slycat: (Default)
Just bought my tickets by using that discount offer I mentioned before. Cost me £285 rather than £398 which isn't quite the 50% off I expected but I imagine thats cos the taxes and airport charges aren't discounted. Anyway, I'm leaving on the 21st Jan at 11.40am and flying back on the 31st at 7.05pm direct between heathrow and LAX. Gotta work out what to do with my time there now :)

Back home

Jul. 12th, 2007 06:48 pm
slycat: (Default)
Finally got home. The plane touched down around 10:20am, about an hour later than it should have due to taking off late at JFK. My parents kindly came to pick me up (Dad even took a half day off work to come collect me) and got to parents place around 1pm. I had a shower followed by a bit of a snooze while Mum washed my clothes and I only got back to the flat around 6pm. So glad to be home. I'll be typing up my notes and making a series of gigantic posts in the not too distant future.
slycat: (Default)
Well there's no visibility at JFK due to fog so it's currently shut down. This means our flight is now delayed indefinitley until the weather clears up. Means less of a wait in New York at least. I'm a little worried about the weather at New York as severe storms are predicted for tonight. Just hope we can get out of the country tonight.
slycat: (Default)
Just to let folks know, we got up at 3.30am to get ourselves prepared and out the hotel in time for our flight. The flight is on time and we're all in the departure lounge. Got an hour before departure. No idea what we will do with our 13 hour stopover at NYC. Got to find somewhere to stick the luggage. Quite keen to see the terminal as featured in the film of the same name :). Not sure if we'll go to the city, may just get someplace to sleep unless we hook up with some furs or something
slycat: (Drawn by Kei 2)
By amazing coincidence, we bumped into [ profile] camstone at the airport. He flight was only delayed when we first told him of our woes, but once we had a hotel we went back to the airport and bumped into him again, this time because his flight had been cancelled too. He really was a shining star as he helped us get a discount coupon for the hotel ($150 off the room bringing it down to $99) and he also bought us dinner in the posh hotel restaurant. We are all so incredibly greatful, he really helped us all feel much more at ease and not to worry so much.

So yeah, thanks again Camstone!
slycat: (Drawn by AceFox)
OK, we got ourselves a hotel room in the Hyatt hotel joining the airport. Delta didn't seem bothered at all about our situation but we got them to sort the flights out. Will be a long day tomorrow, much longer than today was supposed to be. I feel rather numb right now, I was feeling in a state of despair when I posted my previous post but now I don't know how I feel. The worst thing which could have happened, happened. We will get the cost of the hotel back on travel insurance minus excess. I will have to check my policy but I should be due some cash for the cancelled flight too.

Ah well I guess I just go with the flow now. Gotta get up early tomorrow for the flight and got ages at NYC. Should go see the city really, but the way I'm feeling now, I just want to be home.
slycat: (Default)
Decided to have breakfast in the hotel cafe to try it out, and kinda regret doing so. Not because of the food, but because of our server, Randy. He was borderline scary in the way wanted to do anything and everything for us, making us feel rather trapped at times feeling we couldn't leave... He was going on about how he was an artist and had been doing the job for 20 years and how everyone's life is an adventure and stuff. He did leave us with the phrase "let's go on an adventure" which has kinda stuck tho :P

We had planned to go to Sandcastle water park earlier but we were delayed due to a delivery to the hotel. Much to Kei and my suprise, our fursuits were delivered to the hotel. We literally ran to the elevator and to the concierge where the packages were and then raced back to the room to have a look at them. I took mine out and realised I couldnt wear it with jeans underneath (I know you shouldn't anyway but I just wanted to see how it looked rather than wear it properly) so I let Kei get hers on. Then she got Tim to wear it so she could take some photos :). I decided I couldn't wait any longer and so got undressed and into the fursuit so we could see how it fitted and looked. Needles to say, I was very happy with how it looked. The fit was a little close but once on, felt fine. Despite the fact I had given the measurements around 21 months ago it still fitted fine. Just needed a hand getting the zipper up and down. Anyway, we got plenty photos taken and once we got tired pratting about in our room, we got back into our normal clothes and febreezed the suits :).

