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Flying In and Frustrating First Day

Arriving Amsterdam


View 2018 Tanzania on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

View from the hotel room window

View from the hotel room window

We had the choice of connecting to the flight for Tanzania by going through London or Amsterdam. I decided to go through Amsterdam and to spend a couple of days there to get over jet lag. On the 30th after the flight I posted...

We are HERE in spite of everything

First the plane had no idea of my granddaughter's peanut allergy. They handed me a little container of nuts and I told them about it and that was the first they had heard.

Second - the canal cruise man said to tell on the day that we wanted the cruise and not the day before like Desiree said. To call the day before, we would have had to call from Houston.

Third good old Desiree gave us a photo of the place we were to meet the driver and it was totally the wrong place.
Meeting Place a la Desiree

Meeting Place a la Desiree

Fourth - the driver could not figure out how to get to the hotel. We finally got here after a series of illegal U-turns

Fifth-the hotel reservation was under Ann (my middle name). So when the scooter was delivered, they didn't have a reservation for Beasley and they sent it back

Sixth we could not get into our rooms until 2:00 - so we've been hanging around here since 10:30. [The hotel later said that at the time I made the reservation I could have asked for the room to be ready early and they would do that.]

They did deliver the scooter today and the hotel lent me a wheelchair until then. The scooter is HUGE and the hall is too narrow for me to get into the room easily. It is also very rabbity. The hotel people are pretty nice.

May 29 - Boarding

Bush airport (IAH) is totally disorganized for someone wanting a wheelchair. It took us half an hour to get one - well my daughter did it - I don't know how she persuaded the lady to take me as apparently she was after passenger #11 and I was passenger #19. I think the reason for the problem is that at Bush (and Heathrow), the airlines manage the wheelchair people and at Hobby (and BWI), it is the airPORT.
Waving goodbye

Waving goodbye


I took a photo of my daughter and granddaughter waving goodbye from the other side of the glass, and then the wheelchair lady took us up to the Lounge. We went all the way to the other end of the lounge because she wanted me to be near the food. Would have done better to be near the entrance as that is where the bathroom was. My granddaughter got me a sandwich, and I ate a banana that was in a bowl there and wrote the other email. Then I hobbled the length of the Lounge (which was Air France and KLM) and used the bathroom and asked for a wheelchair.
Sign in the lounge in George Bush Intercontinental Airport

Sign in the lounge in George Bush Intercontinental Airport


The lady called for one. But AGAIN it took half an hour for one to arrive. First we had to go down an elevator. There were four wheelchairs and they weren't letting us use the elevator. Then we went two at a time - we were in the second group. We got to the plane when they were halfway through boarding. So much for being FT (Fast Transit).

My granddaughter got on first as the wheelchair was stopped at the end of the ramp and I had to wait to go down.

The seats were nicer than the ones on BA except that you really could not see out of the windows even with a window seat. There was a space for a small backpack or pocket book under the footrest. The windows had internal shades so that you raised and lowered them by pushing a button, and there was a little cubby with a mirror which was big enough for my camera, so I put my camera vest, cane and computer bag in the overhead and they took my coat for the coat closet. There was a plug for a computer and also a USB port.
Cranberry juice, plugging in phone and button to auto darken windows

Cranberry juice, plugging in phone and button to auto darken windows


The only problem I had was seeing out the window. When we sat down they were dark and could not be changed. I couldn't change them until after we had taxied a ways.
Raising the shades on the porthole

Raising the shades on the porthole

George Bush Intercontinental Airport

George Bush Intercontinental Airport


The other thing was when I reclined, I could not wear the seat belt.
Parking lots taking off from Bush

Parking lots taking off from Bush


We had hot towels and drinks while the plane was loading - water for us - In glasses
First the plane had no idea of my granddaughter's peanut allergy. They handed me a little container of nuts and I told them about it and that was the first they had heard.

They checked and there was nothing on the manifest. My granddaughter did not get the nuts as they gave them to me first.
Granddaughter in her seat across the aisle

Granddaughter in her seat across the aisle

Screen on the plane showing time remaining after the first half hour

Screen on the plane showing time remaining after the first half hour


They were very salty. They served us dinner pretty much right away.
Dinner menu

Dinner menu


I had the lobster on hearts of palm salad with mango miso dressing. I liked the lobster part (3-4 lobster rounds). The rest not so much. My granddaughter didn't get any salad.
lobster on hearts of palm

lobster on hearts of palm


For dinner we both got the chicken - Parmesan stuffed chicken with toasted faro grains, sauteed garlic spinach and sun dried tomato. I ate most of the chicken.
Chicken dinner

Chicken dinner


For dessert they had lemon meringue tart which the flight attendant kept calling Marin-gay. I didn't know what she meant at first.

My granddaughter occupied herself - we couldn't really talk very well across the aisle. The plane was noisy and it was a bumpy flight. I settled down to go to sleep and at one point I thought I was sleeping on a train because it was that kind of bumpy. I slept some. My granddaughter said she just 'rested'. I was afraid that the bumpy flight would scare her, but she didn't seem to be fazed.

