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Posts Tagged ‘Lisbon’

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We are airborne and headed for Lisbon FINALLY.  There’s not much to say about the flight except that the seat and space are more comfortable than American Airlines but TAP does not serve snacks.  We were in the air for probably 45 minutes and then they brought around coffee, tea, juice, wine or beer.  Sorry Peter, no gin ☹️ and we even had our mini shaker with us.  According to the captain the serving of alcohol in the air is regulated by the government.  OK but what does that have to with peanuts, pretzels or blue corn chips? Remember how disdainfully you thought of those meager offerings?  Well we had breakfast around 9:30am and nothing else to eat except for coffee and a few chips Peter bought pre the nose bleed incident. We were starving!

About an hour later dinner was served; it was chunks of beef, mashed potatoes, green beans- I ate it all.  Then the entire plan went to sleep, but not us.  I forgot to bring an Ambien with me and because in Newark the flight was so full they checked our carry-on luggage for free WHICH I reminded the manger at JFK, so by being Miss Smarty Pants I kissed my Tylenol PM bon  voyage – it was now in the baggage compartment.  I watched a movie but you know, you can only shift your weight around so many times; I couldn’t find a comfortable position and it was a loooonnnng  night.

We had only minutes to spare to catch the flight to Rome but we did and soon we would be on terra firma, Italia.  Landing, luggage retrieval all went fairly routine and we went off to find the car rental office.

At the Hertz desk I immediately remind them that I called several times to insure that I would get either a Fiat 500L or a VW Golf. Yes they had one if I could wait a bit, it was being washed. When we got the keys and went into the garage to get the car I was SHOCKED, UPSET, DISTRAUGHT, anxious, okay, overtired and really carrying on BECAUSE the Fiat 500L is a BIG CAR!  You don’t know how much time I spent online researching the cars available and calculating the length. That’s how I came up with those two models which looked so small online and were listed  as both economy and compact.  Wringing my hands, walking around and around the car, saying over and over again, oh this is awful, this is too big. This car is way too big for Guardia.  Look at that Fiat Panda Peter, that’s the size car I wanted, even smaller, OMG what are we going to Do?  You can see how easily sleep deprivation and starvation can make a prisoner crazy because I was crazy at that moment.

I decide to march back in and freely admit I made a mistake, I need a smaller car!  Which I did to no avail. Madam this is the car you ordered, look here on the slip. Yes I know I asked for this car but I thought it would be much smaller.  You want a smaller car? Yes I want a smaller car, This is the smallest car we have. How can you say that when I saw a Fiat Panda out ther?  Ahhh, but you requested an automatic transmission. The Fiat 500L is the smallest with automatic transmission.

Totally defeated and despondent I return to the garage to inform Peter, who tries logic by telling me it is like a mini SUV – clearly an oxymoron that only this moron ordered. We have an SUV at home which I am quite comfortable driving IN AMERICA.

The problems with the FIAT and me are: Guardia and surroundings are in the mountains; narrow, hairpin curves, steep climbs, no shoulders, and most of all Italian drivers who literally drive up your ass and pass on the right on a curve, a straightaway or in a parking lot!!

We had no choice but to hit the road since we had a 2-3 hour ride ahead of us.  I had no idea how Peter was  going to be able to drive after our 24 hour no sleep trip and we both were not looking forward to navigating the mountains of Campania in the dark.

We had to stop for a piece of pizza at roadside rest stop which in Italy is actually a real treat since the food is always great and the places are like mini malls.  But that did put us into dusk and then dark. However, at the car rental place I made a last minute decision to rent the GPS because the car didn’t come with one. Originally I planned to use Google maps on my phone but the data plan offered by Verizon was pricey, I couldn’t get the SIM card I wanted till I arrived in Guardia and in the end Hertz discounted the rental. I carefully budgeted this trip and in about 27 hours I blew it with the ride from the shore to Newark and from Newark to JFK so in the state of mind I was in 5pm on Monday evening in Rome’s airport, paying more $$ for the peace of mind to get where we needed to go tonight and everywhere else for the couple of weeks seemed like a good idea and it was….we arrived in Guardia Sanframondi at about 9:30pm. We looked like we felt. Said hello, hugs, kisses and got the key to Nonna’s House where we crashed. Good night.

To be continued…

 

 

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closeup photo of yellow taxi

Photo by Adrianna Calvo on Pexels.com

AND WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE’S A PROBLEM?

