Well today started out like Charlie Brown kicking a football.
I took a picture of the I amsterdam statue since no one was there.
I took the train and got to the airport.
I checked in – was 3 hours before my flight. Now that I look at the boarding pass it was even printed upside down – an omen of things to come.
I looked through my thin passport and saw the stamp from Hungary and thought I needed to change the passport I was using to travel. When I asked the gate agent she said the names were different…. all of a sudden I realized that I must have accidentally switched passports with my friend. Not a problem for me since I have 2 passports, but he would be stuck until the US embassy replaced his. I tried calling the hotel room, but no answer. I bought a return ticket on the train and headed back to the hotel. I sent him and email saying I had his passport! He got my message and met me at the ferry by the train which saved me about 10 minutes. I returned to the airport in plenty of time, luckily Schipol isn’t too far away and the trains are very quick (best one is 13 minutes).
After security I figured I should by lunch at the US Embassy (McDonald’s) since I was afraid of what mystery food United might serve me.. I bought a happy meal which not only included a toy – Snoopy on the Hubble telescope that is actually a telescope, but also yogurt.
United’s choice of meals were: chicken, meatless pasta or vegetarian… so I got the chicken. I think they must have gotten the food from another airline mixed up because this was acutally quite good. Better than some food I’ve had in business class actually.
Then my day got worse… I spilled my wine (a lot) on my new – like less than a month old laptop. I dried it out as best I could with paper towels and it still works….. Now I am glad I got the extra insurance on it.
After arriving in Chicago I breezed through customs and immigration, I’ve never gotten my bag that quickly at any airport except maybe Dubai. I got on the ‘L’ and went to Lou Malnati’s for pizza.
After the pie I walked to the lake and walked along it to the observatory where I got this nice shot of the Willis (Sears) tower. The sun would be in a better position in the morning, but it came out okay.
I walked up to the ‘cloud gate’ for a few pictures. (Buckingham fountain was still off for winter)
Then I took the ‘L’ train back to O’Hare. The first train was 6 minutes away and the next one was 7 minutes (1 minute later). Most everyone got on the first one…. I waited. The first one was packed and the train I got on was empty, which meant I could sit the entire way from downtown to O’Hare.
After going back through security I waited for my flight. When I got one I was worried my leftover pie would be burnt since the plane was so hot. Eventually the temperature got back to normal after getting in the air. I started to watch a movie, but fell asleep early in the flight.