Oakland, California, USA –> Santiago, Chile
5:30AM PST: Oakland, CA, USA
Woke up in Oakland to the sound of three little birds rather than gunshots. Today begins Part 2 of my South American journey. Although I was excited, I was not eager to leave a cozy bed with a handsome man’s muscular arms wrapped around me.
Alarm, ugh. Time to rise and shower.
Get dressed. While spending time in SF, I was trying to wear nothing but dresses to emphasize my feminine side and show off my radiant tan. The challenge being a single female traveler is getting too much machismo male attention without adding fuel to the fire with my flamboyant and feminine fashions worn in my home country. I try to not wear clothes that are too revealing and go for a shabby chic look.
Today, I was back to trying to look anything but sexy in my travel gear: black yoga pants, worn baggy t-shirt over with my green Ganesha hoodie wrapped at the waist to try to disguise my bum with my worn tan Rainbows and black Dolce & Gabbana glasses.
Walking out out the door and hopping into a car driven by the most handsome chauffeur ever who dove like a race-car driver to get me to the Rockridge station for the 5:50 train to SFO as I sang Primus’s Jerry was a Race Car Driver substituting his name of course.
Mission accomplished for my driver. For me, I got greedy and grabbed an extra good-bye kiss as I heard the train approaching. CRAP! No so gracefully, I ran to catch the train with my packs and flip-flops. Good thing I had my clipper card ready and escalators to assist me in my race.
5:50AM PST: Arrive Rockridge Bart Station
Made it to the top. Train was still on the platform. The voice said: “Doors closing!” Ding! Doh!! Was the kiss worth adding a 15 minute wait on the windy BART platform? Yes. I needed something to tide me over the next few months.
Next train arrives. This time, I was able to hop aboard. I sat facing the back of the train to watch the sun rise over Oakland. It was a beginning of a new day and journey. Moving backwards on the train made me feel as though I was moving back in time.
6:06-7AM PST: SFO BOUND BART
I had a great week catching up with my good friends, feeling loved and missed. There were several factors making it hard for me to leave but I needed to finish my journey. Some friends asked if I REALLY needed to leave again? I told them it was my internal hard drive forcing me to continue the operation. Much like a freight train, once I get going on a mission, it is hard to get me to stop. Blame my parents for spelling my name with an E instead of an A. I am a little special and dance to a beat of a different drum, this one happens to be in Chile right now.
7:10AM PST: Arrive SFO
Last night, I did not check in on-line for the flight. First, I was occupied with my male friend. Second, when headed an International destination, the system never allows check-in given the passport check requirement.
I stepped up to the kiosk with my United Explorer Card. The system did not recognize it. Forgetting my Mileage Number had been changed due to the United-Continental merge, I typed in my old United Mileage #. Crap it was not recognized. Looking like an unprepared idiot, I had to whip out my MAC to find either my confirmation # or new Mileage Number because I didn’t print out my documents. Everything went seamlessly after check-in and through security. I was glad to be in the security line behind competent fliers.
The boarding chaos had settled down since the last time I boarded for this route. Last time, the lady would scold any Premier Access customers who tried to pre-board since United had yet to fix the glitch in the system to print this information on the boarding pass.
8:50 AM PST- 2:39 PM CST: UNITED 1670 SFO–>IAH
Damn! I pre-boarded to find that I had a freaking center seat! Now I remember, I was not able to select my seats at booking. Of course, neglecting to check-in the night before got me a shit seat. Oh well, short flight.
About an hour into the flight, I had polished off the water in my reusable bottle. When I asked the flight attendant to please fill my bottle, she flat out told me with a scowl, “No! It is against policy.” Oh, big mistake, she used the “P” word. Nothing pisses me off like the “P” word. The word policy means you are too much of an idiot to think for yourself or a lazy asshole. Looking at the condition of her lizard-like skin, I knew she was likely a smoker and didn’t care to hydrate herself. She was both an idiot and an asshole in my cranky mind. Reasoning would not get me anywhere with her but I couldn’t keep my mouth shut, “Interesting, this is the 7th time since November I have flown this route. You are the 1st person incapable of filling my water bottle.”
