I arrive at the airport ~10h00 and no one is at the Continental Gate. I press the button, nope. I'm finally told they are just finishing their morning coffee and will be out in a couple moments. 10h15 there was a swarm of activity and they setup inspection tables etc. They inspect my checked bag that I had so carefully packed and in the process of helping the girl close my bag I caught my finger nail on the zipper and torn part of it off .... OWWWWWW!!!!.... I get a concha (a yummy sweet bun) and a double espresso, and go into the secured area.
They inspect all my carryons and confiscate 4 AA batteries that I had in my fanny pack...WTF, the fanny pack cleared Canadian and American Customs as is .... ahh well. I grab a can of mineral water while I'm waiting in the gate area. Finally the Imigration booth opens and I get cleared and now just have to wait for my boarding call. I notice in one of the papers they were questioning the cost of the festival of lights (~20million pesos) compared to the benifits of tourism. I didn't read the article since I'm just not that useful in spanish. There are a whack of kids under 10 running around screaming at the top of their lungs, please god don't let them be on my flight.
Boarding time and they re-open all my carry ons?! WTF!! I get boarded, DAMN, the kids are on the plane, this is gonna be a long loud flight I can feel it. The plane is an Embraer 145, same as plane comming down, and it's full but atleast I'm in the row of singles. There was the cutie on the plan be she was a couple rows ahead of me and engrossed in her magazines. About an hour into the flight this 5 or 6 year old starts screaming at the top of her lungs trying to get her dads attention, and it continues until we land an IAH, wheres my dramamine. I thought the babies were going to be the issue nope, was the yard apes.
We land in Houston, now the adventure of American Customs. I get in the line and after about 20 minutes (not as bad as when I was returning from Ecuador,) I clear immigration and need to get my check luggage onto the conveyor. The dood checks the the routing tag and can't match it up with a flight, I point out there is an additional stop on the routing tag and he finds my flight. He tells me I need to go to gate D12, I reply gate "Delta 12" he says correct, and off I go. I clear my next round of customs and of course everything needs to be re-inspected and x-rayed but that's expected.
I make my way to terminal D and decide to get myself some grub. I sit at the bar in the Lone Star and order a burger, medium rare, and ask for a pint, the guy next to me suggests a very yummy dark ale, and we start chatting.
He was ex-military, but working now as a security contractor. He spent some time as a search and rescue diver, but was now on his way to Iraq. He just finished a holiday somewhere in the Caribbean, I can't recall exactly where. We had a good chat about life the universe and everything, and parted ways.
I got up and checked the board for my flight, D'OH!!!! I'm at the wrong gate, I left Terminal A to come to Terminal D, I needed to be in Terminal A, can't some dood tell the differenct between "Alpha 12" and "Delta 12".... Sigh.
I hop the inter-terminal bus and get back to A, and wait. I grab a coffee and danish and wait for my plane. Boarding time has been pushed back an 30 minutes. Meh, I have enough time between flights 30 minutes isn't a big deal, 30 minutes became an hour. Finally the plane arrives, they quickly turn it around and off we go.
We get airborne, and a young couple in first class has a baby that goes ballistic. For the first time in a long time, I was glad I was not in first class. I get an aisle seat (yeah)and the person next too me was reading a book on Custer. The book looked interesting and was taking the opinion that Custer missed the boat and should have listened to his scouts. We start talking, he was returning to Minnesota, from Houston, but more importantly.... He spends a couple weeks a year skiing in Banff and area. He is also an avid fly fisherman. We spend most of the flight talking about fishing and skiing options in the Western Rockies. The conversation eventually turned, and we talked about the Califorinacation of Bozeman Mt, and the tragedy of the loss of bear habitat that has resulted from that.
At the gate the flight staff ask people that were terminating in St Paul to wait until those of us with connections de-plane. I say my farewells and book for the terminal and check for my status of the final leg of my journey. OMG, I just about peed myself laughing, I'm getting back on the plane I just disembarked from. I hit the DQ grab a snack, and make my way back to the gate. They turn the plane around and it looks like I'll depart on time.The A319 was packed, (why?) but again I have an aisle seat. I'm sitting by the guy that seems to have a tickle in his throat. The whole freakin' flight he has these little coughing fits... DOOOD have some water, DOOOOOOOD please cover your mouth. His mom arranges to sit beside him and she isn't completely healthy either. We make it to YEG without inccident.
Another round of lines for Immigration, no big issues. I clean customs and flag a cab. It's -4C what a pleasant surprise. I get home, log into my email and let people know I'm home.
The flat is so empty, so quiet.... and will be that way until atleast Monday.
I survived my tummy is fairly intact, and I can't wait to return to that beautiful contry.....