I had a noon flight out of SeaTac, on United. The flight left a little late, which proved to be a big deal once I got to L.A. I only had about one hour to go from my United flight to my Mexicana Flight once I landed. The bigger problem was the size of the L.A. terminal. I don’t know this for a fact, but I suspect that alphabetize the major carriers (American, United, Delta, NW, SW, etc.), then there is another separate terminal for airlines you might not have heard of (New Zealand, Turkish Air, and others I can’t remember.) It took me almost 30 minutes of solid walking, and asking before I found the correct terminal. Once I got there, I got an overworked guy directing traffic, who found an overworked counter person, who told me I was, basically, screwed. As luck would have it, she was the person everyone else came to with problems, and she found a seat on the plane that was full, and leaving in about 20 minutes. (One side note – Americans like to think of themselves as hard working. The average Mexican works more hours per week than the average American. Please don’t ask about South Koreans. We do have the Canadian beat by a very small margin, but they have things like universal health care. I wonder if what we are spending in Iraq would pay for health care for every American?)
OK, back on topic. So I’ve got 20 minutes to make my flight, and my luggage is on a United flight a long ways away (I checked my clothes, carried my electronics – priorities.) I figure I’ll see them in a week or two. So I make my flight, only to find someone in my seat. We’ve both got valid boarding passes, so the flight attendant ask me to step to the back of the plane. After everyone boards, I’m hoping to get bumped to a later flight and a nice free pass somewhere. We unemployed people are like that. After things settle down, they take me to the front of the plane, all the way to first class. The first seat in first class. As we approach, I’m thinking – yeah for me. But.. as I get close enough to see where my pasty white backside will go, I see a child there. A toddler. Next to him/her is a woman holding another, even younger child. I think they are trying to tell her that she can’t have that seat, that she has to carry both of them in her arms, since these aren’t seats she paid for. So she starts yelling, and everybody is getting heated (in spanish.) I don’t want to be the guy taking a seat from a toddler, and I tell them I’d rather sit somewhere else. As fertile as this woman apparently is, I don’t want to be very close to her. So they take me back into plebeian class, where we try to remove another child from it’s seat. This is starting to get ridiculous. Once again, I mention I don’t want to take a seat from a baby. Third time was a charm. They find me a nice comfortable seat between two rather large gentlemen. Dammit. My dream of first class luxury is dashed.
So I finally make it to Mexico City. I have a couple of hours to kill before the plane shows up, so I try to get online, which apparently is possible if you have a prodigy.mx account. I don’t. Nor do I speak enough spanish to figure out how to. So I start looking for a place to change money. I saw one early, but by the time I got back to it, realizing it was the only one, it was closed. I walk to my gate, sit down and, I suppose, look lost. A nice woman sitting nearby ask me a few question (mainly making sure I was really going to Quito) and we talk for a very short while. I get up again and lap the airport – it’s pretty big, but not LAX big. Eventually I realized the only store open could probably break my American Money, so get a bottle of water, and enough change to buy a phone card. With my shiny new bottle of water, I make a call to the US (Hey Peg.) Another side note – Living in Peg’s basement was a lot of fun, and we had a good time (my room in the basement had paper walls), but apparently it wasn’t for here. She had a party the very day I left. She claimed it was a cookie party, but I have my doubts – I mean the exact same day..?
Back to the story….I hear some movement and see people moving (my gate is the only one doing anything) and pass the woman with the interest in my well being. To keep a short story short, she gives me here phone number (which I didn’t ask for.) I guess that explained the look she gave me earlier. Now, not to brag (too much) I’ve been through LAX four times, and I’ve met three women (one of the four times I was with Angela.) Thems pretty good odds, and part of the reason I love L.A.
As far as the woman I met – she was very pretty, and spoke english quite well. She had two kids (9 and 11) and her own rather successful distribution business. I don’t really see her moving up to Seattle, and I’m sure as heck not moving to Quito. There are other reasons, but you’ll have to read on to find out.
So I get on the plane, it’s not that full, and life is getting better. I don’t expect to see my luggage, but I’ve got my precious (laptop.) Sleep comes easily, and I miss most of the five hour flight in slumber. The beverage guys comes by asking if I want anything to drink. Water. With Ice. Sure. Where, Oh Where is my personal soundtrack when I need it. It would have probably done the music scene from the shower scene from “that norman bates movie.)” The only trouble was I didn’t know it at the time.
The rest of the flight was OK, and we land without issue. I get my bag, which surprised me (and still does) and get into the country without issue. Taxi, hotel, it all goes well. My room is about $11/night. Ecuador uses the US dollar as currency, which is makes figuring out prices pretty easy. It’s about 6:30 a.m. when I get to the hotel. I’m pretty beat, so I sleep for a couple of hours.