My last blog got us landed and inside the destination airport which is OK, if that is where your travels end. You simply cart your carry on stuff following the arrows signs to the baggage carousel where your checked stuff hopefully will arrive, it usually does, but not always. We have lost our luggage in Spain for 6 days and even on a flight from Vancouver to Calgary!
After you get your stuff all together, you simply walk out the door, grab a cab, get your car, or in some places you can take a train or bus to town. You have survived the ride and are now home.
My blog version of the trip doesn’t end there however. This blog was dreamed up during our last flight from Calgary to Houston, and then change planes for the second leg into Miami Florida.
I know it sounds easy, and it is in many airports. We went through US Customs in Canada, so unlike some destinations, we don’t have to do that again until we want to come home.
George Bush International in Houston is not like smaller airports. No way. It is larger, a lot larger, so large in act that it is subdivide into 5 terminals, and one uses an automated train to shuttle between A through E. More on this in a moment, but when we got into the airport on our arrival, our onward flight was nowhere to be found on the Arrivals/Departures board! I was able to tell by the signage that we had landed in A Terminal, and I needed to find out where the flight we were taking was gated from. All I had was a United Flight number and a time of departure on a boarding pass. This is not cutting it.
Like just about everything today, all is electronic, even the departure boards. There is no place where one can speak to a “Helpful” person. There are hardly anybody with suits and badges around either. While looking around for somebody who might just possibly have an idea as to where we go, we spotted another rare airport sight, the restroom! which we needed before we flew again. Coming out of said comfort stop, I spotted one of those shuttles that are used to take people who need help in walking these long distances. It was driven by a guy who had stopped and was speaking with another employee, and I tagged him.
From there, it got quite easy. He asked what flight we wanted to know about, he hauled out his smart phone, typed in the flight number, and told me we would have to take the train, and that we wanted a gate in Terminal E. To do that we simply had to walk, along inside the terminal, until we came to the end, turn right, go up an incline and soon we would be at the train terminal. Wait for the train to come in, get on and stay on until it stops at Terminal E, and get off. All automated, no driver, conductor even the nice person who announces the station and the opening and closing of the doors is all automated.
Onto the train we hop, carrying our carry on stuff, since our checked bags are supposed to go all the way to Miami without us ever seeing them after checking them in Calgary. We have faith that they will make it, remembering 3 airports and 3 planes from Calgary to Fairbanks Alaska in one day, tiring to be sure, but the bags all arrived on the same plane we did!
Anyway I digress, We stop along the way at each terminal, and during the ride we see new construction involving parking and buildings, as if the place was not big enough already. Gonna need 2 trains soon! Finally we get to Terminal E, we get off and there is a departure board and lo and behold our flight is listed just where the nice young man said it would be! A glance to the signage tells us that we just have to follow the signs to our gate, and even that is pretty close to the station. We found it! Now we just have to wait until they call the flight. We can people watch.
All along since we got off the plane coming in, we have not seen too many familiar places to get a bite to eat, but I do seem to recall a Subway a long way back there, but I would never find it now. Ah, this place fairly near our gate looks like it might be OK, a kind of a Mexican place so we ordered what we thought was a kind of burrito thing, decided that one of them would do for the 2 of us. It tasted OK, and filled the gut, but it looked like a burrito and the beans and the guacamole had hit a blender before it hit the plate. Must be the American way! Who can argue with the locals about Mexican food when they are so far south in Texas. Still cost us $25.00 plus the difference in money that was running about $1.42 on the dollar. For lunch in an airport. Right.
With enough food to tide us over for the next few hours we go and wait at the flight gate, and they start calling the seats right on time. Gotta give United Airlines credit for being on time for boarding and arrivals and take-offs at each stop.
The plane is full, it is a Boeing 737, 3 seats across on each side of the aisle, and we got our carry on stuff in the overhead where we are sitting. All is well, and shortly we get to push back from the gate and in minutes we are heading for take off, all on time. Sweet.
