Monday, November 22, 2010


0530 - Waiting at gate 32 after purchasing some 'breakfast' and coffee. I had decided to stay awake throughout the night, afraid that I would sleep through the three alarms and promised phone call from the shuttle driver. So I stayed awake, watching a lot of Hulu while I packed and repackdd my bag.

I got a call from the driver at 0400 and after coaxing her to drive all the way down to the house, we were off to pick up another early traveler before going to the North Terminal at DTW.

After hearing so much about the full-body scanners, I was half-hesitant, half-interested about it, and there they were, accepting people, arms upraised, immediately after the luggage drop-off. However, after divesting myself of everything from my pockets, and standing (I imagined) innocently and self-assuredly, I was waved through the just-opened, standard metal detector, which I went through with nary a beep.

On the flight with me to Dallas are a whole lot of collegiate female basketball players from Missouri State University. jamming all of us onto the McDonnell-Douglass airplane ought to be ... 'Interesting'. Sometimes I feel lucky that, although I am 6"3', I have relatively short legs (32") compared to many of my height.

0606 - Just made my way to seat 17A, and I saw, pasted next to the aisle number sticker, another on that reported: 'Wi-Fi onboard'. It would not surprise me if the are made available for a fee, though, with the way things are with airline pricing these days.

On that topic, I learned, during the process of checking my bag, that American Airlines now charges for a second bag on flights to Mexico City; the capital city of another country is now treated - in terms of luggage charges - the same as a domestic destination. Is this a sign of things to come - when flights to far-flung places are not any more 'special' than the jaunt to the coast. (Christ knows that the prices aren't that much different...)

0740 - Slept fitfully on the flight to Dallas. we are about to dip below the blanket of clouds and then it will be making my way from A20 to D29... Taking the shuttle to get there. It's my first time at Dallas.

1031 - On the next flight... To Mexico City! I will be awake for this two hour flight (about half way through already), and I am already really excited to see Rafa. I am a little concerned that I haven't received any immigration or customs forms yet, but perhaps that will come later (at the least, there will probably be forms at the airport).

The wait in Dallas was... boring. Texas state law prohibits the sale of alcohol before 10am on a Sunday ('yay' to blue laws), so no Guinness or other Irish beer before takeoff. Instead, I roamed aimlessly around the D Terminal after taking the very convenient shuttle tram from A. Since it was still before 9am, not a lot of people were around, and the stores that were open had only the sort of standard airport tack that I wouldn't want to buy (but still make for distracted browsing). I ended up getting a double espresso and a chicken salad sandwich (for an exorbidance) before I received a text from KD about some good news, over which we chatted for several minutes as I watched the boarding line slowly extend from the gate.

After our conversation, I tried the 'rents, but had to be content with leaving a message on their answering machine.

We are currently (1043) flying along the coastline, and I can see several coastal and just-inland waters, hiding bedind a barrier coast. Occasionally, there is a break in the barrier, carved there by engineers, but otherwise, the shoreline stretches along, sandy mile after sandy mile.

1147 - Landed at Mexico City airport. I looks sunny and dry. Captain said that it was 19celcius.

1230 - I'm sitting outside customs, very early and very quick; far faster than any previous immigration, baggage pick-up and customs check than I can remember. Admittedly, it was a longish walk from the gate to immmigration, but when I reached immigration, I was called forward immediately, and it took very little time to go through: just a swipe of the passport and some stamping, and then I was through to the baggage carousels, and I took the opportunity to change some dollars at the place that cried: 'no commission' in big letters. True, they didn't charge commission, but thir rate was lower than what is being offered on this side of customs. Oh well, live and learn.

When I turned around to look at my carousel, I saw my bag at the end, being set aside by an airport employee, doutless to minimize the pile-up of unclaimed bags. With my cart, I walked over, plonked it on the cart, and moved toward the not-Latin American arrivals customs area, showed a security guard my baggage claim ticket, and lined up in front of one of the two operating machines before quickly going through without any question, and then, confronted with a button, was told to push it in order to determine if I was lucky enough to participate in a closer inspection. It shone green, and I was waved through the sliding doors, upon which my cart was confiscated and I then had the option of either carrying my own bag or to use the stevedore services. I chose the former, walked to the bench upon which I am currently seated, unpacked my backpack from its old Japanese Mail giant mailbag, folded the bag away, and sat down to punch this in while I wait for Rafys... still about an hour ahead of what I was expecting.

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