Below is Part 2 of our “Flying to America” adventure. You can find Part 1 here
When arriving in the good ol US of A from a foreign country, the traveler often has the good fortune to be flying further into the country than the International Airport at which he/she initially lands. And seeing as how customs has to be cleared before officially entering the country, that means you get the glorious pleasure of the luggage carousel lottery not once, but twice. To add to our pile of fun, we had 12 suitcases, 3 backpacks, 3 carry ons, and a car seat for a grand total of 19. Yippeeeeee! We also had the fortunate distinction of being allowed to wait in the VISA line, so my wife could have her big Green Card stamp validated with yet another stamp. A process that naturally took forever, due in no small part to the acute skill and prowess of the fine government employees that stand watch on our border, when they could be bothered to stop shooting the bull long enough to help us. So by the time we got to play suitcase roulette, we instantly hit the jackpot as there was a very nice airport employee standing there with all 13 of them, probably wondering if we were still in Frankfurt looking for our lost carry on. Luckily for us, the customs guys didn’t appear to have any desire to look through 19 bags and let us go straight through. Since we had not known in advance how long the VISA arrival process would take we had booked an overnight layover, so we set off to find a taxi.
No sooner did we get to the taxi stand with our airport guy, as the next adventure started for us. Apparently it is not that
easy to find a taxi that can carry 3 people and 19 bags. Eventually we found a minivan taxi and started loading the bags, only to have the driver say it was too much for him to carry. This I really couldn’t comprehend. I thought that was the entire point of a minivan, to carry lots of stuff. What followed was an at-the-time-disconcerting-but-later-funny conversation in which our nice airport employee did a Jekyll and Hyde and proceeded to tell the cabbie all the reasons he was going to take us or not be allowed to work the airport anymore, while the cabbie was trying to say that he his cab was going to break from too many suitcases. In the long run he took us to our hotel, while charging us an extra $25 for the bags. I hope he invests the extra money in cleaning, because that cab was nasty. Or maybe a class in manners would serve him better.
Once we were at the hotel I knew better than to think the adventure was over, and I would be 100% correct. After taking forever to establish a recent refurbish of the hotel as the reason that our door didn’t close properly, the staff told us to just pull up really hard and slam it. Because that is naturally better than fixing the problem. That should have been reason enough to make me skeptical when asking them about prearranging a taxi for the next morning, but my undying faith in humanity got the best of me and I took their word that calling in the morning would be fine for 3 people and 19 bags. After a nice dinner at a mexican restaurant and a good nights sleep, I would come to regret my blind belief. After my first trip to the reception desk to order a cab, we got ourselves and our armada of suitcases buttoned up and into the lobby to wait for our taxi. So we waited, and waited, and waited some more. After being told multiple times that this was a reliable taxi company, they finally called them at my behest to discover that no cab was on the way. Super. And they didn’t have anymore to send. Super duper. At this point there was just a shade over 2 hours until our plane was scheduled to depart. PANIC! A second cab company was called that actually arrived quickly, without enough room for all of our bags. DOUBLE PANIC!! Luckily a bigger cab was nearby, so after one final call was made we were finally on our way to the airport. This time though, we were able to make it to our plane without losing luggage or busting up teeth.
Once at our final destination, all we wanted was to get to our corporate-rental style apartment. Alas, our journey would not be complete without more adventure. After passing through security we were not greeted by my mother and step-dad as expected, nor were they waiting at the luggage lottery. What did I find out after a quick phone call? Were they lost? Stuck in traffic? Naturally not. As we should have expected with this trip, they were busy filling out insurance cards and police reports from their car accident. No one was injured thank goodness, just some bent up sheet metal. At this point I think my capacity for surprise was overflowing. But don’t worry fair reader, we weren’t done yet. While waiting for a mom-taxi for our fleet of baggage, we made the fine discovery that the car seat had been damaged. Unbelievable. This really is never going to end, is it? Nope, not there anyway. To complete the trifecta, we recounted our suitcase soldiers only to discover that we had received 12 including the car seat, when any observant reader already knows that it should have been 12 plus the car seat. Lovely. Even more time in the airline luggage office.
Eventually, the crinkled mom cab arrived and we loaded the survivors up for the last leg of their journey. Once we got the busted car seat and the kid strapped into the rental car, we were finally leaving the airport behind us. A few hours later the MIA suitcase was delivered to our apartment and our journey was finally complete. Next up, house hunting! Uhhhhhhh……