And then the real Airport Adventure began!
As Jack slept in a chair in the over-crowded and over-air conditioned waiting area at Gate 119, I heard the first announcement: our plane was having mechanical difficulties. More information at 2.
At 1:30 they began distributing airline-issue pillows and blankets (but no information). Not a good sign!
At 2:30 they began distributing food and drink. Still no information - but lots of speculation!
Finally, at about 3 a.m. Came the announcement: our flight would not depart for another twelve hours - hopefully at 3 p.m.! AND - although they had called around to all the hotels in the area, there were no rooms available, so... Chaos ensued as about half the tired, cold passengers began muttering darkly (and sometimes not muttering, but rather very loudly and vehemently expressing themselves!) even as staff tried to reassure everyone and talk about breakfast vouchers, re-booking connections, and passenger compensation...
Soon, people began to resign themselves and tried to make themselves comfortable on chairs or the floor... Actually, it was quite an adventure (in spite of the inconvenience) and I'd certainly rather fly in a mechanically sound plane! I did appreciate the fact that I had "front-loaded" our tour with an extra day's cushion for getting acclimated, so we weren't really sacrificing a lot by our late arrival... I had acquired a "second wind" in the course of the night/morning and its serial announcements, so I didn't sleep. quite a nice community developed among the travelers stranded at Gate 119, and our common plight created a bond and a kind of intimacy as we shared hopes, dreams, travel plans, experiences, and even watching one another's sleeping children so we could take bathroom breaks! Jack slept well (if upright!) until about 5 a.m. until awakened by a phone call from Erin, who had received my texts of status updates, called... Ron was leaving on a business trip on a 7 a.m. flight, so after he was dropped at his terminal, his car picked us up and took us back to Erin's for the morning. I slept, and Jack carried on "life as usual" even going to his Saturday swim lesson!
The afternoon found us back at the airport - same gate! - and I almost had the feeling I was being reunited with old friends! We finally left LA about 4:15 (Jack was asleep in his seat before the plane had taxied to the runway!) and, because there was an empty seat next to us, he could stretch out a bit!
And everything else began to fall into place nicely: the lines at immigration weren't long, we found our luggage quickly and easily, our car was waiting to pick us up, and the hotel (lovely, and right across from the water in Lima) even had two lovely "snack trays" in our room in case we were hungry after our ordeal! (Of course, it was 4 in the morning by the time we finally got to our hotel!). And now our Peruvian Adventure really does begin!
Sigh. The only photos (of people, including Jack) wrapped in airline-issued blankets and sleeping own chairs or the floor, are in my cell phone, and I can't figure out how to load them to my blog, so you'll just have to use your imagination!
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