Buster Cluck

I had a lovely day in Houston, spending it with my friend. I got to the airport in plenty of time, and then everything went south.

I boarded the plane at around three. Takeoff would be at 3:40 for an early arrival of 6:55. But we waited at the gate for quite some time. They amused us by doing the safety demo and handing out the customs cards. Then we were told there was a problem with the lavatory, so we would be down to only two for this flight. Fine, I probably won’t need to go. Then they announced that the wall by the lavatory looked weak. They eventually determined it wasn’t structural, so it wouldn’t be hazardous to fly. Unfortunately, there was some worries about the weather in Edmonton, and they would need to take on more fuel in case we were diverted to a different airport.

These delays wouldn’t have been so bad, but I didn’t have a lot to entertain myself. I had run out of movies on my iPad, and was trying to use the United Personal Device Entertainment system. But the network kept going out, so I was only able to watch a minute of movie at a time.

With that, we were able to leave the airport and head to the runway. Ha ha, no. We did do that, then we stopped and turned back. The flap around the lavatory was not correct, so it would need to be repaired. Or we would need to get a new plane. Back to the terminal.

After awhile they decided to let us off the plane to stretch our legs. That wasn’t a good sign. Stay in the area because they want to be able to board us quickly. I got off and went to relieve myself, then I started to plug in devices; I had used a lot of phone power waiting. Then, five minutes later, they asked us to come back, where we seemed to needlessly wait in line. Eventually we got back on.

With the plane repaired, we just needed to wait for a new cabin crew. I guess the previous ones had been on duty for too long. They came on, and preparation started. A bit later, there was another apology and one of the stewardesses announced that she was illegal. I assume she didn’t speak French and therefore couldn’t steward to Canada. She exited the plane. I have no idea if they got a replacement or are we flying with below the standard number of stewards. They showed us the safety demo again.

The plane finally took off at 8:18.

I am looking forward to what problems they have had with my luggage.

2015-10-26 23:19


This is not the post I wanted to write. I wanted to summarize my last few days in a tropical paradise. Of the hopes and dreams I’ve had that have been raised and then dashed, only to arise more powerful than you could imagine. Instead events are happening now that I feel I should document while they are fresh in my emotional core.

My flight home from Costa Rica was going to be long wi tight connections. I knew this, but the website thought I could make it, so I accepted its judgement. I am lucky that hurricane Patricia is hitting Mexico and not Costa Rica, but Houston is having its own inclement weather, which shouldn’t be a big problem because I’m not staying there. (That’s foreshadowing to those taking notes.)

Well, my flight left Costa Rica late, probably because the plane I would travel in had trouble leaving Houston. It was only half an hour, and I asked the ticket agent about it, but she pointed out I had an hour in between flights which should be enough time.

The flight was fine, but problems happened when we landed. Apparently some other plane was bogarting out gate, so we waited on the tarmac for longer than I was comfortable with. Eventually we went to another gate, E16. That’s not too bad; my connection is leaving from E24. Probably close by to each other. Even though my flight had been boarding for fifteen minutes before I even got off my plane, I should be able to make it, although my checked luggage probably wouldn’t.

I though Oklahoma City was a bad airport, but Houston has gone above and beyond to claim that title. Really, Oklahoma fell into the title, and didn’t put in any real effort. Houston wanted it more.

It accomplished this by treating connections as a chance to immigrate. So, we are shuffled away from the plane I want to board and go for a lovely hike to go through immigration. After they determine that I am fit to be in this country, I get to get confused as to whether or not to look for my checked luggage. Eventually finding out I shouldn’t, I proceed to go through security again to get into the exact same terminal.

I didn’t make it in time. My airplane had taken off ten minutes before I even got to the gate. Ticket agents were long gone. Fortunately there is a United customer service desk across the hall. And they joyfully close it right in front of me. I need to go to the one that is across the entire terminal.

By the way, I haven’t eaten since breakfast this morning.

