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Published: July 29th 2015
CHUTES AND LADDERS
and other (bored) board games
Puerto Rico to Ecuador
While I was standing in line…the “foreigner” line, for the nth time, I thought how airline travel is much like the kid’s game, Chutes and Ladders. You spin: you move forward, but sometimes it’s backwards, or even sideways.
I started this leg of my trip (like an octopus) in Ponce, Puerto Rico. My flight left at 3 a.m. I don’t drive while I am traveling, although I may have to rethink that, so my landlady taxied me to the airport. We got there about 11 p.m. I was a little rested and it was still warm, although the airport itself was chilled with air conditioning.
The game: At first I was the only person in the airport; it is not very big. Then people started arriving in droves. A large family sat down on the bank of chairs I was sitting at. They completely filled the row and they were constantly getting up and down. The chairs were all connected and the whole row, including my chair, rocked, and jiggled, and jounced.
Draw a card: “You forgot your glasses in Bonnie’s vehicle.” Lucky for me I carry three pair when I travel, so I still had a good pair with me.
My turn: I watched long lines form and finally concluded that I should run my bags through the agriculture checking machine. They were looking for fruits and shells and other contaminating products.
Spin: Then I had to look for what was next. Because Puerto Rico is American I didn’t have to go through customs.
Move your game piece: But I did have to go through security, off with the shoes, drink up the water, open the hand luggage containing my underwater camera and underwater light and regulator. No beeps or whistles when I went through the scanner door. Took fifteen minutes to repack everything, but I had the time.
Not knowing what to do next I went to the Information desk and asked.
Lose a Turn: Stand in another line and get another piece of paper stamped, then go to the airline desk and get your tickets and check your bag.
Spin: Follow the arrows that say the Gates are that way. Now wait. Sit, thirsty (because you had to throw away your perfectly OK water bottle), and wait for your flight to be called.
Advance your game piece: This time I am in boarding Group One, but I don’t realize it until Group Three is called. Board the plane and fly back to Orlando, USA.
Lose a Turn: Wait five hours. During that time buy breakfast, cram your hand luggage and back pack in a miniscule restroom stall, wash and dry your hands without dripping on everything you are now carrying. Sit down to rest and Fall Asleep.
Spin: Wake just in time to scurry for your flight. Check the flight number at the Gate…oops! Wrong flight. Race back to the correct Gate just in time to board…Last Call.
Advance your game piece: Arrive in Bogata, Columbia.
Lose a turn: Wait five hours. Again, eat, restroom, read Kindle, hang out.
Spin: Board the airplane for the final flight, arriving in Quito at 11 p.m.
Lose a turn: Immigration line, for foreigners. Customs line, for foreigners.
Spin: Follow arrows to Baggage Claim.
Lose a turn: Wait.
Spin: Move on to Terminal exit. Stop at taxi stand and pay to go to your hotel.
Finish line: Concierge carries your luggage up the stairs to your room. Bottle of water. Can’t open it. Fall into bed and sleep four hours. Breakfast, croissants, lunchmeat, eggs, fresh juice, water and tea.
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