Today I found out how honest Americans can be.
I had this plan to leave on the day after SXSW so I wouldn't have to rush out of Austin. Due to flights and connections, however, my first flight meant I had to leave the Hotel early in the morning so no lying in nor leisurely start to the day for me after all: I was flying out of Austin to New York, via Dallas Fort Worth Texas and had to start that journey at 7:25am.
Dallas Fort Worth is a very large airport that requires a monorail/train to get between terminals. It is all so very well signed too and I managed to get myself where I needed to go. I found myself waiting at the correct Gate, which had a local Starbucks and plenty of seats.
Texas seems very generous with their power points both in Austin and Dallas, so I plugged my laptop into the closest one and started figuring out how to get online. A guy dropped by from American Airlines and gave me a discount card for on-board wifi. The flight to Dallas also offered internet connection from on-board the aircraft, but I needed a snooze more than I need anything else. This time, I thought, the longer flight up to NYC might be nicely spent Googling, blogging and generally schlepping around online. And from on-board a flight: how very 21st Century!!
I logged onto the site and attempted to purchase a short-term account to see me good for the flight. Needless to say, it didn't work - my card wasn't accepted and it was all a bit odd and I gave up and closed my laptop remembering I had a very good book that needed reading during the flight after all.
I puttered around for a bit, had a bite to eat, then went to the bathroom - returning to the Gate just as the boarding of the aircraft began. After a little bit, my name was called over the intercom and I was asked to come to the check-in desk. This had happened a few times with my connection flights. They have a lot of stand-by customers, and my tickets and boarding passes had been confirmed ahead of time so they seem to like to check I'm actually in the terminal and still require a seat.
When I got to the counter, however, I got the fright of my life as the Policewoman standing there was holding my credit card. "Holy crap!" I said "where did you get that??" She said it was found in the bathroom, on the floor, and I was very lucky to be getting it back because she had seen some shoes she really wanted in the store down the road. Apparently someone had picked it up from the floor of the very busy restroom, and had handed it to the Policewoman. I was very grateful, and somewhat surprised - and while I think I was pretty lucky, I have been told since that generally, American's are very honest - except for the actual dishonest ones.
I arrived at La Guardia airport, New York around 5pm, and found Kiki outside waiting for me as promised. It was so lovely to see her again - both of us worried that after 10 years we wouldn't recognise each other, but there was no problem - people never really change, do they.
After dropping off my bag at her place, and meeting her two dogs Riley (big black Labrador) and Bailey (long-legged Jack Russell), we popped up the road to one of Kiki's favourite restaurants.
Home Made in Red Hook, Brooklyn offers biodynamic and organic wines by the glass, as well as off-the-beaten-trail beers on tap. The other patrons were friendly, Home Made is hosted by the charming Monica and Leisah it was the coziest, loveliest most declicious end to a day of traveling and a great beginning to my New York adventure.