"" Writer's Wanderings: What A Night! Good Morning Roma!

Friday, September 15, 2023

What A Night! Good Morning Roma!

 Most of our air flights over the years have worked out well. We have not had a difficult time with any for many air miles. Our luck was about to change. Not drastically but enough to be an irritation. 

We flew from CLE to Newark without a problem. As a matter of fact for me, it was quite nice. Bob got an upgrade to first class and let me take it. As he told his seat mates who posed with him for a selfie that he sent me, he was trying to be sure we'd make it to the 55th anniversary. I did enjoy the pampering, if you can call it that. First class is not what it used to be and this was just a short ride anyway.

Our flight had been changed to leave a little earlier so we arrived with about three hours to kill in Newark. After a fifteen minute ride on a shuttle to the international terminal, we searched for a United Club. The one we found was a temporary setup while they constructed a new one. The lady sent us over to another one that was closer to our gate anyway. The problem seemed to be that you needed the VISA card, not the MasterCard to get in. It was all very confusing and we were running out of time by then to find food. Bob will settle the problem for the future when we get home.

The restaurants in the Newark airport were all pretty expensive. I consider a hamburger and fries for $25 a bit much. We finally decided it wasn't going to get any better and ordered one to split. While we waited for it to arrive, I found a map online for the airport. Wouldn't you know. There was a Wendy's just a few steps from our gate. We didn't check the prices. We didn't need to make ourselves feel worse.

Embarkation for the flight to Rome went fairly smoothly considering it was a large full plane. Once everyone was settled, the announcement came that we would be delayed fifteen minutes because they couldn't get the video system to work. Someone had already spent four hours troubleshooting, she said. Then another announcement and another delay. By the time they decided we could do without, we were almost an hour late taking off. 

Now you wouldn't think the video system would be all that important. Just entertainment. Not so. Not only do they rely on it for the safety talk, which somehow managed to make it most of the way through, but it also controls the individual lights overhead. Thankfully Bob had some movies he could watch on his iPad. Others weren't so fortunate and they were bored. The noise level in the plane rose as many around us were all part of a tour group and shouted to one another.

Cue the turbulence. I didn't think Hurricane Lee was close enough to affect us yet but I'm guessing that's what gave us a rough start. "Dinner" was delayed almost an hour until we were through the rough ride. When it did roll down the aisle, there was a nasty smell of food. Not appetizing at all. Our choices were pasta that was swimming in a watery sauce and some sort of chicken dish with rice. The entrees were accompanied by some sort of little greens and a clump of barley salad and a roll that was hard enough to make me worry I would break a tooth biting into it. Thankfully our expensive hamburger was still with us and we weren't that hungry anyway.

But wait! There's more. Off and on turbulence delayed some of the dinner cleanup. By the time we were ready to try to get some zzzs, the lights were finally dimmed. Now comes the fun part. There was no way to turn on your individual light above the seat so if you had reading material that wasn't digital, you were out of luck unless you could see well in dim light. Then there were the people who were bored. The couple in the seats across the aisle got into a loud discussion about the music choices of the wife and what hubby wanted to listen to. The guy in the seat just in front of him couldn't keep his pillow under his head and it kept flying in my direction. Then the best one. I still don't know what they were looking for but the couple turned on their phone lights and weren't careful about where the beams were directed. I'm usually pretty patient but I was ready to say something when finally the lights turned off. 

Between off and on turbulence which meant the loud seat belt tone was off and on, and the flight stewards coming through shaking plastic bags calling out "garbage" or "trash" and finally the water run. "Water! Anyone want water?" if we slept an hour out of the seven hour flight, I would be surprised. 

But we landed safely, made it through immigration smoothly, found the train to Rome from the airport and our hotel that was just around the corner from the train station. At this point I was truly grateful that Bob had arranged for an early checkin. We were ready to crash.

And then...the key wouldn't work for the door to our room. To make a long story shorter, it required the manager and then the maintenance man before the key would work. Good morning Roma!

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