When the luggage arrived, I loaded our three bags and my computer onto a trolley and headed for the taxis, but we were intercepted by a respecgtable looking fellow who offered to place us in a limousine. $59 and no toll fees. Further questioning... a cab is $49, but I did not feel like resisting, so off we went to a black Lincoln, parked close by, no taxi or limousine license showing, a suitably exotic appearing driver with a phone in his ear, and nearly unintelligible accent. Lin saw some dollars change hands, and we were seated in the limo for our trip. But the limo wasn't moving. Blocked by other limos and SUV's, it took 5 minutes to begin to move, and when we did, I heard a soft ripping sound just outside the right rear fender but we didn't slow for a moment. There was a New York exchange of compliments between the blockaded drivers and the roadblock.... but no gunshots were fired.
We drove and drove. The buildings began to get taller. It was 11:30 PM. The smokey windows blocked a really good view and it was warm so we lowered the window and it was New York, as promised, down 5th Avenue past a lot of expensive places, Henry Bendel, one fashion place after another, the New York Public Library, and then past the Courtyard's rear entrance, and on one way streets back in the right direction. Thankful for our arrival at the Courtyard Marriott, I unloaded our three suitcases, computer, Lin's carry on and we struggled up to the desk as our cab drove away.
Welcome to the Courtyard Marriott. No recognition of the name from the polite desk clerk. Oh.... there's another Courtyard Marriott on 40th Street..... ours is 4 blocks away. I hale another cab and load it up. This was a real cab. But no meter working. We go 3 blocks.... Lin couldn't have walked it, and the suitcases would have been too much for me. I asked, "How much?" I was expecting the worst.
"Enough for a cup of coffee."
"Huh?" Remember, this is New York at midnight and we're the Out of Towners, dropped off at the wrong hotel by a possible highjacker. "Take this and thanks!," handing a $10.
"Is this right," he said, almost fainting.
"Yeah, thanks. You sure saved us."
This Courtyard was waiting with open arms and we are ensconced in room 805. Cafe Charlie, open 24 hours a day, had a nice roast beef sandwich and after that, forgetting what $400/night buys in Manhattan, we went to sleep, in a room a bit smaller than the Larkspur Courtyard at half the price.... but no 5th Avenue and no Cafe Charlie for midnight snacks.
Back to Charlie's for a great bagels and lox breakfast and then a walk down to 5th avenue and a trip to Lord and Taylors, where I found a pair of shoes identical to the ones I've been wearing for the last about 10 years, with a price that went well with our room. Thank goodness for Charlies $6.25 lox and bagels.
Tonight, thanks to Lin's work, we're going out to a marvelous New York dinner, 8 PM, at Blondies' Sports Bar on 79th Street, via cab of course. There, we will watch the Notre Dame vs UCLA game while I contemplate what the money spent would have purchased in the way of tickets.... like on the UCLA bench, sitting next to the coach.
We are having fun.