Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day 1 -- México 2008 -- Yeg to SLP

YEG to MSP

It's -21 and far too early, I forget there is a second 5:00 durring the day.  My bags are packed and I've called for a cab to get me to the airport.  I waited for 15 minutes and the cab finally arrived.  It's dark and there was an abundance of ice crystals in the air.  The cabbie is happy for an airport run to start the day ( ~$50 CAD fare.)  We start heading down Calgary Trail and he suggests a detour to 91st claiming issues on further south -- in retrospect I think he was just trying to pad the meter -- so we cut over to 91st via the Whitemud, the streets were in ok winter conditions but the dude is driving a little more conservative that I expected, but ok.  Then we had to stop for gas, freaking moron.  My 90 minute buffer is quickly eroding as this idiot is fussing around.


I finally get to the Edmonton International (YEG) and check in, the flight is full because weather on each of the coasts has caused issues, NWA was picking up the slack so the flight was full.  The A319 was a cattle car and I got stuck in a middle seat and was sitting beside the African Lady on route to who knows where ( I suspect NYC and then ??)  Unfortunately she didn't speak English, or French, or Spanish, Swedish so communication was very difficult between her, myself and the airline staff.  I'm barely functional in any language either, but I can ask a few questions and get myself food or drink in a couple ways.  Eventually through a mixture of mime and charades the lady and I were able to at least get her beverages etc.  She was wearing the most exquisite gold jewelry, and I wish I had unpacked my camera from the overhead bins... hindsight... ahh well.

We arrive in St. Paul on time it's 10F (-12C) a perfectly respectable December day by my standards, and not that horrible by Minnesota standards either.  Bright sun, clear sky what more could you ask for?  I grab a coffee and a scone from Starbucks while I wait for my next hop.  I'm watching the news, there is 3" (7.5cm) of snow in Los Vegas.  I guess hell was freezing over, I'm on my second international trip in 2 years, and there is snow in Vegas.  That's gotta make a mess of air traffic all over. 
I hop onto my next A319, again a middle seat (sigh.....) There is the cute little Carribean girl with a rainbow of colours of berettes in her hair and her dad in the row in front of me.  My aislemates, some younger dude, and the old rancher. 


The Rancher was very interesting, I looked at his mitts and said "Those look like the hands of a rancher."  He got this big grin on his face and said they sure are. So we spent then next couple of hours chatting.  He was from Montana and on his way to visit his kids.  His ranch was 70miles west of Great Falls, but he has long since retired (he was in his late 80s).  His wife was from Banff (smallish world eh!?)  Before he converted to raising Angus, he sold his Simmental herd to a rancher near High Prairie, so he was no stranger to Albertans.  He also tried a small herd of Canchim, but ultimately ended up raising Angus.


My other aislemate slept until ~25 minutes out of IAH so didn't interact with him much.  Unfortunately for me there was this poor woman behind me with a little snot machine that kept freaking out durring the trip. 

IAH to SLP

It was 71F (~22C) in Houtson, but the humidity, OMG!!! I'm hungry and my ears hurt and now I'm uncomfortable.  I stroll around and decide to eat at the Chilis, my god was it slow, everyone moving at quarter speed.  Maybe I'll get lucky and get to sit in the section with the amazingly cute latina waitress.  Nope!! Some slow, muffin top, white chick. I finally manage to order and a lady with her dog carryon was sitting across from me so I chatted with her for a couple moments.  All said and done, I noticed half a dozen dogs as carryons in Houston.  Travelling with pets seems to be pretty popular.  IAH was a zoo, snow in vegas, heavy fog in Houston, and a handful of issues on the east coast had people backed up and cranky.

I don't understand why people are freaking out against the poor CSRs standing at the desks.  They are going as fast as they can, and it's not the CSRs fault the weather messed up your flight or connection.  Get a grip, if you are nice to them they will help you.  I learned this when I got snow delayed comming back from Quito.  I was nice to the CSR, I worked with them to find a solution without freaking out, and they upgraded me to First Class for being so cooperative.


While sitting in IAH I tried using one of the WiFi kiosks but the supid credit card proccessing engine didn't ask me for me CCV2 code so I could validate my Mastercard and use the wifi.  A four hour lay over without internet sucked.  There were theese carts helping people get around and there was this one older black lady "'Scuse cart please, 'scuse cart please" was just too funny.  Because of all the delays there were far too many ugly crying babies in the chaos of the gate.  I'm sorry, a shave monkey screetching at the top of it's lungs just grates on my nervs, and parents seem to be desensitised against it.  I'm not!! I was ready to find a bunch of dramamine, and just dose the kids to shut them the hell up.

Finally get boarded, an Embraer ERJ-145, little thing with no head room, and full.  Our flight attendant was a blast.  He made the flight quite enjoyable.  One of the crying babies from the gate was in the aisle in front of me.  But I managed to make him laugh and the parents were so sorry, but I saw they were making an effort so I was able to cut them some slack. 

I clear customs and Nelvin gave me ride to the hotel.  I was staying at the "Hotel California" but not the one of Eagle's Fame in Cabo, I don't even think this is actually affiliated with that hotel in anyway. I drop my bags off, and we head out for tacos.  I have a couple types of tacos, with a couple different kinds of meats.  I'm so happy with my attempt at tacos el pastor now that I've had the real deal. 


It's official I'm in México.... my adventure begins.

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