The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Sunday, June 20, 2004


My apologies for not posting much of late, but I spent the last week in Newark, New York, and Scranton. Sherry and I flew San Francisco to LAX to Newark on Tuesday and checked into a Ramada Inn near the airport. We spent Wednesday in Manhattan, seeing sights such as Central Park, the Metropolitan museum, and The Producers. Thursday we rented a car at the airport and drove two hours to Scranton. There we met up with my mother, sisters, and two very cute nephews. My sister Meredith got married on Saturday. This morning we drove back to Newark and flew through St. Louis. We landed in San Francisco at 8:45 and got home at 10.

Tomorrow I will post more about our trip. Right now I will make some observations about air travel:

Newark's airport has a bad reputation as an immense, lethargic, soul-deadening place. I did not find it so terrible. It looked reasonably modern, had some useful amenities, and featured a nifty elevated train to ferry passengers to terminals, parking areas, and rental car facilities. Newark's air conditioning did smell funny. So did our hotel. Is there some sort of foul-smelling coolant that is used only in the Garden State?

The St. Louis "Lambert" airport, on the other hand, is a vile dump. I have very low standards for airports. I don't care about their aesthetics; all I demand is that they satisfy these wants:


  • Decent restaurants for when I have time for a meal.
  • Decent fast food for when I don't.
  • At least one bar with good beer.
  • Good coffee.
  • Power outlets in gate areas for charging my laptop.
  • Terminals that are not too far apart, so that changing planes does not turn into a marathon.


St. Louis failed every one of these requirements. We arrived in Terminal C with an hour layover. The terminal map simply labelled the various shops as BAR, SNACK BAR, et cetera, giving the effect of a cheap board game. (Play "Stuck at Lambert" and see if you can spend the least amount of money on bad comestibles!) We moved toward Terminal B to see what they had, and found that we would need to run the gauntlet of airport security to get there. No thanks. So we went to a SNACK BAR which offered these choices:


  • Prepackaged cold triangular sandwiches. If God had meant for me to eat them, at least one of my mouth or my stomach would have three sides. Fuckers.
  • Hideous Pizza Hut single pizzas.
  • Hot dogs.


And all at an exorbitant price!

To add insult to injury, the flight to San Francisco was full, and when we boarded there was no space for our carryons. Fortunately San Francisco, which is a good airport, spat our carryons out of the luggage carousel in record time.



5 comments

5 Comments:

Hey Floyd,

I wonder if on your way to scranton you drove through the beautiful Pocono Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania? You probably took I-80 or I-84. If you took I-80, then you drove through Stroudsburg, my hometown. I guess if you made it in 2 hrs you didnt stop and see the sights, which is too bad, but i was just wondering how you like Northeastern PA through your car window?

By Blogger Micah, at 4:49 PM  

Hi Micah!

Yes, we did drive through Stroudsburg and the Poconos. The scenery is lovely, and for that matter so is Western New Jersey.

Unfortunately I don't get out to that area in the summer very often -- I've been to Scranton maybe eight times for Christmas, but only once in nice weather.

By Blogger Floyd, at 10:37 AM  

As a Pennsylvanian, I have to disagree with your assessment of "Western New Jersey"
As far as Pennsylvanians are concerned, all of New Jersey is hostile territory.

Surely New Jersey's reputation extends to the west coast?

By Blogger Micah, at 1:43 PM  

Hmm. I figured that mentioning New Jersey might be a problem. Did you read the part about Newark smelling funny.

Sop to Reader Micah: I am now afraid to visit Philadelphia because Bobby Abreu would steal everything that I own, including my contact lenses off my eyeballs.

By Blogger Floyd, at 11:45 PM  

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By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:16 AM  

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