Friday, 2 August 2013

Trip to The Gathering, Rochester, New York 2013 - Part 1.

Leaving home.
View from the ferry looking back towards Fishborne on the Isle of Wight
So today I left home on the beginning of a journey to what I hope is to be yet another memorable trip in the world of lampworking. This time to visit The Gathering organised by the ISGB (International Society Of Glass Beadmakers). This is an annual event similar to The Flame Off held in the UK but this one is in the USA. Held in a different state each year this one is in Rochester in the state of New York.
The Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth.
I caught the 9am ferry from the Island and drove to Purple Parking where I left my car. I then caught the courtesy bus which took me to terminal 4 at Heathrow airport for my flight to the USA.  Apart from the traffic being a bit heavy on the M25, I made it to the airport in time for lunch. I've not been to this terminal before and wasn't particularly impressed. It is very long with lots of shops including a boots which was good because I left my adapter plug at home.
A map of where the restaurants were located would have been handy as I walked for quite a while in one direction only found one.  I asked someone in the end and had to walk back the way I came. I found somewhere the looked suitable and had a very tasty falafel burger and chips.  
The girl on the table next to me was from Australia and on her way home after a whistle stop tour of Europe. I didn't envy her 24 hour trip and couldn't believe it when she said she had to work the day after she got back!
On the plane.
My flight left on time and I was sat next to a couple of very nice american gentlemen. The gentleman next to me was a vegetarian and we got to discussing his food compared to mine. We came to the conclusion that the airline (in this case United) seemed to think that being vegetarian meant you had to be healthy. For example I had a hot beef and cheese roll with a packet of crisps and a chocolate whilst he had a cucumber and tomato roll with a packet of fruit. There was no reason why he couldn't have had the crisps and chocolate but they gave him fruit instead.
A bit of a nuisance, my entertainment system wasn't working properly, I could get sound out of one of my earphones as long as I held the plug intp the socket in a particular way. I managed to do this for one film - The Life of PI which I enjoyed very much but it was making my hand ache so I contended myself with reading after that. The flight passed fairly quickly and we were soon landing at Newark International Airport where I would catch my connecting flight to Rochester.
Newark International Airport
I had to collect my baggage and then go back through customs. I was dissappointed to find that my luggage strap which I had for years was missing. It was a present from my Auntie and Uncle and had my name on it and was very useful for spotting on the carousel. I did ask about it but there was no sign. I can make a claim online, maybe it will turn up but I don't hold out much hope.
I had a couple of hours break between flights and found an ATM so that I could withdraw my dollars as this was the cheapest way to get currency according to Money Saving Expert. Unfortunately the cashpoint decided that I couldn't have any money and I was starting to get a bit worried. How would I pay for a taxi to my hotel with no money? I knew I should have taken some Dollars with me but U listened to my husband instead of my common sense. There were lots of different options on the cashpoint terminal and I wasn't sure which was the right one to choose so I tried them all but it wasn't have any of it. I decided to try and see if I could find another ATM and try again. I tried withdrawing less money this time in case I was trying to withdraw too much and it worked. Relief wasn't the word for how I felt.
My flight to Rochester was only 1.5 hours in a small prop plane. It was raining as I walked out to the plane and apparently they have had a lot of rain in that area and I could see lots of flooding when I looked out of the window as we landed in Newark. I had read on Seat Guru that the plane was considered to be very noisy but didn't seem to be to me. We landed at 11pm NY time which was 4am in the morning to me, surprisingly I didn't feel too tired.
Rochester.... finally.
I found the taxi rank and was soon on my way to my hotel, I am staying at The Hyatt Regency and The Gathering is in the conference centre which is attached to the hotel.  At check in I find out that my credit card is declined. I have no idea why as I phoned the Halifax before I left and told them that I would be using the card abroad. I gave them a different card which worked ok.
Found my room and settled in for some sleep.

Part 2 coming up.

Thabks for looking.


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