Finally, a new journey has begun.
Next stops: Toronto, Houston, and the jungles of Central America.
Since I have a ton of time on my hands between flights, I may as well play dear diary for a while, though I can’t promise the ramble will be meaningful. Nah, that’s not true, I always find something amusing or irritating to share. Let’s see what unfolds…
First leg, London to Toronto. Check-in was quick and painless. My carry-on glided effortlessly through the X-ray machine, and I did the same through the the metal detector, without a single asshole giving me attitude or grief, or enforcing full body irradiation. Thumbs up to Canada. But be warned, if you have future air travel planned, and haven’t been through the process in a while, I would highly recommend boning up on the endless nonsensical rules that are currently in place before you check your backpack or luggage into Big Brother’s cargo hold.
Aside from refusing to fly, there’s not much you can do to skirt their rules. You’d be wise to play the “better safe than sorry” game if you’d like to get to your destination a happy camper. My belongings got unceremoniously rifled through the last time I traveled the States, in a loving “courtesy check,” so the tag said. But because of their diligence, it’s likely they averted a potentially nightmarish air incident by confiscating my strike-anywhere matches. Those things are always setting themselves on fire for no reason…
Interesting to note, I just finished reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, by Hunter S. Thompson. His entertaining, yet completely insane and twisted tales reminded me just how drastically different the world of the 70’s was. Things were more lax back then, obviously, but rules were still in place. The difference was they existed for general safety, not to make every single aspect of our lives a thing to fear, stress, or be paranoid about. Oppression from a rapidly growing police-state hasn’t made matters better.
50 years later, attempting to bring bottled water in your knapsack is cause for a miserable TSA employee to consider snapping on latex gloves. I’m writing this post in sections, and after my experience with American customs, my short-lived, happy-go-lucky-security-experience high has been taken down several dozen notches. If you have any international travel planned, I highly recommend paying the extra couple bucks to skirt a layover in the States. Jesus, it’s gotten insane.
It really sucks a lot of fun out of things. I’ve encountered some seriously miserable people grouped together in the Toronto to Houston stint. A few of these individuals were clearly on the verge of climbing a small tower toting a high-powered rifle with the intention of loosing a few rounds on the baggage-carrying public. I don’t feel happy stereotyping the Americans, but they’re one rude, pissed off bunch. No matter how politely you treat them, they seem to be launching daggers from their eyes every move you make, and if you’re unsure of any airport protocol minutia, be prepared for additional venom. A far cry from the professionalism of the Canadian lot.
But I can’t let people who have made poor vocational choices get me down. The flight to Houston was rammed full, but carried off without a hitch. During a spell of crazy turbulence, I had a couple interesting thoughts. The first was, “Wow, wouldn’t it be awesome if we went down right now in a blazing fireball?” The second was, “Wow, I bet I’m the only one thinking it would be awesome if we went down right now in a crazy fireball!”
Somewhere along the road of life I became a complete nutjob. It happened so gradually that I’ll catch myself off guard from time to time. I won’t mention my thoughts from the earlier Bombardier flight about geese tearing through the prop and spattering blood on my window, before the shrapnel tore a hole through the cabin causing our imminent demise. That one might disturb you.
See? I told you the ramble would be amusing. A guess a 14-hour layover is a great opportunity to reflect on weird stuff.
Sleeping in the baggage claim area overnight while country music and cyclical airport announcements play endlessly in the background is definitely a unique experience. My favourite “food-for-thought” consideration crackling through the speakers has been:
“Do not be persuaded by strangers you do not know well to bring items aboard the flight.”
Apparently there are degrees of knowing a stranger. And who can resist their mysterious charm? In the past, I’ll admit to having been sweet-talked by a questionable burqa-clad babe into carrying a couple pipe-bombs in my backpack. What can I say? I’m a sucker for hot eyes…
American gruff and paranoia aside, my spirits were picked up immensely by stepping outside the terminal into the unexpected balmy and humid 70 degree weather. Sweet! My other highlight was a teeny automatic 3-car underground train you could ride across the expanse of the large airport. After noticing I was riding for fun instead of having a destination, more of the nutjob realizations surfaced. Meh, so what. Acting like a 5-year-old seems to be a useful strategy from time to time.
Okay, that’s all for now, dear diary. I’ll spare you any more fluff writing, and post when I have something legitimate to say. I have no idea how sporadic or scarce power sources/wi-fi might become down the road, so Daily Bread may start suffering slow rises. Not to worry though, it’ll just be that much tastier once baked, since I always use “sour” dough. Ba dum tsss! Or whatever a drum sounds like after a bad joke…
Almost time for more security checks. Palm trees to follow shortly after. No need to worry about adjusting half-naked to a stronger sun — after 3 full-body x-rays, people around here have already complimented my beautiful glow.