Category Archives: Transit

Scenes From an Airport

Day 000 – July 22, 2011

At 9:09pm local time (or 2109 for those, like me, who enjoy their time using the 24-hour clock), our plane touched the tarmac at Jorge Chavez International Airport and we were now semiofficially in the country in Peru.

It was oddly comforting to know that even though the family and I were in foreign country, some customs appear to be universal for as soon as the plane parked at the jetway, the “Wejusts” appeared.

The “Wejusts” are the name I give to the people who, as soon as the plane stops, whip out their cellular phones, call up their buddies, and say “We just arrived…” or “We just landed…” or “We just got here…”.

We de-planed and walked down the jetway and I entered…almost every other airport terminal for a major city I have been to in life. I’m really not sure what I was expected (llamas? alpacas? chickens? Please see Disclaimer No. 1), but I really should not have been surprised by this modern terminal that serves a city of almost 9 million people.

I did have my first taste of what living in Spanish-speaking country would mean for me for when I walked around the terminal to find the baggage area, a large majority of the billboards were in Spanish. This did not affect me that much as I have lived in Southern California for a large part of my youth and am used to this experience. However, I could feel the tranlsation-engine in my brain begin to clear out the cobwebs and prime its engine. It would soon be getting a large workout.

Coming out of the jetway, our family was greeted by two co-workers of my wife who were to greet us, meet us, and drive us to our house. The gentleman was holding up a sign that had our last name on it, but it was misspelled as an “A” was in place of the “E”.

More on this in a later posting, but that vowel switching would be the least of our problems concerning our last name.

Digression: The funniest “waiting” sign I ever saw was when I came off of a plane in Boise, Idaho (which probably was the type of terminal I was expecting when de-planing in Lima). As I came through the jetway’s door and into the terminal, I saw a cardboard cutout of a chauffeur with white gloves and driver’s cap. He was holding a sign that simply said….

…”GODOT”

It still makes me chuckle.

Back in Lima, we stopped at the baggage carousel and did the “wait-and-pray”, but it was not needed as yet another of my wife’s airline-elite-status perks kicked in and all of our eleven bags were given “Priority” stickers and were some of the first ones off the plane. We had all our bags in under fifteen minutes.

After a wait in line, we presented our passports to the kind-looking and smiling immigration agent. All our papers were in order, our books were stamped, and we were given a quiet “Bienvenidos” by the agent.

We were now officially in Peru.

The Joys of Travel

Day 000 – July 22, 2011

As opposed to my cynical answer to the title of my previous post, there were actually some joys to the 9+ hour trip from Reagan National Airport to Aeropuerto Internacional Jorge Chavez.

This was a revelation to me because I despise flying. From the hopping around to take off my shoes at the scanner (the Richard Reid Memorial Dance), to the cattle-call of passengers to the gate when the flight is called, to the stagnant recycled air in the cabin, to the turbulence, and to the waiting and praying as you stand at the luggage carousel hoping that beige bag is yours, I hate flying.

Add to all that the fact that I am not sure why Bernoulli’s Principle works and so I often think that my flight will be the one where Nature decides, “Yeah, I think today I’ll cancel the laws of that principle just to screw with people” and you can see why flying fills me with dread.

However, with that all said, there were some high points to today’s flight. In no particular order…

One) We did not have to pay extra for the extra suitcase we brought on the flight with us. That was a nice bonus and it shows why it helps to have a spouse who is a member of the airline’s elite club so we can enjoy perks like that.

Two) The plane had video screens with movies-on-demand and video games to entertain our three children. We had come loaded for bear on the flight with two DVD players, over half a dozen new movies, and a spare battery to get us through the flight. So you can sense that our relief was palpable when we saw the screens. Our boys watched the first Transformers movie while our seven-year-old watched reruns of Disney Channel shows. My middle child shows an above-normal interest in the video casino and especially for craps – mainly because I think he liked to say the name without getting into trouble.

I watched the movie Paul. The constant references to Steven Spielberg were cute (how many noticed the movie theater in the town was showing Duel?), but not enough to make a movie. Just my $0.02.

Three) Walking outside the airport in Lima and basking in the 65-degree night. Considered we came from a place where the mercury was over 100 degrees (and Dulles Airport even recorded a high temp of 105 for July 22), it was absolute sheer bliss to walk into a cooler clime. (Yes, technically, this third item was not a joy of travel itself, but sometimes the destination can be joy itself)

Bienvenidos a Peru. Let the adventure begin.

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