Friday, December 1, 2017

Vacation: Part 1

It's Wednesday morning, early.  I look at my phone and it says 6:15.  Unable to fall asleep, I turn off the 7:15 alarm.  The next hour passes by quickly.  At 7:45, we head to the airport.  The lady has a morning flight to Guatemala City and I will follow in the afternoon.  We are heading there to attend a wedding.  It's my first trip to Central America.

We encounter some morning rush hour traffic but nothing to stress about.  After I drop her off, I start to dread the drive back because of all the commuters heading into DC for work.  Surprisingly, it is all clear and I'm back by 9:20.

I got plenty to do and the clock is ticking.  I start with breakfast, then some work stuff on the computer, and after 10 stop by the mall to exchange a dress shirt.  It all goes smoothly.

Back to the apartment and to the task I've been procrastinating on for days...packing.  I like to travel but I don't like packing.   It's a five day trip and I figure one large checked bag will suffice.  No carry-on at all.  I'm taking the metro (and an airport bus) and I rather just deal with one bag.  The flight is at 3pm and I should be on my way by 11:30.

It's 11 and I'm in deep thought, Do I take this, do I bring that, don't forget the wedding attire.  And then, out of nowhere, "MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE.  May I have your attention please.  A fire has been detected in the building.  Please exit the building using the stairs.  Do not use the elevators."

Wow, I think to myself, could there have been a worse timeCould it be a fire drill.  Usually they leave a notice or something as a heads up but nothing this time.  Crap, it could really be a fire.  20 story building, it was only a matter of time before some idiot accidentally burnt something.  I open my door and all is calm.  I don't smell smoke. The voice over the intercom repeats the message several times.  Fuck it, I roll the dice and keep packing.  Time is ticking away.  Five minutes later, the voice speaks again and says, "That completes the fire test."  I laugh and shake my head.  Back to packing.

11:45 and I'm finally out the door.  One final check, passport, wallet, phone, we go.  I luck out at the metro station.  The train arrives as I step onto the platform.  At the Reston metro station I catch the airport bus.  90 minutes after leaving the apartment and $9 less in my wallet, I arrive at the International Airport Dulles.

I had booked my ticket thru United with points.  I get to the United check-in kiosk and it's not busy at all!  Smooth sailing, my thought.  I input my info and I get a message that the flight is operated by a Star Alliance partner, Avianca.  I make a 180 degree turn and there they are.  About 100 people waiting to check-in.

I join the line but realize that there is a second, smaller, line just for bag drop off.  I switch lines and finish my online check in.  I drop the bag off and head to security and gate B50.

I reach the gate after 2pm and start looking for an outlet to charge my phone.  It only takes me a second to remember that the charger is in the checked bag.  Dagger.

Battery power is at 40%.  I have a 4 hour flight to El Salvador and a 90 minute layover before my flight to Guatemala City.  40% is like holding pocket jacks.  It's not bad but it can quickly go downhill.  I let the airport take advantage of me and purchase a USB-to-Micro USB cable for $10.  To ease the pain, I also get a bag of chocolate covered pretzels.  All set, I get in line to board the plane.

I end up getting a window seat which luckily has a USB port.   As I pull out the brand new cable, I think, Money well spent.

The seat next to me was empty so I had plenty of room.  I end up watching two movies.  Ex Machina was great and I recommend it.  Taken 2 was OK.

Five hours after leaving Washington, I find myself sitting in the San Salvador airport having a cold local beer and thinking, This is the closest I've been to crossing the equator.


  1. Love the report, waiting for part 2.

    1. Thanks for reading. Part 2 sometime next week.

  2. I loved reading your comment about packing. I always pack at the last minute - what O.J. Simpson called "that little thing I do."