Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas by Greyhound

We're back in New York after a lovely week in Ohio. And I do mean lovely. Although the week started out cold, it was 66 degrees on Saturday!

So much happened that I'll have to split my adventures into a few blogs. For now, I'll concentrate on the first 12 hours of my vacation: The Greyhound ride home.

I went straight to the Port Authority bus terminal near Times Square straight after work last Monday. No problem.

I had purchased my ticket online, but I knew I had to get a paper ticket at the terminal either at a kiosk or from a Greyhound employee. The first two kiosks I saw were broken, so I prepared myself for the long line.

I waited. And waited. I had plenty of time to look around-- and noticed that while one of the giant clocks on the wall displayed the correct time, the other was off by 16 minutes. Not very helpful for people trying to catch a bus.

Finally I got my ticket. "Which gate?" I asked. "Seventeen," I heard.

It was only then that I noticed more kiosks-- including a few that were, indeed, working.

No matter, I thought. I had about 90 minutes to spare, and Greyhound recommends the passengers arrive merely an hour before the bus departs. So I went off in search of Gate 17.

I found it, but I was confused. There was no mention of Greyhound anywhere. I looked at my ticket-- there was a 17 printed in the top left corner. But I looked at the envelope the lady at the counter handed me. Gate 70. Oops!

The room with Gate 70 was packed with Greyhound passengers all in separate lines. See, even if you buy a Greyhound ticket, you aren't guaranteed a seat. So evidently people get there early in order to have the best shot.

I was worried-- dozens of people were ahead of me. And to make things even more inconvenient (1) the room was cold because of the open doors allowing passengers to board the buses, (2) there were no seats in the room and (3) I couldn't go to the bathroom lest I lose my place in line.

Eventually an employee split all of us at Gate 70 into at least three lines for different buses, and I did get a seat toward the back of my bus. In fact, for awhile I thought I would have the entire seat to myself.

Alas, across the aisle was a woman with what appeared to be her teenage daughter. And this daughter had a giant stuffed dog the size of a 10-year-old. So the girl and her dog got a seat to themselves, while I shared a seat with the mom.

Nevertheless, the trip wasn't a bad experience. In fact, I really do look at it as an adventure. The people were nice, I got a bit of sleep, and the stops were on time. We even left New York 15 minutes early.

All in all, I'd do it again in a pinch.

1 comment:

  1. OH man. When Matt & I did the trip from Columbus to Philadelphia by Greyhound, it was AWFUL. Maybe that's because it was summer, though. I'd never do such a long trip by Greyhound again, unless I had nooooooo money at all.



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