03.03.2010 28 °F
It all started out so promising; a comfortable flight from Portland to Atlanta, a quiet seatmate, good snacks and two great movies I wanted to watch ('Precious' and 'Up In The Air'). And then came the announcement on my iPhone from my Trip Case app. - in big bold red letters: FLIGHT CANCELLED. I needed to make a connecting flight from Atlanta to Miami where I was to get on my 2300 flight to La Paz, Bolivia. It wasn't going to happen. A few snow flurries and cold weather had thrown Atlanta into a tail spin and literally 3/4 of the departing flights were cancelled. Not delayed, but cancelled. To make matters worse - I commited the cardinal sin of budget backpacker travellers - I seperated myself from my pack. I thought "why not check my pack, then I won't have to carry it around on my layovers". Bad idea. I can count on one hand how many times I have checked my favorite travel pack and everytime something seems to happen. True this time also. I was marrooned in Atlanta and my bag went on without me. Sometime after I had already checked into the Airport Ramada with my "sorry you're stranded overnight kit" supplied by Delta Airlines and paid for by a discounted voucher also given to me by Delta, my bag flew on an after midnight flight to Miami. I had already rebooked myself to leave for Miami and Bolivia on the 3rd, and as I tried to sleep I had visions of someone lifting my pack off the baggage claim turnstile after seeing it go past 30 or so times. But my friends and family consoled me and said they had confidence that my pack would be safe in Miami at the Delta Baggage Claim Office. But it was only after I arrived in Miami this morning and saw my pack safely stacked with all the other misplaced baggage that I felt ok. Yes, my pack, intact, is now with me again. Whew! The next obstacle was getting checked in for my international flight. The women at the ticket counter acted like she was in the Bolivian Mafia. I stated where I was going and she said "Do you have your passport? (of course), Do you have an additional passport photo? (yes), Do you have your proof of Yellow Fever Vaccination, (Thank you Suzanne, yes!), and Do you have your Bolivian Visa paperwork? (uhhhh, no, I thought I got it on arrival in La Paz.... ) No, you have to have it before you leave. (Uh oh). After waiting and waiting, I was given a copy of the Visa paperwork to fill out and issued my Boarding Pass. Quickly through security and onwards to the Admiral's Club where I have been enjoying sitting at the bar using my free drink vouchers and listening to the very busy bartender greet and serve all his customers, switching effortlessly between flawless English and Spanish. I hope my next blog entry finds me writing from La Paz. But the way this trip is evolving, don't be too surprised by more unexpected events!