Monday, February 22, 2010

Day of Nothing: The Second

Wake up and check out without seeing anyone else. Then attempt to get a taxi. Then fail. Then head back and ask the girl working at the hotel to get you a taxi.

After this step, she seemed to disappear for sometime. Last I saw her running up the hill away from the building. Fair enough, thought I. Just when i was wondering when I should call the police a battered car, without trunk, seats held together with duct tape, came rolling to a stop in front of the glass double doors, honking wildly. Now, I decided, would be a good time to make that police call. However, before I had the audacity to go behind the counter and pick up the phone, the lovely employee stepped out of the passenger seat, and ushered me inside. A taxi had, apparently, been discovered for me, and this was in.

In my new chariot I rode through forgotten streets, against one way signs, and over tire shredding stone all the way to the Cuzco airport. And what an airport it was. Wasn't it? It's hard to really recall much of anything as the next number of hours would pass in a daze of confusion and missed thoughts.

I grabbed my tickets, checked in, paid the airport tax to fly out, and then headed upstairs. There I passed through security without a second glance, and found myself a seat near an electrical socket. There, with hours yet to wait, I plugged in my netbook and set to watching movies. This seemed like quite the thing to do, especially as the earlier CUZ -> LIM flight was in the process of being delayed due to weather. Clearly I had a good feeling about my flight getting out on time.

But what could I do? Nothing. Not a thing. So I began to watch Where the Wild Things Are. Once more – travel is all about finding new and interesting places to watch movies on your Laptop. Am I right, or am I right? There are some people who say it's about exploring, learning about new cultures, and seeing fantastic thing not available in their home city. But that would be incorrect. If I've learned anything, it's that travel's main purpose is to allow you to watch movies in other places. Some people think it's all about listening to music is new and interesting places, but those are the people who have iPods, and of whom I'm jealous. I wouldn't know anything about that. If there's one thing we an agree on though it's that cultural and physical exploration? That's all incidental.

So there I sat, excited by the sketched over intro screens for the movie, hoping for the best. What followed was two hours that I'll never get back. Don't get me wrong, I like terrible movies – Mean Girls? Classic. American Pie 2? Paradigm shifting. Adventures in Babysitting? Look – the girl went to the city and met Thor. How could it not be wonderful?! But this one... I'll never get this time back, and there was nothing redeeming about it. It was just a god awful terrible movie that tried, but failed, to destroy a wonderful book. If your book has sentences, the number of which is one digit, making a movie about it is probably a terrible idea.

The trailer was lovely though – and that's probably the right length for such a piece as this. Ohh well. It took up enough time, and I was now headed to board my flight.

In flight we were granted a snack. A bun. One bun. There seemed to be candied cherries shoved into the bun at random, cubed to Christmas Cake perfection, but there was no disguising the fact that my meal was simply a bun. Ohh look we're landing.

Touching down, just after the flight that was slated to depart three hours before us, was a nice touch. As they stood in line to grab their bags, I could see others smugly smiling, grabbing theirs and heading through customs from our flight. They felt superior over their non-delayed flight, as right they should.

I just walked ahead, my bags being automatically re-directed on to EZE. All I had to do was navigate the airport and exit it in order to enter it once more. There I paid a new airport tax, and headed through security with painless ease once more. Inside I grabbed a seat near an outlet and contemplated how I would spend the next eight hours before I could board my next flight.

Where was that next flight anyway? What gate? The customs man didn't know – but he wanted to. He wanted to so bad that in a flurry of Spanish he grabbed my ticket and my passport and wandered off. Oh good – I thought – but when he returned five minutes later, all seemed well, and off I went.

Eight hours.

Just for kicks I tried to check for wireless networks. There were many. As I attempted to connect I wondered what page I'd be redirected to and how much access to the net would cost. Loading google I was shocked to find myself not headed to or something like that. No – here in Lima airport internet is free for all!

I know, I couldn't believe it either. Eight hours to kill didn't seem all that difficult anymore. I seem to recall watching something, or listening to something, but as I'd been awake for some time and found sleep coming no closer, it was all starting to merge together. After some hours I realized that I was hungry. Who knew how long I'd felt this way. I headed to the snack bar, and without thinking too much about cost bought a drink and sandwich. Airport prices – they'll kill you every time. But at least I could pay in the USD I had kicking around.

Better to be full than grouchy, anyway.

With happy stomach I turned from the computer, which had sucked up six hours of my life, and started to read. It dawns on me that most of the time on the computer was spent trying to update no less than three flight status checkers to discover what gate I should be heading to. The internet told me before the airports boards did. And the gate also happened to coincide with the exact spot that I was currently sitting. What a wonderful world.

As I attempted to finish up Lord of the Rings my brain began to fail. No heavy text could be consumed. I turned instead to the other book I had on hand. I shudder to mention it, but mention it I will: Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Soul Key.

It's one of the latest in the DS9 relaunch series. I have read all twenty to twenty five novels that have followed on the series. I'm sorry – we all have our shameful books now and then. I also read the Halo novels. Sigh.

In an attempt to refresh myself I headed over to MemoryAlpha and read the summary of the last novel in the series before this – it'd been some time since consuming that. There I learned the next next book to continue this series would be set five years in the future, allowing the DS9 relaunch to catch up to the TNG relaunch and VOY relaunch series. While I have accepted this now, at the time of reading it I was shocked and terrified. How will they skip forward five years? So much needs to happen. And does this mean I'll have to read the three or four latest TNG books that place Dax in command of her own ship? I think it will.

I know – I disgust myself. If it's any better, I'll tell you that I'm listening to the soundtrack to the Street Fighter II HD game released over X-Box Live Arcade. No, that probably doesn't make it any better. Not for you. For me? Wonderful. Little by little I accept whom it is that I am.

Tummy full, and a full on seventy pages of the DS9 book read, in which I would have only read fifteen or twenty of LotR, my flight was called and off I went to hop on board. With time zones, and changing things, and what not, I realized that I'd have only four hours before my flight would be landing. I headed quickly to sleep. I think I was out before the plane even left the ground.

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