We got in the cab and if my blood pressure wasn’t high enough to start another nose bleed then, I’m fit to climb Mt Everest!  I was fuming. I just couldn’t understand going over the damn Verrazano Bridge – the most expensive crossing in The City.  We were on the road 3 minutes and we were in traffic as far as the eye could see.  Here’s the visual:  Sunday night in August on the Garden State returning from the shore, the   Bourne Bridge on Friday night in July, the Long Island Expressway two hours before sunset on Passover, in other words a frigging nightmare!

The driver is in the right lane and backseat driver that I am, I’m watching which cars are passing us on the left. We are literally inching along and as we approach the Goethals Bridge, I swear two more lanes merge in.

We have already missed our flight and connecting flight to Rome so we won’t be there on time to pick up the car I ordered. The car that I called about 3 times demanding I must have either the Fiat 500L or VW Gulf. So now in the taxi at about 8pm I am calling Kemwell the middle man car rental company in Maine to ask them to change the time of pick up.  Of course they can’t reach Rome now because the time difference is 7 hours ahead and I won’t know if we are confirmed because just maybe I will be in the air!

The driver told us it would take an hour; I guess that would be at 2:00am because now we are approaching the hour mark and we see our first sign of approaching the bridge. Giving credit where due and also he knew he had a crazy woman sitting behind him, the cab driver really put the pedal to the metal whenever he could and began to weave around cars to gain ground.  I have been sending prayers of intercession to St Jude constantly during the trip- well in between cursing the trip.

As soon as we got close to airport he asked what terminal and that’s when I sprung the surprise stop on him. CITI-MED!! Supposedly located in Bldg 75 in JFK on North Hangar Rd. I tell him I have to pick up something.  He puts the address in WAZE and says it’s the exit BEYOND the airport. See it IS part of the airport but the part where there are buildings and cargo offices. Way off in the distance you can see the lights of the terminals.  Look at a map and JFK airport is probably larger than the village we are in! It’s left, right, right, left meantime we seem to be very far from real airport.  There is Building 75 ALL CLOSED up by appearances. We drive around one side and back, there is one light on for a shipping company (it is 9:30 on a Sunday). I jump out of the cab and rush in asking is there a CITI-MED here? Go to the next door upstairs.

I raced out, waved to Peter in cab and found elevator.  It opens and I am in a lunch room. I am so frantic, I am crazy.  I find their telephone number and call and say where are you? I am in Bldg 75 and need to find you. Why? do you need a doctor? Yes I had a nosebleed and need.. Oh you need to go to the emergency room. No it stopped I need a release to get on my flight. Oh OK where are you? I don’t know in a room with a soda machine.. OK turn left and left again room 204. With phone still in my ear I turn left then right and say where are you I can’t find your room!  Hold on I will come and find you. I quickly backtrack and see a woman at the end of the other hall. I rush to her talking a mile a minute telling her what happened and she was aghast that we took a cab from Newark Airport to JFK.  Don’t worry I’ll give you the release, you’ll make your flight, sign here. Bless you bless you thank you!  Look Peter I got it.

I am not in the taxi one minute and my other nostril starts to bleed. OMG OMG  please God not now we can’t miss 2 flights. I am pinching my nose so hard all the way to the terminal. I am not looking down or picking up any luggage -it stopped.

We get to to desk to check in. The counter staff sees that our luggage is all tagged from  Newark and says the manager will take care of us. We wait. He looks at our tickets and says he is aware of our situation. I hand him the medical release. He says there is a problem. Oh no don’t tell me there’s a problem now, what? He explains that although Newark called us in for this 11:30 departure, they did not book us into the connecting flight from Lisbon to Rome which is fully booked. Well what followed in an interchange between the manager who stayed calm and me who became increasingly agitated will be hard to report but here is some of what I said not in any order now;  I didn’t miss my flight, they made me miss my flight. If the TAP staff in Newark made a mistake, you must fix it. Do you think we would have paid $150. (Driver wanted more$$ for second stop) to get from Newark to here if we didn’t expect to be on a flight thru to Rome? I am not leaving this counter till we straighten this out. Do you have any idea of the domino effect of changing flights? I have paid for lodging, a rental car, etc. We are not going back to Manhattan.  THEN he says, hold on I may be able to work something out.  AND WE ARE BOOKED on a connecting flight that leaves within an hour after we land in Lisbon and we will be able to get to the car rental on time.

To e continued…

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