Friday, January 20, 2012

It's a Job

 We traveled in India in 2008 and in Central/South America with Ross and Jean Copas in 2010/11.  We've spent many hours talking with them  over drinks and some interesting meals.  Ross has some defined views of the world and life in general and RuthAnn coined the word "Rossism" to describe them.  One Rossism was applied to our trip from Green Bay to Quito on the 19th and 20th.  Ross said that traveling from Point A to Point B on any given day must be looked at as a job.  Sometimes the job is easy; other times the job is hard, long, tedious, hot, sweaty, hunger and thirst inducing, get the idea.  

The flight from Green Bay to Chicago and to our hotel was one of those easy jobs.  A quick ride to the airport with a neighbor (thanks, Lenny), fairly easy check-in (there were some problems with my ticket that the CSR corrected), no problems with security screening, an on time flight and shuttle ride to the hotel.

After an 0400 awakening to catch the 0500 shuttle to the airport, a very friendly welcome to the TSA screening (first time for a full body screen for us) our world came crashing down when we saw on the first flight monitor that our flight to Miami was CANCELLED!!!!  By 0530 we were at the gate, but no one was there.  I immediately called American AAdvantage customer service to see what was going on.  RuthAnn was booked on another 0735 flight, but I was on a flight at 0935!  A big snow storm was approaching Chicago and was supposed to be there by 0900.  I could see it now:  RA in Miami, me stranded in Chicago for a couple of days while she went on to Quito, hoping I would make it there for our flight to the Galapagos on Sunday morning.  I enrolled RA's phone in the AT&T World Traveler program, gave her all the hotel info in Quito, and sorted out other details.  

By 0630 the departure desk was open and the wonderful CSR there finally got me a seat on a completely sold out airplane!  We were not able to sit together, but that was a minor annoyance.  Another good flight, plenty of time in Miami to catch the next flight; but at boarding, the nasty ticket monster raised its ugly head again.  My reservation had been cancelled in Chicago and I must step aside while they re-booked my flight! It took, about ten minutes and I was on my way.  I was greeted at the jetway by a drug sniffing dog and then had to run a gauntlet of a least seven TSA, DEA, and other uniforms I did not recognize! before reaching the aircraft door.  RA had gone ahead of me and wondered where I had gone.  Detained? Denied boarding? 

We are less than an hour out of Quito as I write this, let's hope that getting through customs and immigration and then on to the hotel is a little less stressful.  I hate the airlines!!

PS:  We are safely ensconced in the very pleasant Eugenia Hotel--the check-in clerk, a nice young Ecuadorian, recently graduated from a high school in Sioux Falls, SD!  We were among the first off the plane and through immigration/customs in less than 15 minutes--just love traveling with only carry on bags.  Time for bed; it's been a long day with one big pile of stress dumped on us early.

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