Charlotte, North Carolina

The Experience! So this was a last minute trip, but also my first trip to kick off the 2015. One of my high school best friends had been telling me about CIAA weekend in Charlotte for a few years, and this was the year that I could finally make it. I found a great deal with United Airways for $177 round trip. I didn’t know much about CIAA weekend; I just knew that there would be SO MANY events and parties going on.

So what is CIAA? Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association…for better understanding just think “Basketball Tournament Championship Games”. Most of the people who go to Charlotte this week don’t go for the basketball games; they are there for all the partying and food. The CIAA celebration is generally for the whole week, but most working people like myself only go for the weekend.

Once we got there and met up with everyone, it took us forever to figure out where we wanted to go. We ended up at a party at the Ritz Carlton around 1am. The thing about Charlotte most places close at 2 or 3am unless it is a strip club. But it was cool not staying out too late being that I just worked a 8-hour day, the took a flight down to North Carolina; I needed to be well rested for the next day’s activities.

Saturday morning we picked up Chick-fil-a for breakfast then began getting ready; Once again it took us forever to make up our minds on which day party we were going to. And because we didn’t buy our tickets in advance all the hottest day parties were either sold out or the door price was insane. We ended up going to a Coors light day party because someone knew the DJ, so we got in for free and also free drinks. The party was cool; it had nice vibes…nothing spectacular.

After having such an amazing weekend, it’s time for us to go back home. However, there is a snowstorm in New York and it’s causing all kinds of delays and cancelled flights. I check online and it states my flight is leaving as planned. Cool! I got to the airport, already checked in waiting at the gate to board (I saw the rappers Fabolous and Jadakiss). Now here comes the WTF moment. We board, we take off and we are flying; about 1 hour and a half in (this flight is 1 hour and 57 minutes by the way) the pilot makes an announcement that we are over LaGuardia airport but he can’t land due to low visibility and we are FLYING BACK TO CHARLOTTE. I was livid, I understood why we couldn’t land but I was upset that we had to go all the way back to Charlotte plus I had no service to communicate this to my family.

So we get back to Charlotte and the line to rebook flights are so long, like really really long. So many flights were canceled. By the time I got to the front their next available flight was Tuesday at 10am…like WHAT? Nope, so that means miss 2 days of works. Nope! I tell them to book it for me; I go downstairs charge my phone and start looking up the next bus to NYC. I found a bus that was leaving at 9pm for $40; and that’s exactly how I got back to NYC a 14 whole hours later

Tips:1. There are so many free events. Register early on Eventbrite.com 2. Know which events you want to prior to CIAA week; because there are early bird prices versus paying $50+ at the door. 3. Stick with well known promoters or events “3rd, 4th and 5th annual…” 4. Try to go to the game, and support the cause…especially if you’re a basketball fan

Travel Information:

Trip dates: February 27th- March 2nd

Accommodation: Free

Flight : $177

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