Fairbanks – enroute to Seattle, USA
14.09.2011 - 14.09.2011 14 °C
Has anyone been to North Pole? No, not THE North Pole, but the township that has adopted the name North Pole. To finish off our happenings for day 14, it went like this.
Having bought a shuttle bus ticket with the Princess line that allows you to travel between the lodge and the city for the day, we travelled into town and found our way to the transit centre where we purchased a ticket on the green bus ($3 return) bound for North Pole. It was necessary to present ID to use the toilet at the terminal, and they held my passport until I came out!! That should have warned us of what was ahead but sometimes you do things to save money, especially when the cash is getting low. The bus finally left and our experience with the local yokels began. We travelled for 30 minutes, here, there and everywhere until we finally were deposited at Santa Claus’ house. Between leaving the transit centre and arriving at S.C.House, we encountered not Alaskan wildlife but “the ferals”. I felt quite uneasy and couldn’t wait for our journey to end. It was disappointing at the S.C.House as well as things were dearer than what we had seen at the ports on the way up. So we bought what we wanted and went back out and waited for the EXPRESS bus to come back and rescue us. Boy I was pleased to be back to civilisation. We could have spent between $50 to $70 and gone by taxi. Put it down to experience.
We decided to return to the Fudge Pot for some salmon chowder and a sandwich for lunch. Following that we strolled around a park in the centre of Fairbanks which houses some great brass monuments and the visitors centre. The Princess shuttle bus arrived and we were soon back at the lodge and ready to take the shuttle to Fairbanks International Airport, even though it was a domestic flight!!
Firstly we had to pay $20 for each checked bag. Then the Visa card wouldn’t work. Once we had our boarding passes we proceeded to the check in. Now, they weighed our bags and we had 12 pounds of excess luggage – gee we have had fun shopping!! The option was to try to reduce the weight or pay the price. We chose the latter. It’s a worry to think we still have 2 weeks of travel and new currency to spend!!
Now if that wasn’t enough, they confiscated my wash liquid which I had inadvertently packed into my carry on. There goes the budget. They also were going to take my igloo ornament but fortunately it wasn’t a snow one with liquid. Ross was tested for explosives because he buzzed through checkpoint Charlie. Finally we passed security and we were allowed through.
That was the prelude to a great flight. Well, not quite. Somehow one of the locals escaped and was allowed on the plane. Apparently she was squashed where she had been allocated to sit so once the plane levelled out she asked the hostess if she could move. Unluckily for the chap and the girl across the aisle, there was a spare seat there. We were on the last two rows at the back of the plane. The chap had hearing aids so he was able to turn them off so that he didn’t have to suffer her rantings. I don’t think I have time to explain the entertainment we experienced for three hours. All I hope is that the lady who was sitting beside me (the wife of the gentleman across the aisle) submits a formal complaint. We were quite concerned that she may have totally lost it but we landed without too much trouble. Pressure in my ears nearly killed me when landing.
Our flight arrived in Seattle at 10.20 pm. We found our luggage and we cleared the airport around 11.15pm. (we did lose and hour) The shuttle that was to take us to the Grand Hyatt in the downtown area actually dropped us at the wrong Hyatt but fortunately it was a short walk around the corner to find where we had our reservation. I think they must have given our room away as the manager asked if we would be OK to take a suite room and then they would move us the following day. We were on the 30th floor and the view was quite spectacular. It was about 1pm when our spaghetti bolognaise and chicken fettuccine was delivered to our suite from a local Italian restaurant. It was delicious as we were quite hungry. Finally got to bed. As Daniel said, "So you're sleepless in Seattle?"