I'm finally in Boston! Well, Natick to be precise, about thirty minutes west, where the main feature seems to be the massive shopping centre (Sylvia Park or Westfield Albany ain't got nothin' on Natick Mall) surrounded by tech companies in an industrial park environment.
But anywhere is better than being on a plane or stuck in an airport, as I have been for the past two days... Flight from Auckland to San Fran was a breeze, it even arrived earlier than expected, but if anything this worsened the pain of the ten hour plus wait that was to come before my connecting flight to Boston was to depart...
At SFO I whiled away the time by:
1) riding a complete loop of the AirTrain for no reason
2) window shopping everywhere, including the SFMOMA store
3) checking in my bags to my American Airlines Boston flight with a frustratingly unresponsive touch screen
4) managing to avoid the con artists at the 'free speech booth' trying to get 'donations' from you
5) having lunch at the San Francisco Soup Company in the foodcourt
6) later, having Cheetos and Snapple - Snapple was fine but Cheetos have a thing or two to learn from Twisties...
7) getting dinner from a sushi place, with some regret as three pieces were unexpectedly laced with chili - I managed to knock them back in quick succession and soothe my mouth with an avocado roll in the end
Things started to go wrong for my Boston flight when the plane itself arrived late at the terminal, so we were already half an hour delayed from the get go... not a biggie, until two hours in the captain announced we were to make a stop in Denver. The reason for this remained a mystery until after we'd landed and two medical personnel whisked the pilot himself away! Turns out he fell ill about an hour into the flight and decided landing was the safest option... What surprised me next was the reaction of my fellow passengers - mild annoyance and resignation. I suppose everyone is used to domestic flights being unreliable so expectations were already at rock bottom.
The only thing opened inside the airport at the time (and it was about 4am local time) was McD's, and queues quickly formed - I put my 'breakfast' off until closer to the rescheduled departure time of 7.30am local time, which was then they said they'd managed to get a replacement captain & crew. Ended up getting the Sausage & Egg McMuffin (of course), which was actually very delicious - sausage pattie almost as good as in HK (but not quite), but the egg was by far the best I'd ever had in a McMuffin. Next I suppose I'll have to try the McGriddle, but looks to me like the English Muffins have been replaced by blueberry pancakes, so... not too sure about that... The only frustration was my failure to get a cup of tea with my bfast combo, the server was either stymied by my accent or my request for a 'milk tea'. Whatever it was, ended up with a gigantic cup of black (filtered?) coffee about twice the size of your normal NZ cup, and only managed to scull it down after adding two creamers and three sugars. Yum!
When we FINALLY got to Boston it was a full six hours after our initial estimated arrival time. At least it was easy to get from the airport to Natick! Met James at the Logan Express bus stop, had a quick shower back at the hotel and then grabbed some lunch at the nearby mall. I'll be heading back there tomorrow to have a proper exploration of the shops while James finishes up the last of his work-related days.
Dinner was at TGI Fridays, which was not too bad except their barbeque sauce tasted mainly like tangy high-fructose corn syrup, but at least we got the smaller (i.e. normal) portion sizes. Tomorrow I'm looking forward to a proper New England Clam Chowder!