Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sandra and Jane's Excellent Adventure

It's a whole new level of intimacy between us, and Sandra's loving it.
We are traveling together and for the first time ever, in the 6 year history of our friendship, we are sharing a room. A hotel room. In Phoenix, where we should not be.
The plan was to be in Puerto Vallarta at Rose's house, in separate bedrooms. But plans are wont to go awry despite 'doing everything right'.

This day will not soon be forgotten.

It (this day) started for me at 4 am. (Yesterday ended at 3 am when I went to bed.) By 5, Max was over, packing me and my luggage into the truck. We got to Sandra's at 5:20, left her place by 5:30 and were in the line up at the US Airways counter to get our boarding passes by 6.

At 6:25 we joined the lineup in the security area.
And at 6:26, I passed through the first screening and directed forward. When Sandra step onto the mat, she was directed to line #2 and got a stamp on her boarding pass.
"Are you traveling together?" I was asked.
I nodded.
"Do you want to go with her in line 2?" She asked.
I nodded.
"Are you sure?" she asked.
Again, I nodded. So she stamped my pass too and we shuffled over to line 2. WHERE WE DID NOT MOVE FOR OVER AN HOUR.

Turns out, line 2 is a special line. Sandra was randomly selected for a FULL SEARCH. And because I nodded, I got one too. (I had a choice - either to go into the booth and be scanned, or have someone touch me all over. Don't think I wasn't considering a good touching all over. It's been years people. And this would have been guilt free. But the rub-down-guy had a comb over. And that was just all kinds of icky.)
(Also. Don't think that Sandra did not let everyone know in that security area that 'excuse me? Our flight is boarding, we have to go...' Which got the response, "there's nothing we can do. We're really busy. The airline will know that and hold the plane for you.")

PSHAW I say.

We passed all the security tests, finally by 7:25 and ran to our gate only to find ourselves in a huge holding area with HUNDREDS of travelers. US Customs has changed their procedures... instead of going through customs at the point of entry - NOW a person has to be cleared BEFORE THEY EVEN LEAVE THEIR COUNTRY. (Again, Sandra explained that our flight was boarding and we HAD to hurry. Again we were told they were busy and the airline would hold our plane for us.)

I made it through customs at 7:45 and ran to gate 86 where it was totally empty except for the one attendant clearing up the desk area. I saw the plane right outside the window, with the bridge still attached.
"Oh good, it hasn't left yet!" I smiled.
"Sorry, you're too late. We can't let you on."
And seconds later the plane backed up and I crumpled against the desk.
"Really? That's it? We've been here since 6 am, winding our way through lines and counters and we missed our plane? Oh my goodness. What happens now?"

All flights to Puerto Vallarta have been over sold. Next available flight: Feb 13. (Three days hence.)
We decided to stick around and try to fly stand by on the afternoon's oversold plane.

By noon, I was totally out of steam, and had a little nap:

I am channeling my dad here. That man could sleep anywhere.

We decided to pray about our seats at 1 pm. I felt a little guilty about that. I mean, come-on. All the suffering in the world. Poverty? Slavery? And we're asking for something totally selfish?

He gave us a yes. "Yes, I will arrange for there to be two rockin seats (right at the front, with all that extra leg room, beside each other) available for you on this flight. Because I love you."

I had a window seat and for the first time in my life SAW THE GRAND CANYON. (I've been there twice but never saw anything due to blinding snow storms.)

We landed in one of my favorite cities, Phoenix, at 6:30 pm and wanted to try Priceline to secure cheap accommodations. Because that's what the cool kids do.

We wandered around the airport with all our millions of pounds of luggage. (Have I mentioned the books? And DVD's? And CD's? we've packed? Also the food? Someone is now a vegan and wasn't sure there'd be food for her in Mexico so she brought along FROZEN flaffels and whatnot in her suitcase.)

After one hour of pulling our luggage and trying to get a clear wifi signal at various locations at the airport, we gave up and made reservations at the nearest Best Western. Which, by the way, has hallways and bathrooms and sink areas and ROOMS illuminated with FLORESCENT LIGHTS.

She's sleeping. And I'm blogging.
This room is killer hot. And I've got a Breathe Right strip across my nose.

We'll be getting up in 5 hours, to continue this journey.

Three things I'm thankful for:
1. We are seasoned travelers. So this was nbd. (That's code for No. Big. Deal.)
2. Max. He drove us to the airport. Then called me in the middle of the lovely snooze I was having to find out what happened. Then offered to come back and pick us up. LOVE that boy.
3. All those friends of ours (on facebook) who prayed along with us re: seats on the afternoon flight. Feeling the love. And it's awesome.



My Thots said...

I love the fact that you can blog this as an adventure. When I missed my plane and had to be rerouted and I was a bawling mess of grief (headed for a family funeral) I sure didn't blog it. But you my friend are an amazing writer/story teller. Please write a book! No really, please do!

Anonymous said...

Yay!!!!! Hope you both have the bestest time in the sun with the books and the pool and (did I mention?)the sun.


Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see your photos and read all about it...have a fantastic time!
:) September