We were able to sleep in today, Friday, because we didn’t have work. I’m flying out of PHL at six to go to the Dominican Republic so a few of the interns are planning a day trip to Philadelphia. I’m a bit sad because this is the last time I get to see several of the interns. Three are leaving next week, and I’ll be overseas, so it is a premature goodbye. We leave around noon since our ride had to work this morning. She was at work until midnight and went back to work this morning, sounds a lot like banking, yet she was able to take her first vacation with us to Philly! We arrived downtown around 2pm due to traffic and headed to south Philly for cheeseteaks. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Philly cheesesteaks, the two famous joints are Geno’s and Pat’s. She recommended Geno’s because Pat’s apparently does not cook their onions thoroughly. The cheesteaks were extremely delicious and for the first time I tried ketchup on my “whiz with.” (See orientation blog entry for explanation.) Due to time constraints they dropped me off at the airport immediately after.
I arrived at the airport around 3:30, well ahead of the recommended two and a half hour buffer for flights. Little did I know this wasn’t going to be enough. PHL is a nightmare. I spent about 30 minutes in line trying to check in my luggage. I usually would not check in luggage as I like to travel light, but I had promised I would bring several things for the long term interns in the Dominican Republic. After waiting 30 minutes my baggage tickets were printed out. Then I waited another hour and a half until it was around 5:20 due the horrible logistics and unmotivated staff at counter 52. Each of the employees were tasked to oversee about 6 different kiosks where they print out your luggage tag and check your passport then send you on your way. This lady for some reason did not follow that model. Instead she ignored 4 of her kiosk lines and only gave luggage tickets to those that were in her direct lines. Eventually people started moving over, but this created quite a queue. I eventually had to seek out another attendant to go over and take my luggage ticket because I was going to miss my flight. At this point I only had 30 minutes to get through security for my international flight. I was getting desperate, I didn’t want to miss my flight! Miraculously, I went to the security line further away from the US Airways kiosks and the line was fairly short. I breezed by and made it to my gate around 5:45, which would have been most likely the last call for my 5:55 flight. Luckily, my flight had been delayed coming in so I had a little time to relax and grab dinner. After getting on board, my flight was delayed another hour due to air traffic. I noticed a curious thing while on the plane, only one stewardess knew Spanish. The flight was predominantly Spanish so at times there was a language barrier. I would have expected airlines to place more Spanish speaking members on the flight, but I guess it isn’t a requirement. I’m currently blogging on the plane and am anxious to land. I’ve just filled out my visitors form and two of the interns are picking me up from the airport. I hope I haven’t caused too much trouble since my flight is delayed 1-2 hours from the scheduled arrival.
I’m scheduled now to arrive around midnight and we are planning a weekend trip to northern Dominican Republic where another of the interns went to high school. Then for the rest of the week I’ll be working out of the HOPE/Esperanza office in Santo Domingo. I’m planning to visit several clients and see some of the MFI strategic meetings so I should have some interesting updates soon. The attendants are calling to shut off electronic devices so I guess I’ll fill you in on the details when I get the chance!