Wednesday, 09 December 2009
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And so, after a long wait and lots of planning, it was time last Friday to get up early (yawn) and make my way to the airport to find my way to Panama.

To avoid spending hours and hours in Miami Airport, I had chosen a somewhat indirect route via Puerto Rico. This also enabled me to get up half an hour later.

Well, after buying some St. Lucia souvenirs for Marianela’s parents, I boarded an half empty American Eagle turbo prop plane and true to their usual standards, American Airlines had equipped the plane with 2 very experienced flight attendants, one of which was more than just the AA brand standard grumpy. In fairness, the other one was quite cheerful.

The flight was uneventful and not quite 2 hours later we were in San Juan, Puerto Rico – Home of Bacardi. After enjoying the thrill of passing US Immigration, I strolled through the rather unexciting airport marveling at the price of alcohol before boarding the next flight to Miami, this time on a jet.

This flight was packed and it even had a movie, so the two and a half hours passed fairly quick. The one thing of notice is that like many other airlines AA now charges for checked luggage. As a consequence people try to bring the most outrageously oversized luggage into the cabin. One person who, judging from the size of her bag, was either carrying a dead donkey or maybe an ice-hockey goalie outfit, got into an argument with the senior (and when I say senior about an AA crew member I DO mean senior) flight attendant, so we all had something to watch before the movie…

It was the first time I arrived in Miami without having to go through Immigration and this is quite a nice experience. The airport as such is the same old. Endless corridors and you’ll be hard pressed to find 10 people who work there whose native language is English. I’d say a fifth of the workforce does not speak a word of English. Be all that as it may, the nice people at Google are sponsoring free internet for the holiday season. Everybody and their neighbor got this to work on their laptops, I, of course, did not. Instead I purchased what might very well be the world’s smallest pizza for $8,99 - I inhale more insects on a typical day in St. Lucia than there was meat on that pizza…

Well, I had about 4 hours to pass and luckily I had my noise-cancelling headphones and some house episodes, so no problem there.

After 4 episodes it was time to find the gate for the flight to Panama and here is a neat trick for all you vertically challenged people like me. If you want to look tall, go to the airport and find the gate for the flight to Bolivia, most likely to La Paz. All of a sudden you will be the tallest person in sight. I reveled in that for a few moments and then proceeded to my own gate to be immediately surrounded by Harlem Globetrotter types again.

This flight was also packed and there was a young lady next to me who I suspect was calling everybody she knew to tell them that she is now on the plane. I have no proof for this but from the increasingly erratic phone conversations I would guess that she eventually ran out of people to call that she knew and so proceeded to just call random people. Just when I was about to suggest a few numbers for her, she informed us that she would move to the back where her friend was sitting who presumably had a few more numbers in her phone.

This gave me some more space and I enjoyed the movie Up, which, in case you have not seen it already, I suggest you go watch as well. Very nice story.

We eventually landed in Panama where they kept us taxiing and holding for a while before being let to the gate. I managed to understand and answer the one question the Immigration lady had for me in Spanish which made me feel somewhat confident. And so, 16 hours after I left the house I was in Panama where Miss M and her friend were waiting for me. I could have been in Dubai faster, but then there would not have been a Miss M.

I will tell you all about Panama next time. Hasta Luego!

Wednesday, 09 December 2009 14:28:14 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  |