Evan Kessler Dot Com

The Home of the Brave

Costa Rica- Miami- New York Day 10-11 The Long Way Home

Posted by evankessler on June 26, 2005

That’s right, the vacation blog has been extended one day because the vacation was extended past it’s initial end date by 12 hours. The story of the journey home is a harrowing one. It’s a tale involving Canadian girls, machetes, hammocks, flight delays, airline incompetence, alcohol and vouchers.

When I last left you I was waiting for my shuttle to the airport. My flight was leaving at 1:48pm Costa Rican time and I arrived at the airport at Noon to find an extremely long and slow moving check in line. It was so slow I was worried I was going to miss my plane. As time wasted away, I grew more nervous about the fate of my flight arrangements. I had moved about halfway through the line when we learned that the flight would not take off until 3:15pm Costa Rica time, which was troubling to me because I knew that meant the plane would not land until around 8:15pm (EST) in Miami and my connecting flight was scheduled to leave for JFK at 8:40pm (EST). I knew I would be cutting it close. When I finally got to check in, I was informed that there was no way I could make my connecting flight as I would have to go through customs in Miami before heading to my connecting gate. The airline representative presented me with vouchers for free lunch at the airport, a free hotel room in Miami and free dinner and breakfast at the hotel to go along with a ticket reservation on the 8:15am flight to JFK.

I thought that things could be worse. A night in a decent Miami hotel wouldn’t be so bad. Meanwhile, a girl at the counter next to me had gotten her bags stolen just at the airport and the American Airlines people kept saying it wasn’t their problem, which it really wasn’t but they could’ve been more helpful.

I walked towards my gate slightly annoyed and sat down for a minute soon deciding to use my $10 lunch voucher. There was much to choose from in the way of crappy American fast food. The food court had Papa John’s, Schlotzky’s Deli, Burger King, and Church’s Chicken. I chose a deli sandwich and got the wrong one but ate it anyway. It wasn’t bad.

Having finished my hearty meal,  I hauled my stuff over to the gate (puerta 4B) and sat down next to some lovely Canadian girls. I became fast friends with Danielle and Amy from Windsor, Ontario. We would spend many hours in the airport hanging out together waiting for our plane to take off. I got to talking with them and learned that Amy had bought a Machete for her boyfriend. I was not aware that you could bring a Machete back through customs even if it was in your carry on bags. Ironically, later that night Amy would have trouble getting her hammock on the plane as the flight attendant said they were restricted from being carry-ons because they could be used as weapons. I’d like to be privy to that meeting where they decide that hammocks are weapons.

Friendly Canadians Amy and Danielle

Anyway, Danielle and I talked a lot as well. She was leaving Canada to teach English in Korea. She also wanted me to send her some of my pictures because she didn’t get enough nature photos and liked what I showed her. Danielle also proposed a game where Amy and I listed our pet peeves and whoever had more won. I don’t remember if we actually won anything for having more, but apparently I won the game. I also let Danielle write a faux journal entry for my wait in the airport. I was having a great time with them and it felt like being stuck in the airport together we were on an accelerated getting to know you curve. They also encouraged me to start drinking with them as we began to realize that we would be at the airport indefinitely. It’s somewhat ironic that two of my favorite people I met on the trip, were met on the way out of Costa Rica.

Time wore on and we kept getting more and more invalid excuses for why we weren’t leaving San Jose. First they said that a part was broken and a bunch of mechanic looking guys walked by. I maintained that they were actors hired by the airline to pretend they were doing something. Next, they said that the crew had been on too long and needed to be replaced so we had to get another crew to fly and man the plane. Then, I heard something about bad weather in Miami. Then actual bad weather set in in San Jose.

We kept getting the run around but we got a dinner voucher to somewhat appease our anger. We made the best out of things as Danielle, Amy and I figured it was sort of useless to complain at this point as pretty much the entire gate was complaining so we just hung out and got some dinner. One of the guys at our gate who was talking to us before came by freaking out that his bag had been stolen at the gate while he was sleeping, but he eventually found it somewhere.

We all ate dinner at Papa John’s and then went to the smoking lounge bar that had a karaoke video playing classic late 60’s and early 70’s songs. We had a couple of beers there but we decided it smelled too smoky to hang out in. For the next few hours we just wasted away waiting for the plane to finally board which it did around 10pm Costa Rica time and we finally took off 9 hours after our originally scheduled time.

Sleepy Canadian

By the time we got to Miami it was 3am EST and all of our vouchers were utterly useless. They gave us a $5 voucher for breakfast, which was somewhat absurd since you can’t really get anything at an airport for that little money. We had to go through customs and check-in for our connecting flights. After checking in it was around 4:30 or 5. I split off with Danielle and Amy at this point as our gates were seemingly far apart.  My ticket read Gate D40 and they were in E-something. When I made it to D40 the sign read “DEPARTING FOR LOS ANGELES” then I read the departures screen and saw my JFK flight listed as “GATE E6”; another case of Airline incompetence. As I walked over to E6 I came across Danielle and Amy in E2 and sat with them til 7am. I said goodbye again and waited to board my flight.

Thankfully, my flight to JFK boarded on time and I was in the airport by about 10:50am, nearly 12 hours after the original time I was supposed to be there. I was completely exhausted. I took the Super Shuttle home and arrived around 12:30 to find the apartment immaculate but still having a certain large hole in our ceiling. It was so clean that I thought we had been robbed. I did not let this trouble me as all I wanted to do was pass out for a short while.

I headed out of my apartment at 6:30pm with no real desire to leave my couch but I really wanted to go see The New Pornographers at Prospect Park for Celebrate Brooklyn! I met up with Maureen Hoban at her house in Park Slope, which had a hilarious model of the Eiffel Tower with a picture of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise on it. It was part of their float for the Mermaid Parade earlier in the day.

I got burritos with her and her housemates before heading off to the concert. We arrived just before the band went on. We sat pretty far in the back as it was very crowded so it was hard to see the concert, but they are such a good band that I enjoyed the music. I’ll have a better chance to see them when they play Webster Hall in a couple of months. Anyway, It’s late and I’m feeling under the weather so this is where the travelogue ends. Two of my fingers are falling asleep. Stay tuned for the Costa Rica photo album.




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