As the title probably makes clear I have returned from my vacation, well really I returned Sunday afternoon but with unpacking, jet lag and some caching up with friends this is the first chance I have had to sit down and write about it. As some of you may know I went to upstate New York with mom to visit the area that she grew up in and to meet relatives, which was exciting for me because the last time that I had been back out east to meet mom's side of the family was before I was 5. So for me even though I had meet most all of these relative (with the exception of those born way after my last visit) I did not remember meeting them. That and getting to see the different places that mom talks about from when she was a kid.
So my vacation started last Saturday when we headed down to Seattle for the night, to stay in what turned out to be basically the hotel from hell, where our car would be parked for our trip and we would be shuttled to and from the airport. There is already a previous post that details some of what was so horribly bad about the place, but I think the clearest illustration is the fact that when you walked on the carpet in the room (which house keeping had already "cleaned") you stuck to it! The room and the hotel where no doubt the preferred hang out of not only those into drugs, but also those straight out of prison. (no doubt for the same thing and worse) Needless to say with one of the locks on the door broken and missing and just a wooden dowel holding the windows from coming open (and from the looks of thing for at least one out of their tracks) nether of us slept hardly at all that night, with the slightest commotion or noise enough to jolt our uneasy rest.
Luckily 3:30 am came quickly (although not soon enough) and it was time to get up and get ready for the long day of flying ahead. (although a nice shower was out due to the horrendous state of the tub/shower) We where then but 4:30ish finale we where in line at airport waiting our turn to "check in" and get our boarding passes from the lovely machines, as well as check our one cray on bag, after that it was the customary trip threw security which surprisingly went quickly and efficiently. Then hop on the little train thing to the concourses our gate was on. Then it was just a matter of waiting for the plane to board, and in the mean time finding a place to grab a bite to eat and pick up a copy of the days paper. Evenly around 6 o'clockish am we where on the first of our two flights that day, the flight from SeaTac to Chicago O'Hara. A flight that went by smoothly and with absolutely no delays, although It would have been far more enjoyable had the passenger in the seat ahead of mine not recline theirs full force down into my knees.
We arrived in Chicago with a little over an hour to catch our connecting flight to Albany, which was a good thing seeing as our departing gate was clear on the other side of the airport, and to get to it you have to "run" up the arriving concourse to the backside of the front of the airport (just behind all the security screening points) and then run along the front of the air port till you finally get to zip down the concourse that your departing gate is on. Something that would have probably taken much longer had it not been for the portions that where lucky enough to have the "moving sidewalks" so that you can basically double your speed with out having to try to run and weave threw people. The flight to Albany was probably the most interesting and my most miserable flight ever. Not only was it on a little "hopper" jet something that I now despise, as to a nice extent I'm mildly claustrophobic and there is nothing like a jet the when you stand in the isle your head nearly touches the celling and it feels like your shoulders could easily catch the over head bins to make you feel claustrophobic. Then add to that some one having switched seats with where you where supposed to sit. although they where a nice mother and son, so having to take a different seat, unfortunately the person in the seat next to it was a total A hole. When I informed them that I was the person in the seat next to them and wanted to get to it, they made no effort to get up, forcing me to try to climb over them at which point they decided that verbally insulting and being demanding to me and saying I was an idiot was the right way to handle things. Then even once I was seated they kept at it. They got even more pissed when I told them that "dealing with people in civilized polite manner will get you very different results" and that I did not care to talk with them. Unfortunately they insisted on interrupting my trying to read a magazine as I was pissed and sick of them, until I told them that they could go F them selves for all I cared. It was not till the prissy baby called a flight attendant that I manged to get reseated by blowing his grade school shocked act out of the water and complaining that he had been verbally abusive since I first tried to take the swooped (by the time I got on the plane) seat, and some one else decide to sit next to the douchebag of the month. Luckily that flight too also arrived on time , and buy late afternoons eastern time we where in Albany.
Sunday we did not do anything after we arrived but relax as it had been a long day on very little sleep and for me a very stressful one at that. However the rest of the week was pretty busy and fun! To start with on saturday we (mom, my grandparents and a cousin) drove up the Lake George (NY). There we (mom, my cousin and I) went threw the different little shops that are located in the town, as well as going on one of the hour long history cruses of the lake. The curse was really cool because it pointed out some different mansions along the lake with many of them being owned by famous people from history, especially those involved in NY politics and finance!! It also detailed a great amount of the history that has taken place on the lake, which was an active part of the french and Indian wars. After that we then when to one of my uncles houses where I got to meet some relatives.
Tuesday we (mom, my cousin and I) went to Saratoga Springs (NY) where we also went threw the different shops looked around, there I picked up a shirt for my brother and a box form the Irish store with a Celtic cross on the top for me, as it was perfect for putting my rings in when I'm not wearing them so they don't get lost. We then also went and had some frozen yogurt at Plum Dandy which was really good! After that we went to the Auto Museum located in Saratoga Springs Sate Park, which had a really cool "woodies" display rotated in at the time, and then up states was a net exhibit on the different cars and auto makers of NY state as well as NY state race car drivers. After we had finished with the museum we then went to the Saratoga Battlefields where we got to take a tour and see the battlefields them selves where the newly formed American military had its first victory forcing the British to surrender, finally helping to convince France support the Americans in the revolution!! It was very net to be standing on the same ground and seeing the same land that both the British and the American forces fought on way back in 1777!
