Friday, May 02, 2014

Purgatorial Terminals

The day to depart finally arrived. In a slightly out-of-order move that demonstrates the power of espresso martini, I had somehow managed to pack my bag after my gardening spree, so I was mostly ready to go, aside from the usual odds and ends I generally tend to forget to put together before a trip. It usually all makes it in the bag anyway. I got everything ready to go, piled into the car and sped off to Chicago. I spent the night at a pretty little hotel on the Mile with a lovely view of the lake. Since my first flight was leaving at 6 a.m. I needed to get to the airport at 4 and the drive from the house would have meant leaving around 2 a.m., so this seemed easier all around. 

This meant getting on the plane feeling very tired, but I managed to make it. I figured since I was going to be flying all day I’d probably manage to do some sleeping, but I think I was mistaken about the sleeping part, as I spent the better part of my time reading. When I landed at the first transfer point, I was feeling awake and wanting lunch.

Unfortunately, I was stranded in the back terminal from hell in Seattle. I mean, literally, it was like the terminal that time forgot. Aside from a poor food court that sported a Chick-fil-A, there was not much going on there. I wandered around the entire circumference of this circular airport, realizing very quickly that it was a very small terminal. I had closets that were bigger. Deciding on the bar, I looked again for the bar, which was named something like “Bigfoot's Paradise.” It featured much kitsch and Americana memorabilia, and I decided that I was just going to somehow have to buck up and deal. 

I sat near the bar, and even though it was early thought I might have a drink. While perusing a menu that was nothing but carbs piled upon other carbs (with carbs on top in case you were worried you were going to miss out on some carbs), I listened to what was going on behind the counter. Being that this was a quasi all-day-diner-bar, the menu included breakfast, lunch, and dinner items, representing the best of American cuisine, which meant Chinese, Mexican, and Cajun dishes were all featured somewhere on the menu, because America. Also, moonshine; lots of moonshine. 

The discussion that interested me was from the Chinese cooks behind the counter who kept calling out orders to each other in Chinese, until someone would walk by and shout out very loudly “English.”

“[speaking in Chinese]”

“Speak English!”

“Burritos and [Chinese]”

“I said speak English!”

“[Chinese speaking]”

“English.”

A Chinese waitress told the two older female cooks to try to speak in English and tried to explain to the guy that kept yelling English that as long as they cooked things right it shouldn’t matter. I listened along, amused. It didn’t stop the entire hour I sat there. 

Finally, boredom, the smell of bad food, and the worst Irish coffee in the history of Irish coffees later, I figured I'd go for a walk again. Around the circle I went, realizing at that point my body was charged and really wanted to work out. 

So I thought fuck it, found a small spot in the terminal, tossed off my bags and went into a short Tabata routine, much to the amusement of everyone around me. Fortunately, if Korea had done anything for me it was to teach me how to not care about people staring at me for doing things that come naturally. Sweaty, but none the worse for wear, I headed on to flight the second, and finally managed to get to flight the third after a wretched and an “I-Hate-It-So-Much” LAX experience. Apparently I had taken the purgatorial flight route on this trip, with layovers in the worst terminals in America. 

All in all, after an amount of time almost equivalent of flying to Korea, I finally managed to make my destination and touch down in Maui.

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