On the Road Again

Monday, June 16, 2008

Time to fly (again).  Sunday was spent finishing packing, checking out of the apartment, going to Cat's place to pack the clothes that had just been cleaned, then....off to the airport.

Catalina and I said our goodbye's in front of her apartment building, then I got a cab.  She didn't go with me to the airport...as she would've just had to pay for a cab back home.  Plus, airports are not best place for that stuff, too crowded, too hectic...or so I thought.

Get in the cab, my stuff in the truck, and I wave goodbye.  About 10 minutes later, I'm at the airport, I get my stuff, pay the driver, and wheel my stuff into the airport.  Once inside...I look around.  Almost nothing going on.  Three ticket counters, and no one is behind them.  At first, I saw no employees at all, just a few people standing around waiting.  Then in one corner, I see several elderly Oriental (later I learned Japanese) people sitting.  There were two men standing in front of one of the counters, one could've been a native Romanian, the other was Japanese.  Finally, I saw a security guy scurrying around somewhere behind the blocked checkpoint.

Not such a busy airport.

I found out that the Japanese people are a tour group, and that the other guy I saw standing was leading them on the tour.  This balding guy with thick glasses was wearing this shirt that made me want to laugh.  On it said, "the MAN" with an arrow pointing up and then "the MONSTER" with an arrow pointing down.  Unless the MONSTER was his rather large pot belly, I have a feeling the shirt wasn't too accurate.  And to lead a tour group while wearing that shirt?  Geez...

The Japanese man also standing was the group "leader", and when a ticket agent finally came out, he spoke to all his people saying, mostly in Japanese (of course) "xxxxxxxxxxxxxx together  xxxxxxxxxxx window xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx aisle xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx passport".  I figured out he was telling them to get together in groups of 2, one should ask for an aisle seat, the other a window, they want to sit together, and they should have their passport ready.  It was almost cute.

They had no luggage.  Maybe it had been driven to Bucharest, so they didn't have to worry about the weight limit.  Just seemed strange..... all these people, and no luggage.  They did have cameras though.  And video cameras.  I may be on someone's home movie and not even know it.  Hope they got my good side.

I get my turn at the counter, and again they ask about my luggage.  I tell them I'm going to the US, so the in-country luggage limit shouldn't apply.  They ask if I'm going tonight, and I say "no... no flight".  They ask if I'm going tomorrow.  "Yes", I lied.  Well, I was supposed to go on Monday, but flight schedule changes made that impossible, so Delta rescheduled me for Tuesday.  Wasn't my fault.  So, instead of trying to explain all that, I just said "Yes".  It worked.

I go through security, and again my shoes set off the detector.  Ran the shoes through the X-ray machine and I walked through in socks, and all was okay.  The security guy then tells me to go upstairs to my gate.  Literally, upstairs.  No elevator, escalator, just up the stairs.  I hate pulling my carry-ons up stairs, or even down stairs, for that matter. Wheels and stairs don't work well together....but I go up, and find the ONE gate for flights.  Wasn't too hard to miss...being that only one gate was open. 

All the Japanese are in the little store near the gate all getting a coffee.  "Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx coffee", I heard.  Then after that I heard "Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx terrace" as they all went to the outdoor terrace to look around.  It's like they were being herded. 

The plane was supposed to leave at 6:45, but by 6:35, we hadn't started boarding.  About 2 minutes later, they announced the boarding, and I think great...even a one plane airport and we're still going to be late.  Somehow...at 6:45 we were pulling away from the airport.  Small plane, not so many passengers, I don't know...I was surprised.

After the one hour flight, I wait for my luggage.  And wait...and wait some more.  Seems that several flights landed close to the same time, and the other flights came first.  And my suitcases were about the last of the luggage off my flight.  The baggage claim area was almost deserted before I got mine.  Oh well...it's not like the Hotel Ibis would leave without me. 

Get a cab, get my room, get some dinner, then pass out.  That was my schedule for the evening.  One flight down, three more to go. 

Wish Catalina was with me.....



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