There are no flights today that I can make or fit in. And because it was a weather delay, no compensation or a hotel. Fortunately I have a friend here. A friend who wasn’t answering texts. Eventually I find she was taking a nap, so I have a place to stay. And I took a later flight so I can spend time with her tomorrow.  

2015-10-25 21:03

Costa Rica Continues

It was easier to update my journal in Europe. Every day was different. Here the days blend together. And I am not getting enough sleep so it is hard to justify writing on a tablet at 3am when the bed is right there.

I’ve had a few anxiety attacks; usually the alone in a crowd feeling. Everyone around me is in conversation and I don’t feel I can join in anyone. A friend has told me about a good anti-anxiety drug I should try. The pharmacy around here apparently trusts people and doesn’t require a prescription. Probably not smart. In the interim I’ve been experimenting with alcohol and trying to find a happy medium. I think I’m getting it. (Hint: 4 vodka orange juices and a shot of tequila in a 20 minute period is possibly too much, but it did shut my brain down in the manner I needed.)

On the fun side, I went swimming two days ago. I put on sunscreen before I went out, although I could have done a better job on my back. Then I let some friends know I was going out, and I went across the street to the beach. It is a surfing beach so the waves are fairly big. There was a sign warning of riptides, so I wasn’t too brave. I played amoung waves and was always able to touch the bottom. It felt like I was being pushed towards shore more than anything else, so I was safe. I played out there for an hour before coming back in.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of the drama going on in my absence. In the morning, another person had gone swimming and had an incident with an undertow. (He is fine now, just a bit shaken up) so when the organizer heard I was gone, and had been awhile she got into a panic and sent people out to find me. I never saw them, but they saw me. But I kept being told to see her when I got back. Apparently the whole resort knew I was swimming.

And I got a light sunburn. Over all the places where I put sunscreen too. The waves are rough. 

Yesterday we went on an aerial tram tour. A short drive to a nature preserve and then we go on a tram that took us up a mountain into the foliage, then back down. Then there was a short nature walk where they showed us some of the bounty of Costa Rica.

My take away from it was that Costa Rica is one big nature preserve. Everything here seems to be to support Eco-tourism. There is no hunting, and vast areas are off limits. They do good work here, but the tour wasn’t really worth it. It was interesting, but not exciting. I just absorbed information, and didn’t interact much. I did hold a millipede though. 

Second day in Costa Rica

Or is it the third. Hard to tell. I got my final luggage, so it helped me relax.

Yesterday was slow because I was exhausted. The resort here is small, but I know everybody who is here. We’ve taken it over. The beach is across the street, but it looks ominously threatening with the big waves and threat of riptide. I went at about 1:30 in the morning with a friend to look at it. She lost her (non smart) phone in the waves where it quickly disappeared. It may look nicer in the sun. 

I did a lot of drinking yesterday, but it wasn’t great. Too much responsibility needed to drink water to stay hydrated. After awhile you get sick of water, but you need to keep drinking it so that you don’t feel sick the next day. Drinking may be more trouble than it’s worth.

Tonight I have volunteered to be part of a stage show. I wonder if I will be able to eat dinner, or will I be too busy getting ready. 

2015-10-18 13:40

Finally in Costa Rica

Th flight from Oklahoma took a long time to get going. They boarded us and then had us wait for an hour. Then finally they started loading the luggage on board. I even got to  watch my bags be put in the cargo hold. A half hour later and we finally got to take off. I was actually starting to worry that I might miss my flight. But I had an hour for my layover where I could buy a small wrap as a dinner.

I didn’t get to see Catalina, but we did FaceTime for awhile. Then I got onto my final leg.

Costa Rica does not go on Daylight Saving Time. So despite being in a different time zone, it is the same as Edmonton. Because of the change though, my flight here was longer than I expected. But I have arrived, gotten through customs and I’m on the way to the hotel right now.

However, it did not go perfectly.

