Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mama Italiana: Numero Uno

Happy 2011!  Forgive me for being MIA lately.  For some reason I have no muse in Houston.  It's not like I even write about anything Edinburgh-ian when I am here, but somehow being away from my hometown turns on my blog material radar.  I also think it has to do with the fact that I am with the 9 people who actually read this blog when I am in Houston, so I just talk to you face to face instead.  It's just easier that way.  And more fun.

So instead of a boring recap of what we've been up to the past month (since you already know - except you, Jenni - miss you!), I've narrowed the blog posts down to a couple-three (that was for you Tay) to catch you up.  We'll go in chronological order...

It was a dark and stormy night (what?! It really was!) as we landed on the snowy tarmac.  I know, right? Yikes!  Except for the fact that we were flying to Frankfurt on Lufthansa - probably the safest airline to be on in those conditions.  I mean, those Germans?  Precision.  I have to admit though, I was a little freaked when I looked out of my double paned window as we were making our final descent and saw snow furiously blowing past so hard that Taylor leaned over and asked incredulously, "what is that?"  It was like we were in Star Wars  and those little white dudes were shooting at our spaceship (Lils and Lizzie would be very saddened by the poverty of my Star Wars vocabulary. Jason, you have trained your young Paduans well.).  Not ideal traveling conditions to say the least.  And for this timid traveller, not a great precursor to the 10 hour flight that lay ahead.

Anyway, back to Frankfurt with some back story first.  Taylor and I are not good with details.  I have said this before. Administration is not our gift.  You should see my desk right now. I would take a picture, but then I'd be embarrassed.  All of that to say, when we booked our flight back to Houston for Christmas Break, we called Continental, and let them do it for us.  Big mistake.  After a lot of rigmarole with making sure Seth's name on the ticket matched his passport, "Beth?  I thought you said he was a boy?," securing the bassinet seat at the bulkhead, " I wouldn't put my baby in one of those.  They're kind of flimsy," and avoiding any unwanted weather delays,  "New York in December is too risky," she connected us through Frankfurt instead. . .the day before we were to fly to Houston.  We didn't realize this until our flight confirmation was sent to us a few weeks before take off.  


So there we were knee deep in snow not on US soil where at least we would have been in the right country had we missed our flight, but in Frankfurt. Germany.  Where they speak German. Thank you Continental Airlines; we have learned our lesson.

Trying to stay positive, I remarked that if anyone could keep their airport open in a blizzard, it would be the Germans.  Unconvinced, we trudged down to passenger pick-up to catch our hotel shuttle.  At least we had already booked a hotel room.  We had opted for the Hotel Leonardo in town location instead of the airport location because since we were getting in at 4 pm and not leaving until 10 am the next morning, we might as well enjoy the city a little. Ahaha ahahaha ahahahahahaha.

On our way out to the shuttle pick-up area, we were accosted by a woman completely off her rocker who kept stepping closer to me saying, "your baby looks like a real baby not a toy. I love him."  Until her family noticed she was encroaching on my personal space and basically yanked her back to them.  

Bienvenidos a Frankfurt.  

Then, our shuttle never showed up.  


By now the snow is blowing even harder.  It's getting later.  It's getting darker.  It's getting closer to dinner time for Seth who is in angel-baby form just chillin in the Baby Bjorn looking around at all of the people, not making a peep (Seth, not the people).  Wearily, we try to find a telephone.  I spot an information booth, and Taylor quickly makes his way to an agent who calls our hotel.  No answer.  


After unconvincingly apologizing, information Hans dismisses us.  Now what do we do?

Taylor decides to change some pounds for euros to try phoning Hotel Leonardo from a pay phone himself.  First of all, ouch! 4 euro (and $9) later, still no answer.  


By now it is Seth's dinner time, the airport is swelling with people who have missed their evening flights due to weather delays, the pay phone lines are lengthening, hotels are filling to capacity all around the city, and I am envisioning us sitting on the cold floor of the airport, trying to stay awake all night so that a crazy lady doesn't steal my baby while I sleep.  


Seth, however, is still chillin.  Taylor and I?  Not so much.

We return again to information Hans to ask about the airport hotel.  It's the Sheraton and will be 150 euro.  Done and done.  Taylor was trying not to calculate 150 euros into dollars lest he pass out, and I was rejoicing that my baby would have a not only a safe place to lay his head, but a luxurious one.  


Walking across the sky walk to the hotel was like waking up from a bad dream.  We were so weary and the hotel was so posh.  Taylor got in the long line at the reservations desk, and I sat down to make Seth's bottle.  As he returned, I figured his grim face was due to the calculated exchange rate.  It wasn't.  He broke the news, "we're not staying here." 

"What!  Why not?  We decided!"

"359 euro."

That even shut me up.

"They jacked up the price due to the weather I guess.  I am going to try to call Leonardo again."

Thankfully the concierge desk didn't have a line, and the girl behind the desk was actually happy to help us.  Almost at once, she was off the phone with Hotel Leonardo,  telling us the shuttle would be waiting for us under the Sheraton porte-cochere in five minutes.  


Part Two will come later.  Don't worry, Mama Italiana will make her debut then.  She likes drama.  But for now, I think I have reached my word limit on Blogger for this post.  I hope you're not disappointed that there aren't any pictures, but I'm pretty sure I maxed that out on my last post.



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