We are back in Tucson. Internet access was spotty, and glacial from the Andes of Peru and the Amazon, so our posts were minimal. We will now have time to work on filling in the blanks over the next few months. So more S. America to come:
Air travel is not always comfortable. American Airlines is doing their part to make sure we don’t get too soft. We arrived early evening at Miami International Airport. We had to claim our luggage, and Zippy, to go through Customs and Immigration, always a mad rush to get the luggage, sometimes for us a wait at oversize luggage for the bicycle, then wait in line, passport in hand to get cleared.
We ran and got near the front of the line then made our way to the American Airlines desk to re-check our luggage for our early morning flight, now a good eight hours away. It was around 9pm and the desk was manned by one woman. No other customers. She wouldn’t check in our luggage. The conveyor belt was humming away, just waiting for our luggage, but it was, “against the rules.” She wouldn’t even take Zippy, or the exorbitant $200 cost to get him to Tucson. She seemed to enjoy saying no to us, multiple times. American must have special training schools for nose-in-the-air acrid pronunciation of the word “no”.
So we were stuck in the airport all night with all our luggage. No way were we going to order a van big enough for Zippy and put ourselves at the mercy of a driver to find us a hotel, that fit our budget, for a now at best six hour sleep. There was a hotel in the airport, prices starting at $139, but we didn’t even check, anticipating that exorbitant $200 to get Zippy to Tucson.
So we had foot-long at Subway and went wandering with our little cart filled with Zippy and not much else. I was reminded of the street people in most cities, schlepping their worldly possessions all over town in a grocery cart, looking for a comfortable spot to have a lie down, and maybe a little sleep. At least we didn’t have to worry about being told to move on; airport security knows about over-nighters. And of course airports are much more comfortable than sleeping outside, even in Miami in September, which felt cool to us after Guyana.
We weren’t alone in our search for an out-of-the way place to test the carpet padding. We passed several nice looking looking spots before finding a quiet corner for ourselves. Some people were trying to sleep sitting up in chairs; not for me. Give me a flat spot, with just a little padding, something just the right size for a pillow, and I’m ready to get horizontal and sleep. We sort of took turns sleeping and guarding our stuff, for awhile, then realized nobody would know the value of that big long shrink-wrapped thing, so we both slept for a few hours. We almost didn’t wake up in time for our required 5am check in time.
Sleeping in airports is all part of the experience these days if, like us, you go for the cheap ticket, no matter what. But lots of people get stuck for reasons of weather or airline screw-ups, so if you travel much, your day will come. Don’t worry. Just go with the flow and enjoy the experience. You’ll be surprised how comfortable you can get on your own little corner of carpet.