When I packed, I had one checked bag, and two carry-on. One of the carry-on was just an excuse to take more stuff. I didn’t need it for anything while flying. I had put all the toiletries in it, instead of the checked because I was going to definitely have it when I arrived.

But it was heavy, so when someone in Edmonton offered to let me have it be checked, I took it. It seemed like a good deal, and it would be less hassle. I was so quick on the acceptance, I forgot to put a name and address tag on it, but when I asked about it in Oklahoma they assured me it wouldn’t be necessary because my name was already on the tag. And I did get to watch both bags being put on board.

Now if a bag was going to go missing, which one do you think it will be?

United says that it rarely happens that luggage goes missing permanently. It was last seen in Houston and I should have it before dinner. Let’s hope. This is the company known for breaking guitars.

My driver tells me that it only rains at night here. So far his story checks out. But my first thought was, “I wonder what an ultra marathon is like here.” But that way lies madness.

In Canada, we have deer crossings. Here they appear to have iguana crossings.

2015-10-17 2:10

Oklahoma City

I don’t really see a good reason to be here, yet here we are.

They put a mechanic on the plane, but they hinted we should go get someing to eat. I had a burrito. I could have spent $65 to get an entire Brisket to go. Which sounds ominous and I wonder who buys that when they are boarding a plane?

It sounds like they are getting us a new plane.

I’m pretty sure I will make my connection, but I won’t get to see Catalina. Well, maybe I will. We’re not that far from Houston. 

2015-10-16 14:06

To Houston

I’m flying to Houston now. From there I will continue on to San Jose, Costa Rica. This is my annual Caribbean vacation where I will spend a week in a tropical place, hanging out with friends. I have a seven hour layover in Houston, but that’s okay because icanspend time with Catalina. 

For the past while, I have not had a lot of free time. First there was the trip to the Alps, followed shortly by Catalina visiting for nearly three weeks. The next weekend was Thanksgiving, which was somewhat relaxing because I spent it with my family in Priddis. But it also meant that I was unable to get ready for this trip.

Long story short: I was up until 1:00 in the morning getting ready for this trip. And I got up at 5:30 to get to my flight. Let’s be honest, I didn’t sleep very well. I think at one point I got up to try repacking something. It’s a little hazy now.

I’m also finding issues already with my preparation. I put some movies and TV shows on my iPad to watch on the flight, but I didn’t think I would need them, because United has a good inflight entertainment system where you can watch their movies on an iPad. Let me amend that though. Had. They HAD an inflight entertainment system. It appears to not be working.

I finished my first movie on my iPad, “Riddick”, which was pretty good. It was a lot more similar to his first movie and got him away from the events of the second movie fairly quickly. If you liked “Pitch Dark”, I would recommend this.

Then I went to watch some of the TV shows I had. Unfortunately, I didn’t test them beforehand, and they are all corrupt. I will not be watching them. So I only have one movie left for this entire trip.

And now the pilot has just announced a problem with the generators on board. We’re diverting to Oklahoma City. Further updates as they warrant. 

2015-10-16 12:45

Leaving Oklahoma

Hopefully. I’m praying the title of this entry won’t doom me to ill luck.

At 4:15 a plane arrive to take us to Houston. We were supposed to board at 4:45. It hasn’t quite worked out. The computer crashed and they didn’t want to make new boarding passes. And this is a smaller plane. So we’re supposed to act like adults and just try and find the closest seat to our original. I’m just happy to be on board. I probably would have been fine with being in the luggage compartment. Just get on the plane and go. We are only on it for an hour.

The Will Rogers Oklahoma Airport is not a good place. There are overhead speakers blaring about lost items at security. Or just telling us not to be stupid. Whenever they are blaring, it is impossible to hear the announcement from our gate person with actual relevant information.

I’m tired. Possibly cranky. I may not see Catalina for very long, if at all. But hopefully I will make my flight to Costa Rica now. I have four hours to make it.

I wonder if I could have driven from Oklahoma to Houston in the time I had?

2015-10-16 17:15