My journey home Saturday was pretty uneventful. The flight from Bolivia was packed.
When I left Santa Cruz, it was still in the midst of a surazo, or a cold front caused by winds from the south. The last day and half or so were somewhat chilly, but I got by with two layers of short-sleeved shirts and a pair of blue jeans.
My brother-in-law Juan drove Yoli, the girls and I to Viru Viru International Airport. I had noticed a potential problem when I checked our flight itineraries online: I was the one listed as having a lap baby. But this obviously wouldn’t be true for the flight home. Anyway the AA people at the airport assured us this wouldn’t be a problem when Yoli returns home next week.
Jadzia cried a bit when we said goodbye, but I reminded her she had some fun things to do. She was invited to attend a birthday on Saturday, for one. This seemed to cheer her up.
It’s tough to leave the girls behind. I hope they treat Yoli well, but I know they can be more than a handful.
I slept a little on the plane, but not much. Thankfully I got both breakfast and lunch on the flight. It is a totally different experience making that transcontinental air crossing by day. I was able to see a lot of amazing landscapes as we flew over South America, but not until about halfway through the flight because of cloud cover. I saw beautiful mountain vistas and a lot of swollen rivers and flooded-out lands … and of course the ocean and islands.
I passed my five-hour layover in Miami much the same as on the trip down: I watched a movie on the computer. But I killed a lot of time going through immigration and customs, etc. You have to pick up your checked baggage and check it again when you come to Miami from an international flight. On this occasion, some airport dudes were grabbing bags from off the carousel and putting them into random piles. I couldn’t find two of my items and I had to keep going in circles, watching the carousel while also looking over all these piles. They both turned out to be in different piles.
During my movie-watching at Gate 30 (the mostly-empty, defunct gate I mentioned at the beginning of our trip) there was a teen-looking kid next to me who also apparently had come from Santa Cruz. He described various adventures in loud detail on his cellphone. Among his exploits: drinking lots of “Bolivian rum,” getting his lip cut open by some guy with a broken bottle, and stealing a street sign that bore his surname because the street was named for his grandfather or great-grandfather and “so the sign basically belonged to my family.” In this latter tale, a Bolivian police officer saw what he did and chased him. The kid claimed to have spent “10 bolivianos” using various taxis to elude the police. I’m sure his Bolivian forefather would have been very proud.
Now I’m back home. I’m still tired and Ive got to head to work soon. I’m also still a bit foggy … I keep expecting to see all the buses on the street, or yards with walls topped y barbed wire and broken glass, or people soldering on the streets, or lots of palm trees. Not anymore. Not til next time.