Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Puerto Rico Lessons

(Most of the following was typed out on my G1 while stuck at the San Juan Airport for a second day)

Having to celebrate my 37th birthday at gate 11 in the SanJuan Airport after a total thus far of 12 hours worth of delay/cancellation spread over a 2 day period (deep breath) ... has taught me a couple of things.

First, for the immediate future...I don't worry about whether or not I can handle stress. I've known the power of anxiety, the weight of indefinable fear... I have avoided travel for quite sometime because of fear of just this sort of scenario. But, I am surviving. Aside from listening to hairbrain Republican conspiracy theories about Obama and GM, I think I'm going to make it through this.

Second, if my day job is going to start requiring me to travel, they are going to have to give me a company card. I've travelled too much in the past under threat of not being given sufficient fundage to cover out of town accommodations. I'm still somehow getting by here, but I am down to a hundred dollars due to a billing/front desk error.

Third, I always knew but never quite so powerfully how different things are outside the continental United States. I know Puerto Rico is a territory, but while you are here you really get the sense of entering a different culture, a Caribbean culture... and the culture shock one feels (until they sequester you into the resort you're staying at) must only be a slight portion of the shock one would feel stuck in the airport in Cuba or the Dominican Republic or Costa Rica.

Even if this has been the airport in Anchorage, Alaska, I could have if I wanted to rented a car and started driving south back to Chi-Town. If this had been Miami Florida or San Diego or hell even Mexico City, I could have used roads to get my ass home.

This is one of the most helpless feelings I ever felt. I used to have a dream about visiting Cuba once things settled down between it and the US, but after this devastating (alright there is some hyperbole here, but unless you've been delayed for a flight over 24 hours...you don't know just how bad it is) banana republic adventure... I have trouble considering travel to such a poverty stricken area.

I've flow alot over the past 3-4 years. As a software trainer I had very good luck 25 some flights and never a significant delay. Until this escapade my worse experience was a five hour delay on the plane in Logan. I used to love to travel. I still love the idea of seeing new sights. But could it be that I am getting too old or too set in my ways to want to deal with this sort of unintended adventure?

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