This flight was uneventful except for the last 100 miles, when thankfully the pilot noticed a very large storm ahead of us, and diverted south to Key West to avoid it. The storm turned out to be a major one we learned later and involved a lot of ground damage from a tornado. In any event it was rough going for the last part of the flight, but the landing was OK.
We filed out of the plane, found the baggage carousel after a long walk, and got our bags right away, and headed out to follow Plan A, which was to grab a cab and go to our hotel for the night.
A bit of explanation is in order. We could have been met by a Cruise representative and have used a hotel of their choosing for about $450.00 plus tax for the night that would have included the baggage transfer to said hotel, but we saved a couple of hundred by taking a Best Western Plus motel close to the airport. They will pick you up at the airport, but you need to call them when you get in and then you will wait a half hour for them to arrive. We chose the motel option, and went for the cab.
The line up for the cab was long, but there were a ton of yellow cabs coming into the line all the time, no worries. There was a kind of crew doing taxi master, something like a dock master controlling and hailing cabs, all the while directing you to the next vacant cab. We got to the taxi master, and he politely asked where we wanted to go, and he politely told us we had to wait across the road until a Blue cab came by. Blue cabs went in the local area, Yellow cabs were for those going out side of the local area. Thanks. The cost was $20.00, $17.00 for the ride flat rate and $3.00 included for the tip. He called for one of them and we walked just across the street, and a few blue cabs came by, and I tried hailing them but they kept going until finally one stopped, and we had a good ride to our motel.
We got checked in, arranged for the shuttle in the morning to take us to the ship, paid for the shuttle, and asked the desk where their restaurant was. It wasn’t. They don’t have one. They have an eating area, but it opens at 6 am for the free breakfast for the folks like us going on a cruise.
This does not make me happy, in that after a day of flying and airports, I rather enjoy having a quiet drink in a nice dining room, sampling the local cuisine, as a nice start to a wonderful cruise. I think you would agree. The desk suggested that there was a place we might like a few blocks to the right of the entrance. The name she used was in English, but English was her second language, so I missed the name.
The streets are dark, the footing poor, but we are hungry and tired, but we persevere. The street ends and we cross the road and the only thing in sight is a Burger King. So our nice dinner is reduced to a Whopper with cheese, and no candles and no wine. Life gets tough sometimes.
We wander back to the motel, go to the room and go to bed. The room is very clean, and roomy. Not many of the usual amenities to be found in the bathroom, oh, there is toilet paper, but the shampoos and such are nowhere to be found. It is very quiet, and we start to wonder if there is anybody else in the place.
Our pickup is 10:30 tomorrow morning, we want to get breakfast too, and we are tired so we simply read for a bit, and turn in for the night.
The next blog will deal with the morning, transport to the ship checking in and boarding.
TODAY’S WEB PAGE
This video is by a Florida University professor who tells the scary part of the growth of the Muslims in America. Very well told. Take a look: Muslims in America
A much nicer video called, So God Made a Dog. Enjoy! Dog
You may have seen the old method of saving lives using CPR, but there is now a better way, this short video will bring you up to date. Check it out: CPR
The Glasgow Rangers manager flies to Kabul to watch a young Afghani play football, is suitably impressed and arranges for him to come over.
Two weeks later Rangers are 4-0 down to Celtic with only 20 minutes left. The manager gives the young Afghani striker the nod and on he goes.
The lad is a sensation, scores 5 goals in 20 minutes and wins the game for Rangers Emoji The fans are delighted, the players and coaches are delighted and the media love the new star.
When the player comes off the pitch he phones his mum to tell her about his first day in Scottish football. ‘Hello mum, guess what? I played for 20 minutes today, we were 4-0 down but I scored 5 and we won. Everybody loves me, the fans, the media, they all love me.’
‘Wonderful,’ says his mum, ‘Let me tell you about my day. Your father got shot in the street and robbed, your sister and I were ambushed, raped and beaten and your brother has joined a gang of looters. And all while you were having such great time.’
The young lad is very upset. ‘What can I say mum, but I’m really sorry.’
‘Sorry?!!! Sorry’ shouts his mum. ‘It’s your bloody fault we came to Glasgow in the first place.’
Have a Great Day,and be nice to one another.