The Hotel Element is close to the Miami International airport.
Their standard room has a refrigerator, a color flat screen TV, acceptable wi-fi, hot and cold running water, a door that locks, a clean bathroom, clean sheets, and, especially important in Florida, air conditioning. I don’t see ghosts and goblins running the halls but Halloween is coming towards us right on schedule.
I take an elevator up, slip my plastic card key into the hotel room door handle and let myself in, test the bed, get horizontal and slip into a car chase dream on a twisted road to Uruguay across a world map like the one on the first page of Scotttreks.
The next morning, for breakfast, us hotel guests are greeted by a diminutive She Devil with horns who is busy making sure we have our drinks, muffins, breakfast sandwiches and sweet rolls. Even in Hell you have to eat.
She poses for me and wants to change back into her cute red devil shoes for my snapshot. I tell her I am okay with her the way she is, part in our world and part in her demon world.
I get a few more scary Halloween photos after breakfast of two hotel desk clerks who are dressed to kill. Both of them suggest I visit South Beach since my rescheduled flight leaves late tonight and I have time on my hands.
God’s and demons, or fate – if you prefer, is always part of a traveler’s life.
I let the killer girls call me a taxi.
No respected travel blogger would pass up a chance to go to South Beach.
Even the best plans of men go awry and the best planned trips get caught in rough currents.
Boarding my plane in Albuquerque, all things are possible. I am scheduled to fly from Albuquerque to Dallas, Dallas to Miami, Miami to Montevideo, Uruguay.There is no doubt this trip will happen, in proper order, until the Captain of our American Airlines jet announces a ” maintenance problem. ”
We are stuck on an Albuquerque runway,our plane’s engines won’t start, so we taxi back to the gate for grease monkeys to determine what the plane’s problem is,and, if possible, fix it.
Sitting in our plane, an hour and a half assessment is completed. Finally, with supervisor approval, techs jump start engines and we taxi back out and get airborne on our second try.
The traveler seated next to me is from Peru. He makes his living explaining mutual funds to South American financial advisers and tells me Uruguay is nice which gives me some comfort that this trip will be better than it has begun.
In the Miami airport, a huge floral design on a wall above an escalator going down to Customs, reminds me that Peace and Love are the hardest words to live by in the English language.
It is two in the morning before a shuttle from the Hotel Element picks up six of us stranded travelers and gets us safe to our airline paid compensatory rooms for having missed our ongoing connections through airline error.
It isn’t an auspicious beginning for this trip, but at least I reach Florida with all my body parts.
Statistically, airline travel is safe, but fear of falling really kills us.
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At the Albuquerque International Sun Port I ride two escalators, get my boarding pass, check my baggage, then get processed by airport security.
Channeled down a long winding roped off aisle with cutbacks, my airline ticket is initialed with a black ball point pen and my passport and driver’s license are checked for authenticity. A bespeckled TSA agent wearing latex gloves, and a dour expression, waves me towards the x-ray machines behind us,and still in line with other travelers, I load my cowboy boots into a plastic container along with my belt, wallet, keys, loose change, smart phone and laptop. My carry on bag is already moving down a conveyor belt ahead of me, stopped for a second while the belt operator looks at a strange shape in someone else’s luggage.
Next to get processed, like meat in a slaughterhouse, I am x-rayed, patted down, confirmed, and finally cleared to go to my assigned gate and board a plane to Uruguay.
Travelers in wheelchairs and diapers go through the same procedures I do, all of us stamped and approved by bland looking blue uniformed men and women doing their government work without a smile.
As our country turns totalitarian, keeping my eyes on all Exits is prudent.
To catch one terrorist we have all become guilty.
Proving yourself innocent costs more for a lawyer than i can afford.