Returning to our original plan, we got a taxi to Sandcastle, Pittsburgh's water park. We got there just before 3pm when they do a discounted rate which was handy as we saved like $5 on entrance. The water park is a gigantic water ride park with varying types. We started off with the "Lazy River" where you just sit in an inflatable tube and float around the water park. Was a good oppertunity to cool off and see the whole park, very relaxing :). After that we had a go on some of the slides and the tidal wave pool which was great fun, even if I did inhale a bit of the chlorinated water :P After having our fill of the rides, we dried ourselves off with the towels we borrowed from the hotel and called for a taxi which must have taken around an hour to arrive. After we got back to the hotel, didn't really do much. I ordered a large pizza from Pizza Parma but only managed a quarter of it. Shame really, pizza in Pittsburgh is so nice!
slycat: (Default)
A little behind on this one, I must do better! Anyway, as to what we did yesterday, we went to the Steel City Diner for breakfast. I had a 5 egg omelette while Kei has 3 gigantic pancakes and Tim had the special. Was quite tasty, might have to go there again, although I hear they ran out of some food last year :P. After that, we took a stroll around Pittsburgh going down Penn Avenue then up 6th Avenue, across the bridge and then followed the river up to the Heinz building before crossing back to the other side of the river. Was quite a peaceful walk up to this point. The other side of the river was apparantly what is called the Strip District where they have lots of random shops and restaurants. We picked up some sweets from what appeared to be a wholesale sweet shop as they only sold stuff in bulk before taking a wonder round on to Smallman Street, following it back to the hotel passing a costume shop on the way (which had hideous Simpsons suits amongst others).

Once we got back to the hotel, we found the bathroom floor was covered in water because the toilet was continuously flushing. I touched the handle where the water seemed to be coming from which stopped the flushing but we had already called for an engineer to look at it so when he came he just mopped up the water and cleaned up the bathroom. Following that excitement, we decided to go to the Showcase Cinemas in Robinson to see Ratatouille as the lady in the Disney store had recommended the day before. Had to get a taxi out there again which was another $25 each way but was much more convenient than getting the bus. It's a real shame the whole Robinson shopping area isnt more pedestrian friendly. They almost expect you to drive from one building to the neighbouring one. Anyway, the movie was great, another hit for Pixar. On a geeky side, the graphics get better and better, the food really did look real in some places :P

After the film, we walked down to TGI Friday's. Ordered some "Buffalo" chicken wings for starter which were too spicy and the sauce was too thick so we didn't eat much of those. My main was a serving of chicken and steak fajitas which were pretty nice if not spicy like Old El Paso fajitas, and salsa was sadly missing. Also only got 3 smallish tortillas which made it difficult to fit everything in. Had a fantastic drink to make up for the disappointments in the food department. It was a red bull shlushie. It really made me go "zing!" sugar sugar sugar from the syrup of the slushie mixed with the caffiene of the Red Bull. Lovely :)

After getting the taxi back, didn't do much for the rest of the evening. Possibly spotted a few furry arrivals in the lobby but that was about it.
slycat: (Default)
Didn't do a heck of a lot yesterday. Despite going to sleep around 10pm local time, still woke up around 5.30am as my body clock hasn't adjusted yet. As it was a sunday, the only place we could find which was doing breakfast was McDonald's. I had a bacon, egg and cheese "biscuit" (American for scone) but found it was tiny so gorged on 2 helpings of Hot Cakes. Found the pancakes to be very nice but that was probably to do with the high fat and sugar content. Washed it all down with some Barq's root beer, my first taste of root beer so far on this trip :).

After getting back to the hotel, we got a taxi and went to The Mall at Robinson. Which is a largish mall near the town of Robinson, which is around 3/4 of the way back to the airport from downtown Pittsburgh. As we got there, it seemed that most of the shops were closed but they all opened shortly after we arrived as it appears they open at 11am on Sunday. Got me a new Gir t-shirt from Hot Topic, some trainers from Vans and Animaniacs Volume 3 from FYE (which I hope to get Robert Paulson to sign). Also took the oppertunity to get some swimming trunks in Sears as I had forgot to pack the ones I bought during FC last year :P One thing we noticed is that everyone is so friendly and polite. Not just in the shops where they're trying to sell you stuff, but people opening doors for others and saying "Thank you" and "you're welcome". I guess I'm not used to that coming from the UK, kinda suprising that we're so much worse than the Americans for politeness.

After shopping, I called the taxi company to pick us up but they were permanently busy. Which was quite worrying for what appears to be the only taxi company in Pittsburgh. Fortunately we got a card off the guy who dropped us off and called him. He picked right up and said he'd be there in 15 mins which we were really greatful for. True to his word, he picked us up and dropped us off at the hotel. We had planned to go to a sit down restaurant at this time and finally decided on pizza. I did a bit of searching on the net and Pizza Parma looked like it should be a good place and it was close to the hotel. Though once we got there, it looked a bit run down so we decided to go somewhere else. Ended up at a place called something like Giovanni's or similar. It didn't look like anything special either and the soda was flat but the pizza was amazing. Possibly the best I've ever had come to think of it. Couldn't put my finger on what made me like it so much but it was good. They also gave us canned drinks with lots ice to replace the flat fountain drinks so was all good.

