Flip Flop Flying

Day fifteen

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Last sunrise before heading back to Mexico. I was up at 5.30, so got to see it all. Sat at the end of the pier watching some clouds on the horizon, which first gave up a red sliver, and within the space of two minutes gave way to the complete red sun.

A quick chug down of coffee, and we were in the car heading back to Belize City. After five relaxing days at the beach, it was nice to get one last journey where I could see some jungle. The time of day meant we spent a lot of time behind school buses, taking children from tiny villages to do some book learnin’.

We passed a man trying to hitch a ride outside of Hattieville prison. Good luck with that one, dude. Although, I’m fairly sure the one place an escaped prisoner would be stood around trying to hitch a ride is directly outside the prison he just escaped from.

Dropped off the car, into the terminal. Despite being ready for an argument about the exit fee a couple of days ago, I just couldn’t be arsed when it came down to it. I just coughed up the US dollars like a compliant tourist.

I’d be interested to know why security is different at different airports. Some allow cigarette lighters, some don’t. Shoes off or on?

No air conditioning in the departure lounge. Bit sweaty. Nipped into the duty free shop a couple of times to make use of their A/C and to absent mindedly look at bottles of alcohol that I can never be arsed to buy (carry, more truthfully), and ther fine fine fine selection of Swarovski crystal animals.

Spent my last Belizean dollars, no point in having it any more. Truthfully, as nice as Belize can be in places, this will probably be the last visit for a while. Too many other places I’ve not been to to bother going again any time soon. Plus, next time I need some beach, Mexico is likely a cheaper option. And the quesadillas are better.

Bought an airport coffee. Basic rule of life: if adding enough milk to a paper cup of coffee to make it look at least semi-appetising shade of brown, if that makes the cup so full that it is impossible to lift without spilling it and scolding your fingers, the coffee is gonna be horrible.

Bought a bottle of Marie Sharp’s habanero sauce with the last remaining dollars. And with that it was time to bid farewell to Kraig and Barbara. Lovely to spend time with friends, and hopefully the next time I see them it will be because the US visa people has decided I can visit the country again.

Guy next to me on the first of my three flights (Belize City to San Salvador; to San Jose; and then to Mexico City) had a baseball cap with a curvy, presumably naked, women on it with the word “Skin” across it in a gothic font. We did okay with sharing the arm rest, despite the occasional uncomfortable feeling of his arm hairs on my arm. Presumably, it was the same for him with my arm hairs. Sadly, though, he kinda had bad breath, and when he dozed off for twenty minutes or so, he kinda did so with an open mouth, breathing in my direction.

I lost my Swiss Army knife midway through the vacation. It’s somewhere in Belize. Hopefully someone finds it as useful as I did. Just an object, I know, but it was my object. I bought it in a hardware store on Schoenhauser Allee in Berlin, and it went everywhere with me for the last three years. It was always on my desk when I was working and I genuinely used it every day for something. Obviously, I can get a new one, but, y’know, sentimental value.

When we were coming in to San Salvador airport, the flight flew past the city so it could land coming from the west. Looking out of the window, a guy near me exclaimed loudly, “That’s the old Pacific Ocean right there.” No shit.

An hour or so layover. Back to the bar where smoking is allowed. A couple of beers. A Salvadorean brand, Pilsener. S’alright.

I’ve never spent any time in El Salvador, but this was my sixth time flying through the airport. And each time I’ve been struck, that there are some truly beautiful women here. Every person’s tastes are different, but for me, I really should plan a vacation in El Salvador.

Sat in the lounge waiting to board, staring out at the skywalk, I had one of those moments where you realise the vastness of the world: there are companies out there that make skywalks. There are companies out there that make exit signs. Cotton reels. Toothpicks. Those little plastic battery operated fans. Paperclips. So many people working all over the world making more and more stuff. Still, as long as there’s a company out there that still make porno playing cards, we’re gonna be alright as a species, I reckon.

Rows one, two, and three board first. Then bunches of ten rows, working from the back to the front. It’s always an interesting socialogical moment boarding a plane. You look at the first class passengers, they look at you. They look smug, and seem to look down on the plebs. But maybe that’s all in my mind. That little curtain, though, allows the rest of us to know who to kill first when the revolution comes.

I was flying with an airline called Taca which, presumably, is the feminine form of taco. It’s kind of churlish to complain about specific airlines; on the whole, they all suck in some regard, but, the miserable cunt at the Taca desk in Belize gave me middle seats on two of the three flights even though both of those flights were barely half full. Twat. (Of course, as soon as the seatbelt signs were turned off, I was up and out to window seats near the back.)

And on the booking confirmation, there needs to be some sort of law that you simply can not list “brunch” as the meal and serve a teeny packet of nuts. That is not fucking brunch. If we were to employ the same nomenclature standards to the flight itself, it’d mean I’d be using a pogo stick to get to Mexico.

Thankfully, having three flights afforded me the chance to have brunch twice and an evening meal. The second brunch was different. Maybe because it was 3pm and no-one eats brunch at that time of day. Brunch number two was a bread roll with slices of carrot inside. And something else. Something viscous. No idea what it was, though. Like gravy dressed up as melted cheese at a fancy dress party.

And another thing, Taca: clean your fucking windows. In this world where the governments and their idiotic, theatrical attempts to persuade us we are safe has taken the vast majority of the joy out of flying, looking out of the window at clouds, lakes, fields, and towns is one of the few things left to enjoy. Gimme a rag and some Windolene and I’ll do my own window if it’s that much fucking trouble. We certainly can’t enjoy the entertainment on this flight, restricted as we are to drop-down screens showing “Two and a Half Men.” Seriously. When was the last time you went on a flight and that paltry show wasn’t on one of the channels?

As the flight approached San Jose, I took some photos out of the window. Mostly because I’d noticed a setting for aerial photos and I wanted to compare normal vs. aerial settings. Not bad, as it goes. Boosted the contrast a bit and seemed to be more colourful. Interestingly, though, when I chose that setting, a message came up on the camera screen: “Turn off the camera during takeoff and landing. Follow the instruction of cabin attendant.” I don’t like an inanimate object telling me what to do. So I took a couple of pics after we’d been told to turn off electronic devices, just to show my camera who’s the boss.

Never been to Costa Rica. But now I can say I’ve been on Costa Rican land. In the San Jose airport, anyway. Had two hours to kill before the third flight. Had a mooch around. And, oooh, a sign for a smoking bar. It was called Nimbus Lounge. Lots of blue light and lots of smokers. They didn’t seem to stop people from standing inside the door to chug down a quick cig, but I sat down. Sitting down, you had to spend a minimum of three dollars. I ordered a domestic beer. Imperial. Nowt special. Five bastard dollars, though. I only had twenty US dollars with me. I’d spent eight in San Salvador. And this five left me with..? Anyone? Anyone? Yes, Charlie? “Seven dollars, Sir.” Correct. Still, the TV was playing “In a Big Country” by Big Country, which I quite like. It soon switched stuff I didn’t know. Spent five of those dollars on a double cheeseburger from Burger King and left for my final leg of the trip with two useless dollars in my pocket.

Nothing even worth mentioning about the flight to Distrito Federal, really. Moved from my middle seat to an empty row of seats to spread out a bit. Watched an episode of “CSI: Miami” and typed these words whilst listening to Vampire Weekend’s second album which I’m enjoying more and more. May not have the highlights of the first record, but on the whole, way more consistent. I’m being told to put my seat in its upright position now. Mexico City beckons.

Written by Craig

February 3rd, 2011 at 12:07 am

Posted in Travel

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