Cortlandville, NY and How I Got There

Last time I said my next post would be coming from Ithaca, NY. I’m afraid that’s not going to be true, for I am blogging right now from Cortlandville, NY, an even smaller town than Ithaca. It turns out all the hotels in Ithaca are booked up due to the influx of students, so we’re staying about 20 miles away in Cortlandville.

Anyways, the last 24 hours or so have been somewhat hectic. Back in Austin, around 11 pm, I was trying to print something that just didn’t print. After restarting the computer and printer several times, still nothing happened. I ended up using another laptop (which was already packed, but had to be unpacked) to print it successfully. This wasted an hour.

From midnight to 1 am, I couldn’t really sleep. I reminisced over Austin and the people I have met, and would not see again for some months, or at all. This ended with me pulling out the Westwood yearbook and looking through the all signatures one last time before departing. Of course that didn’t cover all of you, but I was finally able to sleep.

Wake up at 4 am. Say some goodbyes to my room and our house, and leave for the Austin airport at 5 am. The plane left at 7 am. By the way, the route was Austin to Charlotte to New York (La Guardia) to Ithaca. That was easily explainable: Charlotte is a hub for United Airways, and Ithaca is, well, in the middle of nowhere, so only a few regional flights could connect to it.

Austin to Charlotte in itself was very nostalgic. Before Austin, we lived in Greenville, SC, and it the first time since September 2000 that I had stepped foot in one of the Carolinas, even if it was only an airport.

And also, my seat neighbor on the flight happened to be a Dartmouth graduate who had studied physics, math, and compsci. Guess what I listed for my top 3 choices for major on the CommonApp? Yep: physics, math, and compsci, though with math and compsci before physics.

It was actually somewhat awkward, because we didn’t start talking until halfway through the flight. She and I were both kind of napping the first half. Anyway, there was a flight attendant fail moment during landing, when electronic devices are to be shut off. The Dartmouth girl had a Kindle, and when a flight attendant came over to us, she told her to shut down the Kindle. The catch was, the Kindle was already shut off. The screen just displays text regardless.

We didn’t have much time in Charlotte, so we just moved on to the next flight, to New York La Guardia. That trip wasn’t as interesting, other than that there was a Princeton graduate sitting next to me. Jeez, why do I have to be put next to Ivy graduates?

(By the way, the Princeton guy snored while he was napping.)

But it gets better. It was the third flight, New York to Ithaca, that was the most surprising. My neighbor appeared at first to be just an old lady, but she revealed herself to be the mother-in-law of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell. Out of the seven undergraduate colleges at Cornell, that’s the one I’m going to. And I get to hear this dean speak in a few days at Convocation.

We had a really interesting conversation. The flight had a scheduled boarding time of 5 pm and a departure of 5:30 pm. Due to delay, we boarded at 5:45 pm. She told me that United Airways fails like this a lot when going to Ithaca. At about 6 pm, they suddenly come in and say that one person needs to leave this plane and board the next plane, at 9:59 pm, due to weight restrictions. They offer a $200 stipend.

One man makes a bold self-sacrifice, but a few minutes later, the gods are still unsatisfied, and demand additional tribute. After about 10 minutes of asking and getting no response, the flight attendant threatens that this plane can’t go anywhere until someone leaves. Finally, two women make the ultimate sacrifice, and leave the plane.

It is about 6:10 pm. The plane starts moving, and after maneuvering the runway for a while, it STOPS. No problem, we’re just waiting for a few planes in front of us to go, right?

At 6:40 pm, with the plane still on the ground, the pilot announces that it is “rush hour” for aircraft traffic and that when we entered the queue, we were 25th. Wait, what? TWENTY-FIFTH. Jeez, so we had to wait for 24 planes to depart ahead of us. In this same announcement, the pilot assures us that since then, most of the planes have left, and that we are in the top ten, and that it would take at most another 10 minutes.

At 7 pm, the plane finally leaves the ground, a full hour-and-a-half after scheduled time. In the meantime, the old lady and I (actually, it was mainly her) were bashing United Airways. Oh yeah, it was also a propeller plane, not a jet.

The pilot announces that the estimated flight time was 42 minutes. Haha.

At about 7:45 pm, we land in Ithaca. The airport is rather small. It’s a brick building with two terminals. Yes, two entire terminals.

We get our rental car and drive to this Ramada hotel in Cortlandville, where I wrote this post. The drive was fairly uneventful, and it turned dark very fast, so I can’t yet comment about the scenery. But I will say, there are a lot of trees!

Tomorrow (or rather, today, given that it is already early morning), we will be visiting Ithaca and the Cornell campus, one day prior to Orientation. I’ll keep ya posted!

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