After Lizard Lady moved her cart out of the aisle, I slipped out of my seat to sweet-talk another attendant in the back. The next attendant was just as bad, “I can only give you plastic cups.” Plastic cups (plural) to fill my bottle. She only would allow me to fill half! WTF? This is the opposite of trying to reduce the amount of plastic I use.
When I asked for their names to report back to United and they refused to tell me. Bitches! Really? All this drama over water?? It was not like I was asking them to fill a flask full of Vodka!
2:50-3:15 PM CST: Arrive IAH
I had enough time to walk from one gate to the bathroom to Starbucks (left over gift card) to the other gate to board the plane. Ah perfect.
3:50 PM CST- 10:22 PM PET: UNITED 854 IAH–>LIM
Upon boarding the next leg of the journey, the flight crew welcomed me by asking about my day. I said I had better. The lady asked why, I told her about the crabby crew on the previous flight. She gave me a big hug, “What is your seat number darlin’?” then took my water bottle to fill and deliver to me.
I chatted with another crew member as I got settled in my (another middle!!) seat. This flight was covered by a United crew, the other had been a Continental-legacy crew. The United crew, gave me tons of love and water. One lady even tried to find a vegetarian meal for me even though they no longer existed. Me and a few other Indian passengers were S.O.L.
10:30PM-1:30 AM PET: Arrive LIM
Landed back in Lima: Deja vu! Everything was way too efficient. There was a 00:30 flight but the LAN agent would not book for me since she was worried about delays and timing. Bag. Entry stamp. Boarding pass for the 2AM flight, no free seats for the earlier flight. Security. Exit stamp. Pee. Wander. Sit. Read.
The wait allowed me to unleash my new toy: K-Run’s Kindle loaded up with naughty, nice and nerdy books. My brother always knows the best gifts to get me. This year he bought me The Kindle to allow me to free up space and in my day pack! First book on my list to read on loan from the SF library, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
2:00 AM PET- 6:00 AM CLT: LAN 643 LIM–>SCL
Boarded flight. Ready to sleep. Could not sleep. My body was buzzing with energy and wanting to move. Ugh, I should have done a few extra laps at the airport rather than reading. The inflight movie was a movie about a kid who lost his father in 9-11 which was poorly produced. The combo of 2 glasses of Chilean Tinto and dull movie finally allowed me to slip into slumber for the remainder of the flight.
6:15AM CLT: Arrive Santiago, Chile
I had a rude awakening upon arriving in Santiago, Chile. No, it was not the landing or de-boarding. It was the surprise $140 reciprocation fee in order to obtain a visa. Oh well, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to get another passport stamp for the 28th country!
6:50 AM CLT
My bag was ready and rounding the belt once I made it through immigration formalities. Upon exiting customs, I slipped past the usual mob of taxi drivers shouting, “Taxi! Taxi! Miss Taxi!” and slipped my ATM card into the closest cajero automatico to get slipped some bills of the Chilean kind. Then, I sauntered up to the counter of the Santiago version of Super shuttle and booked my passage to my preferred lodging: Ecohostel.
7:05 AM CLT (4:05 AM PST)
The driver headed into the heart of Santiago as I gazed out the window. In less than 24 hours, I was now roughly 6,000 miles away from my home witnessing my 2nd sunrise of the day in Santiago, Chile.
7:50 AM CLT
Although I was the last passenger to board the shuttle, I was the first to be dropped off. The Motel 8’s like to “leave the light on for ya”. Since this was an Ecohostel, they saved on the electricity by leaving the door open for me. One door opens as another closes (temporarily).
8:15AM CLT/ 5:15AM PST
Two sunrises! Summer now winter. I made my bed and pulled out my eye pillow to make the sun set!