Monday, August 31, 2009

Alaska Trip Journal – Part 17

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009 (The Last Day, The road home)
6:15am came quicker than it should as the alarm sufficiently got me out of bed to begin what would more than likely be a long stretch of unpleasantness and my goal was to do all I could to get through it all and perhaps it will end up being just a little less unpleasant than I expect.
With bags all packed, I went up to the buffet realizing that after last evening’s big dinner, I was in no shape for a big breakfast. I settled on a bowl of grits, added a touch of salt and pepper, and that was that.
I was expected to disembark the ship by 8:30 so I obliged and went from the ship to the Canadian customs counter. The process was painless, smooth, and quick; kudos to the pleasant Canadian customs agent. I arrived in the port terminal with the intention of getting a taxi to the airport but found a shuttle service offering a considerably lower fare so I bout a ticket. Moments later, I was seated in a comfortable, air-conditioned motor coach en route to YVR.
The ride to the airport was pleasant and traffic free. A group of us, including the driver, engaged in conversation which made the excursion more pleasant than expected. The airport however, was the beginning of where my patience, and certainly my endurance, would be tested.
yvr1 Here I am at YVR and it’s 9:30am. The problem, my flight from here doesn’t depart until 2:30pm and it will still be a couple of hours before I can check in, drop the luggage, or go through U.S. customs. Even more painful, the thought that the flight still 5 hours from takeoff will leave me in Phoenix, Arizona – a 4 hour layover preceding  a 5 hour flight.
As I write this sentence, it is 10:13am and thus far, I don’t yet hate everyone or everything around me – but it’s still early…
Around 11something, I had noticed the US Airways counter open so I went over to the kiosk to check in. Of course the guy who got sunburned in Alaska wasn’t going to have it so easy. After entering my confirmation code into the kiosk and then seeing my name magically pop up on the screen, I thought I would soon become the possessor of a shiny new boarding pass – I was mistaken. being me can be special sometimes, like this occurrence when I touched the touch screen where it asked me to and a longer than expected “processing” indicator soon became an “unexpected error, please see a US Airways customer service representative for assistance. We are sorry for any inconvenience”…I should pursue a career in bad luck. BTW, I don’t believe for a second that anyone was actually sorry.
The line for customer service wasn’t too bad, the agent was courteous and friendly and happily took my credit card to handle the baggage fees (how fucking bogus of the airline industry). Of course, with U.S. customs on the horizon, I had to bring the luggage along for the process. I moved down on to the line to learn that it was actually three levels deep (yikes) but moving fairly quickly (thus far). Wait! How could I forget to tell this story of incredible coincidence?
Of course, you’ll need to wait until the next post – I am pooped and must go to bed…
To be continued…

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