Wednesday we (mom and I) went to the NY State Museum in Albany, which was really cool, they had a whole exhibit on the history of Albany it self with all sorts of archaeological artifacts that have been uncovered that showed how people lived in the area for many yeas all the way back to the native Americans! We then went into the exhibit on the industrial history of the state which was cool, fallowed by the exhibit on the different minerals found in the state of NY which had on display many very cool and very pretty minerals from all over the state, all shown by the different regions with in the state they the came from. We then went on to the exhibit on the early inhabitants of the state (the native Americas) which tracked them from the Ice age to around the time of the first settlers!! After that was then the exhibit on the National guard in NY state from its formation threw to present. There was then a whole exhibit on the history of living in NY city, which also showed the changing architecture of the city and explained how it in part came to be and look like it dose today. Next there was the most powerful exhibit, the exhibit on 9/11 that had many artifacts from small things that survived in the ruble up to a half burnt out fire again and a very larger (about 1 and a half story) piece of the outer wall of the trade center it's self, as well as the different ways that people showed their support in the immediate aftermath of the disaster for those that had been directly touched by it. After that deeply moving exhibit we then moved on to see the birds exhibit where mom pointed out the blue Jay and Cardinal to me as both are birds I had not seen be fore and particularly the Blue Jay because it looks nothing like the Stellar Jay that dad says it dose. Finally we went to the top floor to see the car of President Theodore Roosevelt that they had on display.
After the NY State Museum it was on to the Schaniconty Aerosciences museum, where we got to see not only exhibits on the history of flight, but also exhibit on the maned space program and moon landings! The museum was full of interesting displays that not only focused on the technological advances but the people who helped to push flight to where it is today. Then there was also a whole exhibit on fighter jets that have had a big impact on the history of military aviation.
On Thursday mom and I went back up to Lake George to visit Fort William Henry (to be precise the reconstructed fort) which as some (many) may know was a prominent sight of battle during the French And Indian wars. The fort had a really neat tour that included the firing of a canon as well as musket! It was net to find out that when the fort was engaged by the french, it was as part of a plan to try to sever the northeaster colonies from the rest by using the Hudson river. The plan was to take out all the British forts along the Hudson, but Fort William Henry had to be taken out first. Unfortunately for the French the resistance put up by the fort was so strong that even though the British ultimately had to surrender it, the French has spent so much time and materials trying to take it they had to give up on their ultimate plan of attacking all the forts down the hudson river and retreat back to Canada them selves. After finishing up at the fort we then went into town to go look threw the rest of the shops that we had missed the first time round.
Friday we (mom grandma and I) went to the Casino at Saratoga (its attached to the race track) where we played for a while. (not quite my cup of tea) After words we when to another of my uncles houses where I got to meet some more relatives and we had a BBQ dinner, unfortunately it absolutely poured down rain up until the time where where actually getting ready to leave. Then where we got back to grandmas a who bunch of relatives that I did not rember ever meeting came over and I got to meet them which was quite exciting!
Saturday was the only day where we did not do any thing instead it was a day sort of "relaxing" as we packed and got ready to leave the next day. Sunday we where up at 3:30 to get ready and out the door by 4:10, which was a good thing even though our flight left at 7:30 because the ticket check in process to while in part do to needing to swap seats on our second flight (do to the fact it had me seated in row towards the front of the plain and mom all the way in the back. something that simply would not work well) then it was off to go threw security which even though it went well took forever with more screening stations opened then Seattle had when we flew out!! The first flight was a nice short one to Newark, NJ. It was on a nice sort of wide body turbo prop plain, and the flight was only about 35ish minutes in the air, I swear it spent more time taxiing then it did actually in the air. our connecting flight to Seattle was nicely located in the same concourse as our arriving flight. Luckily we both got on the flight as enough people has volunteered to go standby on the next flight seeing as the airline had overbooked the flight! This was the longest flight of them all being directly from the east coast to the west, it was also not a perfectly comfortable one as my seat was a middle seat wedged between two strangers, one of home had no real concept of personal space and kept taking up mine while on his laptop! we landed at about 12ish local time and finally arrived home at around 2:30 pm!
I really enjoyed my trip and would like to do it again at some point in the future, although I would prefer not to fly, unfortunately that's the only real practical way to get from hear to there. I do hope that that Dad means what he told mom when she asked him about him possibly coming out next time with us in that he would really like to take the family (back) to San Fransisco, as it would be so nice to go there and see the different sights that I am always toward I saw when I was baby and my parents took me to see them. Ether way though I have also come to the conclusion that 3 years is way to long to go with out a vacation and that even if its just with in the state or just staying home I should take some time off each year.
As always thank you for fallowing me, and your comments questions and feedback our always enjoyed and very much appreciated.