February 29, 2004
Disclaimer: This entry is a rant.I heard the first sound at about 4:30 this morning, as someone tried loudly to get in my room. I ignored it. I then heard some voices talking amongst themselves and a knock. I ignored it. They knocked again. I yelled "Hello," but got no response. Then, a little bit later, I heard a louder, longer knock. I got out of bed, went to the door, and asked through the door who it was. They said "Stefan?" I said, "No." They apologized, but I wasn't very enthused. Sleep is valuable to me. But, I thought it was over. Probably 15 minutes later, they returned. Not to my door, but to the ice machine across from my door. And boy were they loud. It sounded like there were 5 or 6 of them, and they made no attempt to be quiet. Had I been modest, I would have told them to hush up. But I didn't, and they went away. Then another guy (I heard his voice) came by just before that and knocked quietly at my door. I ignored him. He knocked louder. I ignored him again, and he went away.By now, it was around 5:15 - 5:30, and I couldn't sleep, so I went to see if I had gotten any email. My connection wouldn't work. Apparently, the company controlling the access couldn't charge the card. I double checked the info, but the problem was, there were no contact numbers anyway, and I didn't have email access to send their support team any messages. I gave up and went back to bed.Now you're probably thinking, "Yeah, that stinks, but it's nothing to get excited about." Let me expound. In fact, let me ask why I'm in the SeaTac Holiday Inn to begin with.It started yesterday morning. My flight left in the morning to San Francisco. From there, it was on to Tokyo. I woke up with so much time that I actually got bored. I read some news and then shoveled the driveway before I went to the airport. When I got there, the ticketing terminal was packed. I figured I could just go to a kiosk to get my boarding pass to SFO. I tried half a dozen times, but it kept telling me the reservation didn't exist. Then I panicked as I realized in the past, for international flights, I had had paper tickets, and for this trip, none had been given to me. I called the company travel agent, but got no response. I stood in line for a bit with the domestic croud to see what I could do, and was finally told to go stand in the International line. That line was immense. There were some 100 soldiers goin to Frankfurt that all had to individually check in. It was a mess. By the time I got up to the gate, my flight had left. Not that it would have helped to get there a bit earlier, since the security line was even longer.Anyway, Delta did what they could and put me on a flight to Seattle that would give me barely enough time to get to the international terminal and catch the Tokyo flight out of there. However, he warned that it might not be enough time to get my bag transferred onto the Tokyo flight. He said I could be without my bag for 2-3 days, but I figured I could handle that, so he put a priority tag on my bag and checked me in. My next flight was late. Way late. By the time we landed, I had only about 15 minutes to run to the international terminal, which was a ways away. I went quickly, but needed to check in with Northwest first. The lady there said I was too late. She put me on the Sunday flight and told me to talk to Delta about them giving me a hotel, since they were late.Delta wouldn't pay for a hotel. They gave me a discount, but that was it. I was too tired to argue much, so I went to get my bag. That's when I found out it had made it on the continuing flight and would be waiting for me in Tokyo. How the heck did it make it and I didn't? I have no idea. I thought they couldn't let baggage on a plane unless the passenger was. Oh well, so now I have no bags except my laptop, and a bunch of time.I called up my brother in Portland, and ironically, he had just driven back to Portland from Seattle that morning. However, he did find me a $20 car rental, so that's the one bright spot of the trip. I went up to the Pike Place Market (if you've never been, you must go when in Seattle). I picked up some apples and some tasty smoked salmon. Quite yummy if I must say.But lets just say this has been a trip of bad luck so far. And that's bad because this is a trip where I really do need a lot of luck to try to accomplish what I've been given to do. Maybe I've used up my bad luck now and it's smooth from here on out. Well, time to go catch my flight.
Posted by charr at 11:25 AM
I hope you've used up all of your bad luck, because when I'm on call for you guys in Tokyo and it's 2am in Utah, I'll need a whole lotta luck to remember much of anything.
I feel your pain. I hate business travel. I haven't had any by way of air, but I've had plenty of hotel and car rental snafus. It's no fun to be away from home (in a strange place to boot) and to have no idea what's going on.Good luck. Take comfort in the fact that by now you've surely used up all of your bad mojo. At least, we'll hope you have. :)
I think Delta should have paid for your hotel at the very least! How frustrating!
You should have told those guys, "Stephen stepped out, what room are you staying in and I'll send him over." Then when you woke up (presumably EARLY),you could call their room and scream into the phone. ;)
Well, I made it to Tokyo. The flight wasn't bad at all, except for the occasional screaming kid. It went by faster than I thought it would.More games though. I made two brief calls to Tokyo from the hotel. I figured it'd be expensive -- you know, like 2 bucks a minute or something. Well, I got my bill and the first call, which was under two minutes, was over $23.00 and the second, probably about 30 seconds, was $17 something. Ouch. On the bright side though, the hotel charged the room completely to Delta, even though I had given them a coupon only for a discount. I'm not complaining though.On to the airport. I checked in for the flight, and they (Northwest) said my baggage hadn't gone on to Tokyo. He told me to go ask Delta. So I went and talked to the same lady I had talked to the day before who told me my bag was on the plane. She said something like, "Oh, yeah, I just took that over to Northwest a few minutes ago." It turns out she was right (though she had told me for sure it was going to Tokyo). I was a bit miffed, and went over to the NW baggage counter. The guy there said it was probably on the plane and it would _probably_ be there for me in Tokyo, but they couldn't track it.Amazingly, it was.
Wow. It's a refreshing change when something goes right, eh? Here's hoping it's the start of a new trend.
Hey Cameron, while you're in Tokyo, you might find this newly released book, about How to Live as an Urban Nomad in the World's Most Expensive City. It's free.
Thanks, I'll have to check it out. Chris G. at work was just telling me that at nights, Tokyo station (the main hub in Tokyo) fills up at night with homeless, but they're not your grungy homeless. They look like they just sleep there, and then go to work in the morning.