USA trip 2015: New York

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May 19th 2015
Published: May 30th 2015
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The final leg of the trip was spending a week relaxing with my parents at home. After camping, it was just a few mores til we got there. It's been 18 years since I lived there, and my room no longer exists, but it is always home. We ordered some good New York pizza (Cam's!) and just chilled for the rest of the night.

We generally just hang out when I'm home like this, but my dad and I usually go wine tasting. This we did three times - so fun. We got a passport - for $15 you can get a booklet of a bunch of wineries and the tasting fees are covered, so we hit a few that we had never been to before. We went to the following: White Springs winery and brewery (good, but it is so close to our house), Belhurst Castle (good, but so close to our house, nice gift shop), Red Tail (great dry wines, unusual grapes for the region so very original, one of my favorites), Anthony Road (good, incredible staff), Serenity (meh), Seneca Shores (ugh!), Earl Estates (ok, very sweet, a little overwhelming), Torrey Ridge (ok, very sweet), Billsboro (a former favorite, specializes in drier wines, not really up to par this trip), Ventosa (gets better every time I go with a great location and great views), Ravines (a new location in a restored barn on their properties, pretty good), plus a hops brewery Climbing Bines (very hoppy!).. I think that's it! The main thing to know, is that the Finger Lakes wines have got increasingly better in the last ten years with many more varieties. It is so interesting for me to visit these wineries and see how they have changed.

We tried to go to the new Sauders in Seneca Falls, but they were closed for Ascension Day (Thursday). Sauders was founded by a Mennonite family, so the grocery shopping is an experience. They have a lot of homemade or locally grown products, use natural ingredients, such as maple syrup, breads, pretzels, jams, pickles, bulk dried beans and spices, etc. They have free samples scattered throughout. They have been around for a long time, but it has become popular in recent years, so they just opened a much larger space and it looks fantastic.

I got to see my sister and her family, who recently moved to
Sauders MarketSauders MarketSauders Market

their new expansion
Rochester. Their new house is quite nice with a huge huge yard. They came down on Friday and Saturday to hang out and get their new tenants for the old house situated. Poor Emry said all Saturday morning that his tummy hurt and he wound up throwing up for the rest of the day. I was trying to comfort the poor kid until they went home. Around 3am, I woke up with a sore tummy myself and proceeded to spend the next 16 hours in the bathroom. We were supposed to go to Rochester for dinner, but I was way too sick (second year in a row that I missed our Olive Garden tradition!). Apparently, the baby also got sick and so did Michel. The next morning, when we went to Sauders, I noted that my mom hadn't left her room yet, which is unusual. When we got back she apparently started getting sick around 5am.

That evening at 7 was when I would catch my flight to NYC and from there my Emirates flight back home. My dad and I drove all the way to Rochester during rush hour, about an hour, and I checked in at the kiosk and got a receipt for my checked bag, but noted that my ticket said I would get a seat assignment at the gate. When I got to the desk to drop off my bag, the woman said the flight was cancelled and didn't anyone contact me? My heart stopped for many reasons: this was the first time my dad has ever not come in with me because he was starting to feel sick too so I told him just to go home, I had a flight that I had carefully planned for months in business class that leaves twice a day only, i knew this would mean that I would miss work for yet another day, I hate the crowds of people when you have a snowball effect of cancelled flights, and I could not figure out why - they said it was weather, but we later looked and could find no instance of weather issues either here, NYC, or their hub in Atlanta. Anyway, they booked me on a flight for 11am the next day, refunded my baggage fee, my dad luckily answered the phone and returned to get me. Then I had a heck of a time getting Emirates to switch my flight for the next evening.

On the way back home, the toll booth for the thruway was backed up, practically stopped. When we finally got in to the ticket taker, he told us the eastbound road was blocked and we had to turn around and find another route. Why they didn't tell people before they went thru the booth I have no idea as it just added to the congestion since we had to merge in with people being forced off the thruway too. So, we took the long scenic route back and my dad just looked sicker and sicker. it was almost comical to me at that point, if I wasn't so worried about getting to NYC the next day (the change fee was insanely expensive - one big strike against Emirates…). I found out later that two tractor trailers had crashed and one leaked hazardous materials so the area was closed for the rest of the night - yikes!!!

The next morning before we were ready to head out again, I was smart and checked the flight status online and it was cancelled AGAIN!!! This time due to "mechanical failure" - right…. Friggin Delta. And still, still they had not messaged or called or emailed me about it. I know they have my info because I got flight reminders for my flight from San Francisco, so I was angry once again. It's an hour drive! When I tried to call, they said it would be half an hour wait and would call back. My dad said he heard they were in a labor dispute, so we think this is the real reason. In the meantime, I checked Amtrak and booked a ticket from Syracuse. So we headed there and this time my dad waited until the train came (also delayed). The train was quite crowded with people heading to Penn Station, but other than that it was quite a pleasant journey. I think in the future, I will just do this again. I didn't know what to do once I got to Penn Station, but two guys on the train offered me different tips: the first guy says there is a shuttle bus to JFK and another guy told me to take the E-train. It was insanely busy when I arrived and the first signs I saw pointed to the E-train so that's what I did, even getting the Express train. For $3, I got a ticket to Queens, with the help of a nice lady who made sure I got on the right train and knew the station I needed. Once i got off, you are easily lead to the Air Train, which takes you right to the airport - $5. So, for $8 and two easy trains I was at the airport. Finally!

I checked in right away, waited in a ridiculously long security line and walked about 15m to my gate. I really like the business class lounge in JFK - in fact, I think the food choices are even better than in Dubai. So it was a nice pleasant wait of about 3 hours before we boarded the flight. I talked to my mom - my sister also had gotten sick and had to stay home on Monday. It went through our entire family, all eight of us, in about 36 hours. So crazy!!! I was sad though because I didn't get my usual window seat for the flight home - I got a stupid aisle seat. Grrrr… It seriously was not the same magical experience that I had had last year - I know I'm picky, but it was super crowded and loud. But I was able to lie down on my mattress and sleep for a few hours, eating some good foods. When I got on my flight to Doha, the 777, I actually enjoyed it a lot more for some reason. I think there were few people so I got personal service from the flight attendant and peace.

Anyway, after an insane flight experience I made it home to Doha, with my Emirates chauffeur waiting for me. Delta sent me an email survey about how my cancelled flight experience was - I did not hold back. A few days later, I got an official apology and a bunch of flight miles, so I am placated a little. But it was rough.

Additional photos below
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31st May 2015

Flight cancelations...
I had several on my last trip to the Balkans. Any cancellations involving a European destination result in the airline having to pay compensation in accordance with EU Regulation 261/2004...just Google it for details. To bad airline passengers don't have the same protections in the US.

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