looking for a few good ideas

  amongst the irregular verbiage

NZ Trip: Leavings

I'm sitting against a wall in Terminal 2 in LAX. It's 5:51pm, and my flight out across the Pacific doesn't leave until 8:45pm, so I've hunted down a power point and I'm huddled down on the floor with my laptop in the lee of a trash can.

True to form, I didn't get here without a minor upset.... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

When I woke up this morning I still hadn't packed, although I had a good idea what clothes I wanted to take, and where the presents were going to be stored, and before breakfast I was laying everything out on the bed, figuring out how to stow it all in the most compact fashion. Even though I'll be away for two weeks, I decided up front that I should be able to pack everything in a regular sized bag acceptable as carry-on. Even though I was planning to put it in as checked baggage for this trip, on later flights I wanted to have the choice of carry-on, if possible.

It all fit. I'm not taking a spare pair of shoes. If something happens, I'll buy a pair in New Zealand.

During breakfast I made sure my current email files were transferred to Michiba, my laptop (on which I am writing) and ensured that my web diary software - CityDesk - was operational and ship-shape.

I was supposed to give the cats their anti-flea dose this morning but I completely forgot. I even let Kami out the front door, thus removing any possibility of getting that chore done before we had to leave.

We drove to the airport together way ahead of time, planning to have lunch together before I went through security, but there must have been an accident in the 215 tunnel because just before we go into the tunnel under the runway we were narrowed down to one lane and we sat there in a minor traffic jam, wondering if we would have time for lunch.

As it turned out, it was fine - it *was* an accident, but the delay wasn't long and we parked at 1:00pm with plenty of time to check in, have lunch, before I had to be at the gate by 3:47.

The line at the check-in desks looked forboding but it was a quick check-in, because periodically they would call out the next urgent flight and a bunch of people would leave the queue and get in a separate, priority line.

They no longer take checked-in baggage behind the counter on a conveyor belt. Instead, you take the bags yourself over to an X-ray/Search station where, presumably, they X-ray and search your bags before sending them on their way. I guess there isn't room for the equipment behind the check-in counters.

We had lunch at Don Alesandro's upstairs, which was very pleasant. I had a strong craving for Nachos but we agreed that it wasn't to be recommended. I chose something else. A Taco Ensalada,  No beans.

Eventually I had to leave Lisa behind and go through the security check and on to my gate. Wah!

Security was not crowded at all. They asked that I take my laptop out of its bag and place it in a separate grey tray, along with my jacket, shoes, keys, watch...

I walked through the metal detector feeling very naked. Everyone seems to know how ineffective this rigamarole is - I could have had ceramic knives taped to my thighs, for example - but we still do it. Oh well.

The dumb part was collecting my laptop, bag, shoes, keys, watch, jacket from the rear end of the X-ray machine and trying not to drop something as I hobbled over to a very distant chair to reassemble myself.

The flight to LAX was hot, and there was almost no airconditioning. It was also very turbulent at the beginning, and I was regretting those tacos. I didn't throw up, but my normally cast-iron stomach was complaining.

The plane arrived at Terminal 7. I had a slip of paper from the checkout clerk that said that in order to get to my connecting flight at Terminal 2, I would need to exit the terminal to the street and take a courtesy shuttle bus to Terminal 2. Instead, I accidently took a courtesy shuttle bus to the airport Car Park (Lot C) instead. It even said "Lot C" on the destination panel, but I only saw "Courtesy Shuttle Bus".

I was not the only person to have done this. (It seems that you're either on the bus, or off the bus, or in my case, on the wrong bus.)

Luckily it was only a matter of changing buses at the car park depot and travelling back to the airport, a matter of only 10 minutes lost. (It filled me with confidence for the rest of the journey - Not.)

I had to go through another security check before I could get to the gates at Terminal 2, and this time they asked that I take my belt off as well!  Slippers and elastic pants next time.

Argh, I hate travelling without Lisa. I miss her terribly. Even though it is wonderfully cool in the air-conditioning of the airport terminal, the humidity in LA is killing me  - I'm sweating all over the laptop keys.

Time to stop writing - looks like they'll be calling the flight soon.