Thank goodness for boyfriend clothes. And the fact that i fit into his.
Early the next morning, we gathered our stuff (after another hot shower and a good breakfast downstairs) and i wore some of his clothes. We went back to the airport, to the lost baggage office.
I scanned the suitcases in the office and the ones outside in the security sections, but my ERS was nowhere.
I spoke to yet another person at the desk, and he said that Atlanta was having huge delays as an enormous storm was rolling in over this side of the country. I asked if they even knew where it was right now – it had not even been scanned in Atlanta.
I was, once again, furious. My ERS had made it all the way from the damn tip of AFRICA, through Frankfurt international, on to another plane, and all the way to Atlanta. And now it was lost in the domestic section. And they had NO IDEA where it was in the airport.
I got offered another breakfast voucher (woohoo.) and told that they could offer compensation up to a whopping $25 for my belongings. I asked if he was joking with me. He wasn't. Thankfully, the lady I had spoken to the previous evening arrived at that point and said that I just needed to keep any slips for clothing and gifts (she knew the whole story about my wedding gifts and clothes and Christmas presents being in that ERS) and I could (most likely) claim it back later.
I gave them all the details of where I would be for the next few days, and my eventual address in New Mexico. I had no cellphone number to give her, as my man's phone was from Germany, and we hadn't had a chance to buy a prepaid one in the States yet.
That wasn't high on our list of things to do. Well, it hadn't been until then.
We gave her the hotel number in Princeton and she promised to let us know as soon as it arrived. She said they would send it to the hotel, if it arrived during the next few days.
That was all we could do.

We then went to see about getting a car to hire, for the drive to Princeton. Luckily my man always takes his GPS with him! He's always prepared!
While hiring our car, the lady asked if we wanted 4X4 capability and we were going to say no, but then we were told that apparently that rather large storm that had closed Atlanta, was now heading this way and there would be snow for the next 3 days at least… so we hired a rather nice SUV with 4X4. It was rather snazzy, with satellite radio and i think it had seat warmers. But we didn't use them, as we were NOT cold (as i mentioned – when i'm around him, i generate heat enough to warm a small country) even with all the snow coming, it was not cold yet.

We began our drive down to Princeton – getting a little turned around in all the loops and turnpikes, at first, but finally finding a way out of there! – enjoying each others company, good music, and the sights and sounds of New Jersey.
I'd, obviously, never been there. My man had been there once when he was very young and didn't remember too much.
I can't say it's the prettiest place. In fact, it's a bit grey and ugly. Lots of factories and steam towers and chimneys belching grey smoke. And so many cars. No wonder people complain about the traffic in Jersey.
Luckily, we had pretty smooth sailing all the way down to Princeton – perhaps we just timed it right, as we were told this trip should take over an hour, possibly two, but it only took us just on 45 minutes I think.
People in Jersey drive like maniacs. Road rules? What road rules? Speed limits? Hah! They are just guidelines, apparently.
Well, the taxis in South Africa still outdo any bad drivers anywhere else in the world that I've been.

We made it down to Princeton, to the Hyatt Regency. A gorgeous 5 star hotel. That is luxury. We got there late afternoon and let the reception know about the lost luggage etc. They did warn us that there were loads of flight cancellations out of Atlanta, and that the storm was following us down the way. But they promised to let us know if it arrived while we were there.
First order of business – get me some clothes. I couldn't wear my mans boxers and tshirts to a wedding… much as i loved being in his clothes!
We went down to the closest mall. I discoverd the wonder that is TJ Maxx. It's pretty much like PeP or Ackermans here in .za. It looked like the storm had already hit here – clothes littered everywhere, hangers and shoes all over the place. There must have been a 5 minute sale or something just before we arrived! It was messy and chaotic.
I scrounged up and down the lines of clothes, looking for something smart and sophisticated. i found a lot of fake fur and leopard print. and pleather. and feathers. and bright pink.
My man saw my face and suggested we look elsewhere – this was not the only place around! (he reads me so well sometimes) I was nearly in tears, actually. It was all catching up with me. I had had great clothes in my suitcase, and all those gifts. and here i was just trying to find something "nice" and i had to meet all his friends and Army people for the first time, and everyone would be dressed up and looking beautiful and i was the scraggly girl from Africa. I just didn't want to show my face and make a bad first impression, and embarrass my man by being the Dull of the Ball.
  
So we went next door to another store… i forget the name of it right now… *thinks*
Oh yes! Ross's!
They had some really good clothes, for very reasonable prices. I picked up some Liz Claireborn pants, and a shiny grey top. And my man bought me these GORGEOUS black stilleto knee high boots.
So that was it for the wedding.
And some knickers and socks, and I was set.

 

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