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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 1

Ever since my last day at work, I've been getting less and less sleep.  With a full blown case of procrastination, I ended up packing up and cleaning my apartment until late Monday.  Tuesday and Wednesday flew by, and it wasn't long until I found myself loading my backpack with the late night infomercials as background noise.  With the last item packed in, I couldn't help but smile to myself. Exhausted, I plopped down and within what felt like 5 minutes, the obnoxiously loud Marimba blared from my phone. 

I woke up to the early morning gray shining through the curtains.  By the time I got ready, my cab driver was already outside waiting impatiently. I smiled at him to ease the tension,  but it was no use. 

Within 20 minutes I was sitting on the bus bound for NYC.  I was ready to take advantage of the bus ride to sleep. However, the bus driver's love for sudden accelerations and decelerations put an end to that. If SBS stands for shaking baby syndrome, then there should be a new one for shaking bus syndrome.

Following the jerky bus ride up to the big apple was an hour through the city's arteries on a subway and bus to LaGuardia.  The subway train happened to be the same one I rode on everyday in commuting between my abode in Queens and my employer's NY office. Nostalgia kicked in, but I was too sleep deprived to dwell on it.  I arrived at my stop, and as I walked out of the subway station, the bus heading to LaGuardia was in the process of pulling out. With that, I found myself sitting on a bench for the next 20 minutes, during which the subway tracks hovering above me, shaken by passing trains, showered leftover rain water on the poor souls unlucky enough to sit right below. 

The bus ride to the airport was uneventful, as was the 10 min check-in process for international flights. The Spirit agent was kind enough to get me a seat on an earlier flight to Fort Lauderdale.  Little did I know, that flight change was a mistake. 

With a quick stop at DD for breakfast and a brief chat with a fellow who lived in Peru for two years, I was lined up for boarding. As expected, I dozed off the minute I sat down. Waking intermittently to the booming voice of the pilot telling passengers to turn off their electronics, I was oblivious to the fact that we had been sitting on the runway for a while. The pilot eventually came on to inform us that work was being done on the runway. I went back to sleep but woke up again when the engines roared to life. As the plane started speeding down the runway for takeoff, I counted the number of planes we were speeding past,  waiting for their turn after us. I chuckled, thinking the last plane had at least another ten minute wait. Then, disappointment hit me as quickly as the plane slowed down. Instead of lifting the nose into the air, the pilot brought the plane to a crawl as we turned back towards the gate. After 20 minutes of silence, we were informed by the gatekeepers that some passengers reported an "ominous smell" and the pilot felt compelled to abort takeoff for our safety. And so began the slow drain of my patience, less so from the delay and more from my fellow passengers who believed - to a religious degree - that they were entitled to all sort of ridiculous benefits. 

After being shunned away by a gate agent when I tried to move myself back to my original flight, I took a walk around the terminal to walk it off. 

Coincidentally, the agent who checked me in was also working at the gate.  She overheard my conversation with the other agent, and surprised me when she walked up and handed me boarding passes for my original flight. Cue the music, hallelujah. 

After sitting through nearly three hours with two guys who couldn't stop talking at an annoyingly loud volume, I'm finally on the plane to Managua...

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