Run For Your Flight

Saturday, April 21, 2012
Houston, Texas, United States
The Eclipse sailed into Miami port at 4.30 am. I know because I was woken by a flash of lightning. It was difficult to go back to sleep after because I was due to wake up at 6 to have breakfast before disembarking around 7 am. Many people were already up at 6.30 am at the Ocean View Restaurant. It was still dark outside, and wet as well, though I could not see the rain. I then spent 20 mins trying to figure out where to disembark. First you have to locate the correct deck - I had forgotten that Miami Port had aerobridges to Deck 5 while in other ports it was the gangway at Deck 2 - then the correct end of the ship - a constant bane for me not knowing which was fore and aft - and then the correct side of the ship - the easiest because my cabin was on the port and disembarkation was not on that side which was named because that was side the port was supposed to be (starboard is short for steering board, or rudder, back in the days when ships had their rudder on one side instead of the centre or within the hull).

It did not take long to clear US immigration - why can't Edmonton Airport be like that? - or customs . Just take your luggage, which was deposited outside the cabin the night before, and go. It was definitely too early when we arrived at Miami Airport, the driver not ashamed to place himself at the exit to collect tips for handling our luggage. He did tell us a nice story about the stray dog on the road which had been hanging around there 6 years and would only let 2 person feed it. No authority could catch it. Apparently it can read "Miami-Dade".

Plenty of time to even check email and stuff before check-in opened 4 hrs before departure. After checking in early, there was yet more time in the departure lounge, which was very unexciting since they are segregated into small concourses each with only a small selection of eating and shopping venues. When the most exciting food is from Pizza Hut, you know what I mean. the long wait was made worse by the delayed arrival of the departure aircraft. In the end we left 30 minutes late.

This also meant that the connecting time at Houston airport for the flight to Edmonton was shortened from 52 minutes to 15 minutes . Fortunately the workouts on Eclipse's gym allowed me to run to the departure gate, which, as fortune would have it, relocated even further away than the original. United Airlines made no effort to communicate to connecting passengers let alone facilitate their connection (you know like announcing in the aircraft, gathering passengers at the terminal and ferrying them by electric cart, and even delaying the departure aircraft by a few minutes). No the aircraft door was actually closed when 4 of us banged on the door. I don't even know if they know who boarded because my boarding pass was not scanned. But made it I did (otherwise it would be a 24-hr wait) though I knew my bag would not (unless it can make its way on its own faster than I).

As sure as one feels the warmth transmitting from Canada to the Caribbean, the reverse is true in the reverse direction. At least it was dry, but it was 9 degrees Celsius after a week of high 20's. I miss the Caribbean already.