories take us to a recounting of performance of South Pacific they saw at the Cliff's Pavilion. If you've ever been to Southend-on-Sea you know where it is. Grandma lives 5 minutes away. And of course this leads to her singing all the songs she can remember from this musical and others. In the food court. I try to settle her down.

She's flagging now. Exhausted beyond all belief. We make a call to my sister, more amusing family stuff and I walk her to the gate. We say good bye. It's always hard.

I make my way back to the Air Train, the platform, Secaucus, Passaic station and home. Of course I've had my knitting with me. I cast on for Monnkey sock 2 before I left. This is where I was when I got home.

Oh ya, I forgot to mention Mommy was totally impressed with my sock knitting!

1 comment:

Jeanne said...

Very pretty Monkeys! I think most of the restaurants at the terminals are after the security checkpoints now...