Saturday, January 5, 2008

dazed and woozy

This picture is for you Rachael. My Starbucks from Puebla.

Oh the joys of international travel! But before I complain, I should start out by saying I am safely returned to Puebla and all unpacked. Earlier I also finished prep for school's resuming on Monday - so basically everything's fine. It's just hard to see it that way when I'm loopy and blue from almost no sleep last night. I'll be so glad for this day to end so that I can go to bed at the earliest hour possible and sleep this off.

It's a given that any international trip must come with minor adventures. This LAX to Mexico City was no exception. My dad dropped me off at the terminal for Alaska Air at about 10:45pm, and I trundled my trolley-full of luggage to the only line I could see. It had to have been the slowest moving line in the history of LAX, but after about 45 minutes, I finally arrived near the front and saw the line was marked "Persons Needing Assistance." I didn't need help, and I also finally saw the self-check-in computers (marked step #1), so I bailed from what was left of the line and checked in.

Step #2 was clearly marked above the luggage counter, so I approached the woman there to check in my baggage. "Did you come from the line?" she asked, "These people are ahead of you." Which people? Oh, the ones in the long mislabeled line I'd already waited in for 45 minutes. The lady at the counter wasn't interested in my protests, so I entered the line again - at the end. By that time I already knew my flight was delayed, so there wasn't reason to fret. It was just annoying.

Finally just before 2am the last of the passengers were boarding the plane. As I peered out the window, I noticed two airport employees busily unloading luggage from the baggage compartment of our plane, and oh look! there went one of my suitcases. Just as the two men finished unloading a car-ful of luggage, the captain came over the speakers instructing the flight crew to prepare for take-off. What about our bags? Well, after the crew made their usual safety announcements, we - waited, presumably while the luggage was returned to some other part of the plane.

At 2:30am, you'd think the crew would be interested in letting passengers sleep, but no. Just after take-off, the lights were switched back on, and we were given customs forms to fill out. After that, the cabin lights were turned off, but the crew cheerfully came down the aisles to pass out snacks and drinks. Once that activity ended, I did catch some catnaps.

In Mexico City I needed a trolley because I had a trunk, a large cardboard box, a suitcase, and a computer bag to manage. The trolleys had a large sheet of glass directly over them, and just as I approached, someone tugged a trolley too hard, breaking the glass. The trolleys were now impossible to pull out. I asked the airport employee who had reported the broken glass where else I could get a trolley and he said hopelessly, "There is no other place." Fortunately he was mistaken, and another employee directed me to other trolleys.

The only other travel snafu for me was at the bus station in Puebla. I had asked to be picked up from the station, but no one came. Fortunately, taxis from 4 Poniente to our apartment are cheap, so that's how I got home.

Only about 5 more hours to stay awake...

PS. A few hours later... Closer yet to bed!
However, I couldn't resist adding some pictures. Tomorrow is the Day of the Kings, and today on every street corner people are selling helium balloons. The children who get the balloons make a wish for what gifts they want to find in their shoes tomorrow and then release the balloon. What a cheerful sight these balloon bunches are.

No comments: