Carrie's Adventures

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The trip home

I left from Chile a week ago Sunday to embark upon the 24+hr trip it would take me to get back to Ontario. The bummer of the whole thing was that I didn't leave the ship until 5pm which meant that it was a long day.

Prior to leaving, Akis insisted that I take as much as I could home so that we don't have to deal with it at a later time. First step was to recover my 2 suitcases. Well as it turns out, I managed to 'misplace' one of the suitcases. Unsure how this could possibly happen as both of them were in a locked locker, I scratched my head and convinced Akis that it was in our best interests for me to use his suitcase to HAUL all of the stuff home.

With 2 large suitcases, a backpack and a purse ~ sorry Beth, no 'philipino' box this time ~ I boarded the bus, said my teary farewell to Akis and sat for 2 hrs as we headed to the Santiago Airport. Once I arrived, I discovered that everyone around me had significantly less baggage, and I began to contemplate what overweight would cost me. After 45 minutes in line, I arrived at the desk, gave my ticket and tried to 'effortlessly' heave my first bag onto the belt. The second bag landed on the belt and the checkin agent did some math. I was 4kg overweight while hiding my backback from view. She asked what I wanted to do and the first words out of my mouth were 'how much will it cost me'. As it turns out, it was only $25US for the additional weight ~ hey and with current exchange rate that worked out to a mere 20 bucks! And then I left item #1 at the counter ~ this was not a good beginning as I headed back to the counter to retrieve my goods.

After a quick Chilean Chicken Ceasar salad ~ which is made of iceburg lettuce, chicken, parmesean cheese and balsamic and oil dressing ~ I waited for the 11pm flight. Purchasing the water for the 11hr flight, I had forgotten that when flying back into US airspace, you are not able to purchase water to take on the flight with you ~ even after you pass security. Not happy.
I arrive in the US and despite being 'in transit' I needed to pass US immigration and US customs. This was another 45 minute wait and what I have noticed is that we a divided ~ foreign and US residents. No matter when I go through JFK, the US residents are always processed faster than us foreign folks. Not that I am complaining, I have learned that you don't do that with the officials, you just hand them what they want and stand there until they tell you to go left, go right or that you can leave. I did need to pass customs and have a few things inspected. As they rooted through the luggage, I was thankful that laundry had been done prior to leaving and there were no dirty undies lurking as they inspected things. So anxious to make my way out of there, I made sure I had my purse... Akis said, don't let anyone near your purse, but I did leave my knapsack behind which was discovered only after going to drop off my bags for the connecting flight and realizing that it wasn't quite right that I had only one bag in my hand...

With all items now retrieved, I made the transit to the next terminal for the connecting flight. With another 3 hr wait, I discovered that travelling on the Monday after the US Thanksgiving wasn't quite as painful in the airport, but definitely wasn't great on the tarmac as we were 21st in line for take off....

Arriving in Toronto, we had a small flight and that always bodes well for Customs and immigration. As I filled out the customs card, I filled in the 'I have too much money' box and the 'I have plant parts', and the countries I have visited are: Chile, Peru, Equador and Colombia.... Great I thought, I'll be a while explaining this one to the agents. Once I made it through I went to call Krista only to discover that Bell Canada charges $3.95 per minute for a long distance call. So off I went to purchase anything to get change to pump into the pay phone. Yes Akis, there are times when a cell phone is handy and this would be one of them.

Krista met me and my long haul home was almost done. Only a quick 2 hr drive back to her house and I could finally put my feet up. And in 2 months I get to do it all again. Gotta love the travel ~ and yes Marc, I made sure to give my frequent flyer number. Bring on the points.


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