Travel Troubles

I am back in State College now and hoping to get back into the hang of posting regularly, but I wanted to talk a little more about my trip to Miami first. In my last post I tried to stay positive about everything that happened. And I did have fun in Miami. It was not a stress-free trip however, in fact I cannot imagine how it could have gotten worse. Murphy’s Law was in full effect.

Since we were traveling on a budget and were late in planning our trip, we bought tickets to Miami from Dulles airport in Washington, with a stop in Atlanta. My mom drove us to our cousins’ house in Maryland and visited, while my uncle took us to Dulles. That part actually went pretty well. Uncle Joe travels a lot and was helpful in telling us what to expect and where to go. We got our tickets and got through security rather easily.

Unfortunately there was no rush. We arrived around noon and our 3:30 flight had been delayed until 5:30. Apparently everything in Atlanta got shut down. So we basically sat around listening to music and reading in Terminal B of Dulles. While on our flight, we were kind of nervous about whether we would miss our connecting flight due to the delay. No worries, though, because that had been delayed almost 2 hours as well. Unlike Dulles which had been quiet, Atlanta was a madhouse of people waiting for delayed flights and such. I got dinner while we waited for our second flight at the worst Burger King ever. We didn’t arrive in Miami until 1am.

We got a decent night’s sleep before starting our one day in Miami. We took a shuttle to Miami Beach and that was fun. The ride took us kind of around the city so I got a brief taste of the city. Miami seems to be characterized by small, colorful homes and big, expensive cars. The beach was fun, until we went back to catch our shuttle. Through some snafu the shuttle that was supposed to run until 3 stopped at 1:30. We were stuck with bunch of other Penn Staters waiting until the tour people told us to just get a taxi and they would reimburse us.

We got changed at the hotel and boarded our bus to the game at 4pm, which we thought was a little early for an 8pm game. It turned out there was good reason to – the normally 20 minute ride took 2 1/2 hours. We reckon that Miami’s citizens must buy nice cars since they spend most of the their life waiting in traffic. I suspect that our bus ride was longer than the others, since the driver decided to go on I-95 during rush hour. The game was fun until a missed kick led to what became a triple-overtime. This is probably dramatic for television viewers, but very stressful for fans who sunk a lot of cash into a game to see their team win. Fortunately that did happen, though the game did not end till 2:30.

The return flight ended up being most interesting. We flew from Miami to Orlando to Philadelphia. We had a nice 2 hour layover in Orlando, which I thought would allow time for a little lunch. No such luck. The way the airport is laid out we had to come out of the terminal, go to a crowded check-in desk to get our new boarding passes, and go through security. I was certain at this point that there must be no civil engineers in the state of Florida. We arrived just as they were boarding the flight. It turned out everyone was tied up in the same mess though, so we waited 20 minutes for the rest of the passengers. Everything went pretty smoothly from there fortunately.

I learned some lessons about travel. First of all, you get what you pay for and sometimes a little less. We booked cheap flights and therefore ran into some problems. I would probably avoid connecting flights if at all possible in the future. While these inconveniences were a hassle, they didn’t ruin the trip. I think the whole thing will be a memorable experience I’ll have the rest of my life.

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