Leave it to Miami to mess with my plans. Let me say for the record that I have very strong feelings about Miami airport…and they are not of the warm and fuzzy variety. The day I was set to leave, I was supposed to depart around 4pm. I had planned to surprise my sisters at school and drop in for lunch on my way to the airport. I had made all the arrangements and just before I left, the airport called me. Well to be exact an american airlines representative called me. He explained that due to weather conditions in Miami (a.k.a. miami’s-secret-sabotage-Chandler plan) it was imperative that I depart 4 hours early!
I would like to take a moment and tell Irene (a.k.a. Hurricane Irene) that I hope she feels good for spoiling amazing sister bonding lunch plans. Now back to our regularly scheduled posting…
I hurried to the airport, checked in, did a mini happy dance when my suitcase weighed in at exactly 50lbs (and a victory chant involving phrases such as: “Yeah baby! 50lbs! Who’s bad?”), made it in time for my earlier flight and arrived in Miami. I had mentally prepared myself for Miami airport, or so I thought… I neglected to pay attention to the classic doom impending music they silently played just for me as I stepped off the plane (*cue music please: dun, dun, dun, duuuuuunnnn).
My previously 9 hour layover was now 13 hours due to my earlier departure. I grabbed a quick lunch, read some of my book, browsed in a store and then headed to the check in counter. Much to my dismay, I was informed they could only check me in 5 hours prior to my flight (which was scheduled to leave at 6am) and they opened at 5am. Faced with a remaining 12 hours I would have to spend waiting to check in, I surveyed my surroundings and realized it would be a very long 12 hours.
I would have to wait in the concourse section of the airport with uncarpeted floors, super cold air-conditioning and businesses that would shut down within the next 3 hours leaving me to roam boring hallways with screen covered displays. During my endless wait, I managed to lose my hat, read 8 chapters in my novel, make a general game plan for my eventual arrival to Oahu, practice funny face entertainment in a bathroom mirror and get enough walking in to drop a dress size.
I managed to sleep intermittently in the lobby of an airport hotel attempting to ignore the hourly interruptions of a semi-sympathetic airport security monger who felt the need to constantly remind present company (I was joined by a few other wayward individuals) that we were not supposed to sleep in that area, but he would allow us to if we kept our feet off the furniture. The guy was a bold-faced liar! I kept my feet on the floor yet every time I managed to doze off he would come in and state his position again….
I headed to the proper concourse and followed my nose to a locked down Starbucks. The lady at the counter smiled at me and the other sleepless souls who stood outside her gate while she ground coffee much like zombies in a film contemplating the society that has shunned them. She mercifully informed us all we could get coffee in 10 minutes.
Armed with a cup ‘o joe, I checked in, boarded my flight and met the man who quickly became the second most interesting person I have ever met on a plane, a new sponsor for my 2012 Italy trip and the provider of a pass into the admiral’s club where my tired body enjoyed the indescribable modern technology of a glorious 7 nozzle shower. Again, thank you, Allen.
My flight to Oahu was long in coming, but warmly welcomed. I met a lovely gentleman on that flight as well who does some great medical mission work in Ecuador (Las Mercedes Project). I collected my bags and waited on the sidewalk for someone to recognize me (all the while shaking Los Angeles tinted deja-vu out of my mind). My soon-to-be landlord picked me up at Honolulu International airport with an “Aloha!” and a smile.
Airport debacle bygones be bygones…