I got off the plane at JFK, and since I didn’t have any bags checked, I was able to just go right to the Terminal 7 where Iberia Airlines is. Apparently to get there you need to take this little shuttle thingy, but to get there takes a lot of walking. As I was entering the terminal, I heard my name being called over the loudspeaker – weird!! So I went to the nearest lady and asked her to help me out. She took my passport and went to consult with someone, who then ran over and said, “What are you doing out here?? Go through security!” Ummm, first off, I had an hour before they were even starting to board the flight. Secondly, how else would I get to Terminal 7 except for exiting Terminal 9 and taking the tram? Sheesh.
So I got shoved through security, and then I had a bit of time to wait before they started boarding. Finally I was on board, and sitting in a window seat, with one seat (the aisle seat) next to me. There was a screaming toddler and his family across the aisle. I knew they would be trouble. Then a big heavy man came over and put his bag down on the aisle seat. Oh crap, this was gonna be a long flight.
Luckily, he noticed no one sitting in the two seats in front of my row, and he asked the flight attendant if anyone was going to be sitting there. (Most of the flight had appeared to have boarded.) Amazingly, no one had booked those seats – so the large man sat there. Whew – crisis averted!!
We pushed off from the gate 15 minutes late, but then sat on the tarmac for the next 1.5 hours, since there was a lot of air traffic trying to get out of JFK. Urgh. Through the whole time (and the subsequent flight) the law of constants applied: there was always some child screaming or crying. At all times. During the whole flight.
I think I got 2 hours of sleep or so. Not really good, and while the melatonin I took before I tried to sleep has seemed to help shift my body clock, it still feels like I only got 2 hours of sleep!
The airport in Madrid is really nice. It’s relatively new (only about a year or so old) and has some very cool architecture. Lots of steel and glass, and large open spaces. It’s so big that it took a long time to get to Passport Control, including a substantive subway right. By the time I got picked up at the exit by Fernando, it had been 35 minutes since I got off the plane! We drove into the city, and he took me to the Hotel Tryp Ambassador, which is a very nice place. They even upgraded my room since the one they had for me wasn’t cleaned when I went inside! But now, I’m here and have arrived in Spain.