Stranded! (or 9:58 p.m.)

After visiting MIT and meeting up with young Swiss researchers there, today’s program should have brought us to Blacksburg, Virginia. Well, it did not. Not only the educational pipeline is leaking but also the air traffic pipeline. At the moment, we are at probably the least exciting place in one of the most exciting cities worldwide: the Clarion Hotel at Laguardia Airport, New York.

Until 7 p.m. everything went all right. We flew from Boston to New York without any problem. (Maybe apart from me having to re-pack when checking in the luggage due to considerable overweight. Thanks to the help of my lovely GPP fellows, I made it to the flight without having to pay an extra fee of 90 USD. However, considering that this gain in weight happened mainly because of my shopping activities in Boston gives me a bad feeling about my next credit card bill.)

We were already prepared to board, when the flight got delayed several times. Due to the bad weather our plane was still somewhere else. Shortly before 10 p.m. we finally sat in the plane and were about to take off. However, it is a quite bad sign when the pilot starts an announcement with the phrase: “I hate to tell you”. The problem was that he had already worked for 16 hours today and flight safety regulations do not allow him to work more than that. (The odd thing about the regulation is that he would have been allowed to fly us to Virginia if we had taken off before the 16 hours had expired, that means before 9:58 p.m. This would have led him to a working day of approximately 18, in words eighteen, hours. Insane!) There might be some inconveniences, but I rather spend the night in New York than be flown to Virginia by a tired out pilot.

The title of my blog is an allusion to the 1996 R.E.M. album “New Adventures in HiFi”. And it was R.E.M. who wrote a song contributing to today’s soundtrack. “Leaving New York” (2004) with the chorus line: “Leaving New York is never easy”.