May 30 - Frustrating First Day

I tried to take photos of the sunrise - I could only see it out of the window past where my feet were and sort of sideways.
Sunrise from the plane

Sunrise from the plane

Breakfast menu

Breakfast menu


They gave us breakfast - I had the cinnamon bread pudding
Breakfast on the plane

Breakfast on the plane


and my granddaughter had the Egg Strada with mushroom, turkey bacon and Swiss cheese. Just before we landed they brought around the ceramic houses for us to each pick one and my granddaughter also got one that someone else had left behind. I thought it was foggy when we came in, but it was just mist on the windows which the internal blinds did not wipe away.
landing - mist on the window

landing - mist on the window

Schiphol airport

Schiphol airport


They came and got me in a wheelchair and we went up into the terminal where they put us on a cart. But the cart lady said children could not ride on the cart!!!. But she let my granddaughter ride on it anyway. First we took another lady to her next flight to Glasgow

Then we went through immigration and our passports got stamped. We got our bags - they came through almost first. The wheelchair lady got a luggage cart - one of those where you have to push down on the handle to make it move. The my grandsons could do this easily as they were tall and just had to lean on the handle a little. My granddaughter had to use some muscle.

Good old Desiree gave us a photo of the place we were to meet the driver and it was totally the wrong place. The wheelchair lady called and found the right place
The instructions said to go to #2 Arrivals. There was a photo with an arrow. So we went there. But there was, of course, no one there as you can't WAIT there. So the wheelchair lady talked a long time in Dutch on one of our phones, and we had to go all the way back through the airport and down the elevator to the Departures area where we found our driver at the Red Cube meeting area where Bob and I met the guy in April 2016 for the Tulip Cruise.

The driver could not figure out how to get to the hotel. We finally got here after a series of illegal U-turns
ibis hotel from across the canal

ibis hotel from across the canal

tower next to hotel

tower next to hotel


We would see the hotel in the distance but could not get there in a car. We finally got there and unloaded about 10:30. But when I gave them my name, they did not have a reservation for me because...

The hotel reservation was under Ann (my middle name). So when the scooter was delivered, they didn't have a reservation for Beasley and they sent it back

They gave us a wheelchair and we went up to the breakfast room where I had two rolls and some juice. My granddaughter said she was not hungry and I wasn't really either. Then I used the bathroom. The bathroom is in Room 101 opposite the restaurant. They took our luggage and called to ask for the scooter to be re-delivered. My granddaughter wouldn't sit down - she persisted in dancing around in front of the automatic doors which made them open and close.

we could not get into our rooms until 2:00. I was feeling a bit nauseated by then.

After I got the scooter but before we could go to our room, I called the canal boat people and made a reservation for the 4:00 boat. We also went next door to the Central Station and I changed $40 to euros so we would have some if needed.

Next problem the scooter is a big ass scooter and it barely fits in the elevator.
large_19b77d00-7502-11e8-8b06-633ba35671f0.JPG
For the doors to close I have to bump the rear wall. And when we get to our room, there is a door to the hall before we get to the door for the room and the doors are offset. The hall is too narrow to turn the scooter in. It takes inching back and forth until we get the scooter into the room. With the bell man's help I got it turned around and parked by the desk pointing out And we plugged it in. But I can't tell when it is charged. There are no directions with it.
Granddaughter on her bed

Granddaughter on her bed


So pretty much as soon as my granddaughter sent a text, she lay down and went right to sleep. I waked her up about 3:10 because the directions said it was a 34 minute walk to the canal cruise terminal.
Canal Cruise

Canal Cruise


It was a little more than that at people walking speed. Plus I had to keep asking directions. We got down to within about 3 blocks of the place on Prinzengracht. It was supposed to be opposite the Hard Rock. And we could NOT find it or even the street it was on. The map did not have enough detail at the end. We spent a good hour and 40 minutes looking for it. At one point I got ahead of my granddaughter and she lost me, so she called me on my phone and I backtracked to where she was.

I saw a Burger King and thought we might eat there (My granddaughter said she was hungry now), but there were 10 or 11 steps up,
Burger King from Pancake House

Burger King from Pancake House


so we stopped at the Pancake House across the way.
Pancake house menu

Pancake house menu


She had an English breakfast (two fried eggs, sausage, bacon,toast and beans). She ate the sausage and the yolk of the eggs.
English breakfast

English breakfast


I had a pizza of which I ate one slice.
My pizza

My pizza


I put the other 3 slices in a takeout box along with her toast and the bacon. I figured when we woke up at 4 am and were hungry, we would have something to eat.

Now to get back to the hotel. I asked a policeman in a van how to get to Central Station which is right next to the hotel and he said "Follow the trolley tracks" Duh Of course. So we did that. Well it wasn't that easy. I didn't want to be on the bike path because my granddaughter was walking, but there were not always cut-outs on the sidewalks. It involved considerable back and forth trying to find a place I could cross streets. It started to rain a little bit before we got back.

If I am not absolutely straight to go into the elevator, the scooter hits a back wheel on the door. My granddaughter managed to get me through the room door but I was too tired to try to turn the scooter around. She wrote in her diary and then went to sleep. It is 1:30 am Amsterdam time here right now. I slept until about 11 and then I got up and had a shower
Hotel bathroom

Hotel bathroom


and ate another slice of pizza. And I'm going to go back to sleep now.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 11:42 Archived in Netherlands

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