Sunday, 5 December 2010

... Patagonia: I Queue, Therefore I Am - British!

I am convinced that the Boeing 777 is nothing more than a glorified sardine can with wings. When I'd finally walked the mile along the cabin to my usual spot at the back of the bus I found that the seat in front of mine had a metal box secured to the floor underneath it. There wasn't even enough legroom for a midget! Oh... wait....

Basically, if your feet touched the floor you were going to feel like you were anatomically rearranged so that your knees were beside your ears. A rare occasion I know but my feet touched the floor. They would need a shoe horn to get me out of my seat.

We took off on time and they were very quick to get dinner & drinks served. My dinner wasn't bad but it wasn't great either. At least it was veggie. Still, it felt like someone had looked down at the tray literally minutes before it was served and thought "Oh crap, half of this meal is missing" and then they quickly went around everyone for a food collection. This was the first time in the last few weeks where I've not been given bread. I didn't know whether to cheer or cry. My salad had some wilted lettuce and a pickled artichoke heart that someone had seemingly half hacked at in a bid to make it look presentable. In the middle of the tray was a tiny carton of olive oil and... nothing else. No balsamic, no lemon juice. Just olive oil. OK, so what on earth do I do with this?!?! I can only assume that dessert was the packet of crackers unless they were the bread substitute? The most bizarre thing of all was the tiny container that had a screw top and looked like you'd use it to store pills in perhaps. Someone had shoved in two balls of some kind of spread. Yeah I don't think I'll be risking that.

The flight headed north west towards the Andes before continuing north alongside them and over Colombia. For a brief period of time early in the flight I watched a very cool thunderstorm occuring to the north west of Buenos Aires around Rosario. It was huge and very angry looking lighting up the sky & clouds around it. The flight itself was not one of my most comfortable and I usually travel very well. Aside from the leg room issue the person next to me really had no concept of personal space. Last time I checked I didn't look like a pillow nor was I a punch bag for elbows. The flight also had a lot of turbulance. Normally I am able to cocoon myself in with my iPod and drift off to the land of nod. But it took me a long while to get settled on this flight. I awoke as we were flying over Jamaica: it was cool to see Kingston below and a million stars above. We landed in Miami just after 6am EST giving me over two hours before my connection to LAX.

But I hate this airport and it hates me. Immigration were painfully slow especially the line I had picked. Of course the carousel for my bag was right at the other end of the baggage collection room. There was more queuing to hand in your customs form followed by queuing to hand off your checked bag for your connection. More queuing for security which always feels like a violation and last but not least queuing at the gate to get on the flight. Gate 50 was naturally right at the other end of concourse D. I know I'm British but this is ridiculous. And besides I was surrounded by people that have absolutely no concept on how to queue!

There was no time for Starbucks - of course positioned just outside of the very same security that won't let you through with liquids, no time to grab food for the flight and just enough time to empty one's bladder. I reached my gate just as they had started boarding. Over 90 minutes of my life I will never get back. Still, I guess it meant less time to wait to board my connection. A sliver of a silver lining perhaps.

Oh... wait. I'm flying into my favourite airport. And to top it off I've just realised my pink Canon point n' shoot is missing complete with over 200 photos.

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