New York, New York Part 1

As some of you know (or just found out), I recently got married. As common as it gets, I often was asked where I'll be heading off for our honeymoon. After months of preparation and planning, me and my wife opted for the US for our honeymoon, specifically New York City and DC for two weeks. Initially we planned on adding another US city, or Toronto as one of the places we were going to while there, but due to certain circumstances we decided to stay in those two cities (will get to that circumstances part later). This blog post though, will specifically be on my trip to New York City. There’s too much details to be shared and honestly, things can be too difficult to articulate and recollect. Lol.

Looking all pumped up and spirited at BWN

First Leg: BWN-KUL-DOH

It was my third time going to New York, and the first for my wife. Planning wise, I purchased the tickets early in the year for an affordable price (B$1250 per pax was a steal!) and were flying using Qatar Airways via Kuala Lumpur. We also opted for Airbnb and Booking.com for accommodations. Fast forward after the wedding, we left Brunei for KL on the 16th on a morning flight, and had a few hours there. Although we had plenty of time to spare we opted to check-in at the Sama Sama Express hotel to rest and kill time. Past layover experience taught us how tiring it is carrying backpacks all day, not to mention throughout our journey to New York, which was around 23 hours altogether. We killed time in KLIA roaming around the airport and visited numerous shops there. How I wished the airport had the luxuries and entertainment availabilities provided in Changi. Didn't take us long to return to the hotel and spent the remaining hours watching TV. So far it felt like being in Brunei all over again! By then it was 6pm and we were ready to check out. By 8pm, we boarded our flight and bon voyage!


Ready for Doha





The flight from KL to Qatar takes about 7 hours. All in all, the journey wasn't that bad thanks to the old sleeping pill. A tablet of sleeping pill, and I was off! Reaching Hamad International Airport, me and my wife were half drowsy (from the sleeping pills) and half sleepy (also from the sleeping pills). We were to spend our layover here for three hours (as per planned). The airport was quite new, to the point that they recently fitted those transfer trains, and they're so new its not for use yet. You can see the plastic covers on the seats. The choices of food, shopping and entertainment were night and day compared to that in KLIA (though still not at par with Changi). All was, it appeared, well, until..

While in Doha



Holding on

Hangry


I guess mentally we were prepared for this grueling hours of travelling. We knew that the journey would not be smooth-sailing as the itinerary indicated. To me, and all of you should keep this in mind too, that the itinerary is just a piece of paper detailing how a perfect flight would look like, not wanting us to know that in each leg of layovers you are about to embark on has every potentiality of this thing called 'delays', which resulted from a plethora of reasons.

Pretty much what happened to us in that second leg of the journey. All was well really in the beginning. We even got to our seats and was preparing for our flight to depart, until we were held for an hour in the plane "due to some technical issues that we need to fix as soon as possible" (as explained rather unassuringly by the flight captain). An hour plus had gone, the plane was still not moving, it just won't budge. We were evidently anxious, and from anxious we became desperate and eventually succumbed ourselves with annoyance and anger, raging deep inside of our still half drowsy and half sleepy souls. Finally, another announcement came on the PA system:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, due to the technical problems announced earlier, we will not be departing for JFK using this plane, as a result, we will be boarding on a replacement plane. We apologise for this inconvenience, and request your cooperation to disembark this flight.."

Waiting time to board the "replacement plane": Two hours.
Not to forget the one hour we spent in the original plane itself, total layover time spent in Doha stretched from three hours to now six hours. To add salt to injury was the fact that we had to go through another round of security checks, which involved taking your laptop out, your belts and shoes off. And of course the queuing. Oh the queuing!
Fast forward to the next two hours, when everything was ready, we boarded our flight (rather crankily) and off we went on our second leg to JFK.

Second Leg: DOH-JFK

I've never boarded the new A350 before. Upon boarding the plane, my oh my, the plane was so beautiful. I was surprised with the amount of spaces provided. The legroom was just so spacious. I felt that they created the plane all for the Asian's benefits (LOL), because I literally can stretch my legs. Thats not sweetest part about the Qatar Air's A350 though, the best part about it is that the flight is fitted with Wi-fi availability (free for the first 15 minutes), so you can actually surf the net or chat on Whatsapp during flight. This journey would take us 12 hours so another sleeping tablet downed for this one!

Inside the A350




Upon arrival at JFK, the signages and vibes became all too familiar, as if nothing much had changed since my last visit some 5-6 odd years ago. What was different however, was when we reached the immigration, which was slowly developing an anaconda line, if such reference exists, because the amount of people queuing there was just ludicrous. To make matters worse, there was only a couple of immigration officers to entertain each arriving passengers. It didn't take long for the queue to extend to the farthest end of the hall, and I'm assuming there are more coming. After a very very long time (read: two freaking hours!!) queuing (and standing no less), it was our turn and it was not one for the honeymoon memories!

To be continued...

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