I am currently back in the USA. However, although I originally planned to be filled with so much joy on arriving in LAX I might want to kiss the ground, instead I just want to throw things and perhaps flash the “international sign of oneness” to the United States in general, if you know what I mean 😉
Before leaving London, my biggest fear, and the thing I prayed most about, was customs in LAX. I have absolutely nothing to hide. Just 6 incredibly heavy bags mostly due to a lot of books. However, I thought one girl strolling through the airport with 6 huge bags plus 2 carry-ons would look a little shady. Little did I know, it would be “extremely obvious” to everyone that in fact nothing shady was going on, I was just a super high maintenance girl who just got back from abroad and needed 6 giant bags of stuff. Ironically, only 2 bags are my stuff. 4 bags and one carry-on are Alexanders. Don’t get me wrong, I would have more stuff if I hadn’t shipped some stuff home to Portland when I was in Atlanta, given 2 bags of clothes away to charity, and not had time or additional space to buy any souvenirs for people back home.
Anyway, the point is, I had absolutely no problems with customs. However, pretty much everything else that could go wrong did. Well, my seat on the plane was AMAZING (bulkhead row.. YEAH!), but my TV didn’t work so that made it hard to pass the time and I couldn’t sleep at all. Then, my plane got to Vegas a little bit late, it turned out a friend who was going to help me with the bags had car trouble and couldn’t make it so I had to try to figure it all out alone, then it turned out one of my bags were lost, I missed my flight from dealing with that (but usually its ok because on Southwest you can just hop on the next one), and then I got down to the Southwest terminal, waited in a long line to check my bags and try to get on the next flight, and found out all flights to Vegas were canceled. They told me the best thing to do would be to get to a hotel. My cell wasn’t working so I couldn’t call anywhere, plus I had two luggage carts full of bags.. .how was I supposed to even get to a taxi line or a shuttle once I figured out somewhere to stay? I tried to hold myself together but broke down crying, and the lady tried to assure me that everything was going to be ok, and at least I wasn’t traveling with babies and I was a revenue passenger so I was guaranteed to get another flight out. That’s all fine and good, but I was still a single girl standing on a street corner with my 5 unlost bags plus 2 carry-ons after being on a plane for 12 hours and only eaten a lean cuisine sized chicken meal, some pretzels and some grapes and it was 2am London time at this point (and by the way, the weight on those bags was 31kg, 31kg, 29kg, 28kg, 23kg… 23kg is 50 pounds and I think 32 is 70 pounds).
I managed to pull myself together and someone helped me wheel the other cart over to the airport shuttle line, and I was still half-crying at this point trying to explain to the guy why I had so many bags and why I needed to get to Vegas and my phone wouldn’t work… while we waited at the shuttle stop, he used his cell phone and called a hotel for me and booked me a room, and then when no shuttles would allow me on (because I had so many bags and nobody wanted to help me), he got aggressive for me and forced someone to let me on with all of my bags. He just got right on and started putting all my bags on and didn’t let the shuttle guy have a say in it. Luckily, the shuttle guy turned out to be super nice. I got to the hotel pretty easily, and was very grateful to have got a room before they all booked up. The hotel is super nice, not a bad place to be “stranded” 🙂
I feel really bad because I broke down crying on the phone to Alexander because I was so tired and hungry and frustrated, but he has his own stuff to deal with right now and really doesn’t need me to be calling whining and complaining because I lost some clothes and got stuck in L.A. In hindsight, now that I’ve had some food and some sleep, I feel pretty embarrassed that I was cried about it all. As I’ve said many times before, I lose all ability to function when I’m hungry or tired, and this was both. Yikes!
I went to bed about 8ish last night (4am London time) and woke up at 1:45am wide awake (9:45am london time). Although I originally booked a car last night fearing I wouldn’t be able to get a flight, since I was awake anyway I tried to call southwest again hoping it would be easier to get through at 2am (last night I just kept getting the busy signal)! After awhile on hold, I got through to someone, and she put me on a 9:25am flight! The thought of hauling all of my bags back to the airport only to potentially be turned away again is scary, but I’m hoping for the best!