Got back to the hotel and while we did intend to go out again, we ended up just crashing from tiredness. I woke up this morning pretty early feeling really wrong. Like I was gonna throw up or something, but I didnt. I think it was just bad indigestion again. The problem is now I'm in the land of overindulgence, I've been taking advantage of that. It was a literal wake up call to me to be a bit more careful with what I eat. Need to get me some vitamin suppliments too as I don't want to end up with con crud before the con!

Anyway, we're off to the diner in a bit. Laters!
slycat: (Default)
Got to Heathrow at about 7:15am, having woken up at 5:30am. Went straight for the ticket desk queue which appeared pretty short but it still took me 45mins to get through it. I needed to go to this queue first to get my ticket for the second leg of the outgoing journey amended as they changed my flight number. After the long wait, they took about 20 seconds to look up the details and put a sticky label on the ticket... after that was the checkin queue which took another hour or so. By now, the time was 9:20am and the flight was boarding at 10:00am (despite leaving at 11:15am) so we made our way to the next queue, security. It was really really long but moved quite quickly so wasn't too long before we were through it. I didn't get pulled to one side for anything so was all good. In the other side of security, we wanted to get something to eat but didn't really have much time so we just got some sandwiches from Boots. I thought there might have been more shops at the departure lounge area but I was wrong. The vending machine wasn't even working. It wasn't long before we were bording the plane so it wasn't too bad. Once on the plane, it did seem like forever before we departed, which was more like 12 rather than the scheduled departure time of 11:15. However the flight managed to get ahead of schedule and we arrived pretty much before we were supposed to get there. The flight itself was OK, the inflight entertainment system was just the old videotape system so I just used it for the skymap and the occaisonal game of battleships which you could play against other seats.

At Chicago, we went through the Immigration booths and I always prepare for the worst. However the guy I got took my passport, asked why I was in Chicago (I said because I was transferring to Pittsburgh) and then went away for about 3 minutes with the passport, apparantly to ask someone a question or something. When he came back to his booth I asked what was wrong. He said nothing was wrong, he just had a joke he had to tell his colleague apparantly... I dunno, maybe he was making fun of the photo on my passport but when he returned, he was laughing which I've never seen an Immigration officer do before. He again asked why I was here and I again said I was just going on to Pittsburgh. He took my fingerprints and photo and sent me on my way without asking any further questions. I guess I got lucky with that :).

Our bags didn't appear on the carousel which made us think that maybe they had just transerred them to the next flight already. It didn't help when we asked someone there and he said "They'll probably appear tomorrow". Fortunately, we found someone useful who was a Virgin representative and he said our bags were next to another carousel for no apparant reason. Sure enough, there they were which was quite a relief. We went through customs and then to the United desk where they took our bags for the transfer and also issued a boarding pass thingy. Needed to get on the tram to terminal 1, everyting was so clean and shiny compared to the UK we noticed. Picked up a Cinnabon and ate that while waiting for the flight to begin boarding. We only had about an hour to wait so it wasn't so bad. I'm kinda glad we had the extra hour wait from our flight number being changed as it would have been quite close.

The flight to Pittsburgh itself was pretty quick and pain free. No frills but the seats were more comfortable than the Virgin Economy ones. On the other end, after another tram ride, we got to baggage claim and to my amazement, our bags appeared. I was amazed but at this point I thought they would have problems moving our bags about but it all went through without a hitch. As we were all pretty knackered and lazy, we just got the closest taxi. The taxi driver was a bit scary as she apparantly had road rage commenting on how other people can't drive and driving with one hand while using her mobile phone. We got to the Westin hotel in one piece though. I told Tim to tip her even if she was a bit scary. Anyway, we got checked in on the 7th floor, put our bags down and collapsed on the "heavenly beds". I signed up for the "high speed" wi-fi as the free wifi is 128k. Turned out the high speed is only 1mbit but I used it to grab the last episode of Doctor Who which we watched before going to bed.
slycat: (Default)
I've been doing a bit of digging online for things to do during our time before the con and I've got a few things together. This is mostly a list for my own reference, but if anyone has any good suggestions, I'd be interested in hearing them. Need to get info on good places to eat, especially decent steak restaurants in the area.

  • Steel City Diner, traditional American diner really close to the hotel (0.1mile!)
  • Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills, the largest mall in the area with plenty of good shops and even an IMAX cinema (nothing worth seeing while visiting sadly). (17 miles away)
  • The Mall at Robinson, another very large mall with lots of great shops including a number of large stores surrounding the mall too (13 miles away)
  • Prime Outlets - Grove City, an outlet mall meaning lots of even cheaper stuff, but probably a bit too far to visit as there's other malls closer (60 miles away)
The distances I've mentioned are from the hotel.

January 2015

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