It's a three hour drive from Port Charlotte to Miami Airport – and most of it is in silence.
For one, I'm trying to sleep. My mother is trying not to look out the window. My father is trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B. But then it hits me, there's only a few hours left that I'll have to spend with them – for the better part of a year. I keep saying it, but it's true – this trip is still in its infancy. So I wake myself up. Sure I might experence Jet Lag for the first time, due to this flight, but this is my time to talk, to enjoy simple conversation, to – there's nothing really to say. I've said everything. It' been a good week. So I help navigate, reading out the GPS instructions. I'm usually less annoying than the computerized voice – except when I'm emulating said voice, then it's a toss up. I think it's both witty and cute.
We made our way into the flamingo garage, and up into the terminal. The giant horseshoe terminal that is Miami airport, voted America's best airport. I remember it from the days of it being America's most improved airport – and man was it terrible back then. I wish I'd seen it only a year before, because now? Honestly? It's not that bad.
After checking in, and being asked if I had a visa for South Africa (no I did not – as a Canadian National according to our government's website, and projectvisa.com I did not need one) I was handed my ticket, had my bag weighed – 19kg and went to move it into the scanning area.
Just as I was walking away, the ticket man ran up to me saying that I did need a visa if I didn't have a return flight. I'm not sure that I believe this, as Poland taught me to be weary of airline ticket peoples awareness of visa regulations – but, as I did have a flight out of South Africa (never mind that I'd be over landing through three other countries first) I just showed him those details and was done with it. “So Bangkok is your final destination?” Sure. It's a destination, and trying to explain that my final destination wouldn't be for quite some time – well, Fort Myers told me that that's not well received in America, so saying nothing he thought what he wanted, put in the information, and seemed happy.
Off to Chili's!
Not really wanting to part from my parents yet (and believe you me, this is a strange and uncommon revelation) I directed us towards Chili's where my father had a coffee, my mother – chili and salad – and myself, some sort of ridiculous chocolate chip cake chocolate molten ice cream covered delight.
I ate slowly, but was constantly aware of the time. When I still have security to check through, it's always a toss up of how long it will take to clear. Sometimes, no problem – other times, it's welcome to the scary room. Still – in all my travels, I've managed to keep my clothes on. We'll see how this holds up.
One chocolate chip cake chocolate molten ice cream covered delight thing later, and it was off to the escalator that would take me up up and away to the metal detectors, waiting lounges, and solo-travelling.
A number of photos were taken before this moment, and as I rode up the escalator, I felt more than a little choked up. And then I was facing security. Ahh security, so we meet again. Shoes, poncho, bag, keys, coins, all emptied into trays – laptop laid separately (check out the x-ray of your laptop if you ever get the chance, it's quite delightful.)
Walking through the security checkpoint the agent said, “...metal?” excuse me? “...metal??” What – I didn't have metal. I checked my pockets, nothing there. What was he on about? “You look like the dude from Pantera – do you listen to metal?”
Ohh! Do I listen to metal? Sure I do. I mostly get called ZZ Top though. Pantera was new. I don't know that people operating metal detectors should use the word metal in any other context. But once I said yes, I do enjoy me some metal, he smiled and waved me on my way. No worries this time.
Over near gate F19 I found some plug sockets. Four of them, my plug just fell out of when I put it in. Peachy. Number five was the charm – and the wifi? Free for Christmas. All airports should follow this routine. Free wifi for all!
So there, sitting in the waiting area, I fired off some final emails, chatted with Katherine, and otherwise ran down the clock as little British boys ran around screaming at each other, making me think of the epic line, “Charlie bit my finger... and it hurt.”
Fast Forward and we're on the plane. So many movies I'd like to watch – but I know I should sleep. Oh, but “The Cove.” I start to watch it. Dinner comes. The video system fails. It's a sign. I eat my food and try to go to sleep (made easier by the fact that the girl beside me moved who knows where. I am freshly laundered, I'll have you know. Still – both armrests were mine.)
Sleep came relatively easy, though all together uncomfortable. I had been spoiled by a giant, real, bed these last few days.