It should have been so simple. I just needed to find a payphone, call the aforementioned woman, who would then come out and pick me up from the Airport. One problem: I didn't have any US Change - only bills (or notes, as we like to call them in England). It shouldn't be too much of a problem - right?
So I started by finding an information desk and asked if they could break a bill for me. No, they weren't allowed to do that. OK, still no problem, I'd go to one of the stores and buy something, getting some change in the process. I worked out how much I'd need, then found some kind of confectionery that would result in me getting enough change. The storekeepers had been so kind as to put a price label on everything - how helpful! What they don't tell you is that sales tax isn't included in that price! So the change I'd carefully calculated was less than I needed! I tried the same procedure again, and found I still didn't have enough. In fact, by the time I had enough money for the phone, I also had pockets that were positively bulging with tooth-rotting candy!
But I had enough money for the phone. That was the main thing. I found the piece of paper with my friend's number on it and dialed. But here's the thing - when an American tells you their phone number, they say "My number is 123-456-7890." They forget to tell you that you have to dial a "1" in front of all numbers. I kept dialing the number I had, wondering briefly whether I was the victim of an expensive variation of the old "call me, here's a fake number" ruse, then thinking that perhaps I'd just copied the number incorrectly. Either way, I'd somehow managed to lose some of my change in the process, so it was back to the store to buy more candy.
I went back to the information desk to see if they had a directory. They did, and so I was able to look up the number. Of course, it was the number that I already had written down. So I went back to try again, with the same result. Eventually, and I can't recall where I found the small but all-important snippet of information about adding a "1" (after all, it was eleven or twelve years ago), I finally managed to get through and let my friend know I'd arrived...oh...over an hour previously.
(To be continued)