We did so much today I forgot where today started: in Toronto. That might also be because the day started with a modicum of annoyance. We attended Toronto Pearson three hours before our scheduled departure time under the apparently false impression that we would be going through customs as usual. This was our second morning in a row we had to wake up at 4:00 am to catch a flight, so we were rather looking forward to getting through security, finding a spot near our gate, and grabbing a couple extra winks of shut-eye before boarding. Alas, that was not to be. After checking in and getting luggage tags we were directed to a waiting lounge. This is where all who are traveling to the U.S. are asked to wait until their flight time is called, after which we would be guided back through the terminal to go through customs. This presumably is set up to make the process go faster and smoother. If only. We were not called until an hour before our scheduled flight time. The que was amassed with bodies and luggage waiting their turn to go through. They led us in a huge line to customs where we again went through a que to obtain our automated check in receipts, then through another que to have the receipts, our boarding passes, and our passports edifice by a real person, then through another que to finally hand over our checked luggage (yes, that’s right, we’d been lugging our luggage around with us this whole time), then finally through security itself. By the time we got through security it was ten minutes past our scheduled boarding time. We rushed to the gate number on our boarding pass (you know, the one they issued to us three hours earlier) only to find out our gate number had changed to the other end of the terminal. On the rush to get to that gate we heard the final boarding call for our flight. Ridiculous. All said and done, we did make the flight, barely, no thanks to this new system of theirs. The flight itself was blessedly uneventful, although somewhat turbulent landing in Newark.
After a minor delay getting Dan’s luggage, we rented a car for the day and checked into our hotel, the Doubletree by Hilton Newark Airport (they got good cookies). Lunch in the Bistro, an update issue with our GPS rendering it useless on the east coast, a stop at Radio Shack for a USB car power port to plug my iPhone in so we could use it as our GPS without completely killing the battery, and we were on our way to Red Bank, New Jersey. Why, you may ask. Well, if you had read my previous travel blog Jessica’s and Maggie’s Sweet 16, you really wouldn’t need to. But since you do ask, Red Bank is home to Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash (stop making assumptions; it’s a comic book store) and nearby in Middletown is located the Quick Stop. The common link between theses two locations is Kevin Smith, of whom our family are big fans. Having already brought Jessica three years ago I could not very well allow the opportunity pass to bring Dan and Jarod. Unfortunately, Zak had no clue of the relevance of this part of the trip for us, but he was a trooper and put up with us.
We booked it back to Newark to try out an Italian eatery we randomly chose from Googlemaps and it really panned out. It was called La Sicilia Pizza and Cafe. Really great food with really reasonable prices.
We followed that with an obligatory stop at Walmart for a couple things, including looking for a new jacket for Zak. I failed to mention earlier that Zak realized just as we got to security in Toronto that he left his jacket in the waiting lounge. There was nothing of value with the jacket and It was far too late to go back for it, so we figured we’d just get him another one from Walmart. Walmart, oddly, had absolutely nothing suitable. This is when Zak turns to us with a thoughtful look on his face and says, “you know, it might be in my backpack.” That’s right, he had not actually looked in his backpack all day. It didn’t matter, though, because it wasn’t actually in the backpack. We’ll pick him up a jacket from the hotel’s gift shop tomorrow before we leave.
We ended the day watching Penguins From Madagascar while eating remarkably decadent cupcakes we picked up while in Red Bank earlier. We did pick up milk to go along with the cupcakes, which Zak found odd, but admitted did make the cupcake a bit better than normal.
I believe that is it for today. Looking forward to a good night’s sleep and not having to wake up at a ridiculous hour of the morning.