I love to travel. Really, I do.

I know what to expect, and I prepare myself mentally and physically. When there are problems, I usually accept them with good grace.  I always leave myself plenty of time.

But, sometimes…..

On the 28th, I moved completely out of my apartment and put my things and car in storage.  A driver picked me up to take me to LAX, where Delta’s only non-stop from LA leaves at 11:30 pm. It sucks, and the last time I did it, in April 2022, I swore I would never do it again. It is akin to having a very busy day and then, at bedtime, deciding to stay awake for an additional five hours and then start a brand new day while completely exhausted.  However, the price can’t be beat.

On the way to LA, I called Verizon to ensure that my international plan was in effect.  This plan allows for making and receiving 250 minutes worth of calls for free and receiving an unlimited number of texts. I had ordered the plan online, but I wanted to confirm. The Verizon person told me she saw no order and processed one for me. After I thanked her and congratulated myself for my efficiency, I saw that my phone had no service. At all. For anything.

The driver was kind enough to loan me his phone, and I learned that there was a switch problem at Verizon (targeted terrorism, no doubt) which affected anyone who made any changes in service that day. Only that day. So, I couldn’t call or text or spend the two plus hours getting important last-minute shit done. Oh, well.

I arrived at 5:00 pm and planned to spend the next hours in the Delta Sky Club, for whose membership I pay a lot. The driver had tried to charge the ride but couldn’t get the charge to go through. I told him I’d Zelle it from the lounge. When I got to the lounge, they told me that my Gold Medallion Delta AMEX Reserve ass wasn’t allowed to enter until three hours prior to departure time.  So, I spent three and a half hours sitting on a chair.  Upon being permitted entry to the lounge, I set up my WiFi and tried to Zelle the money. My bank needed to confirm my identity and sent a code to my cell phone. You know, the cell phone with no service.  I gave up.

Since I have priority boarding, I arrived at the gate at 10:35 and was first in line, where I sat for one hour, two hours, and 59 minutes. The plane needed a part. They looked for a part. They asked other airlines if they had the part. They arranged for an arriving plane to replace our part-less plane. They realized that the pilot for our flight was not authorized to fly the arriving aircraft. They found the part. They sent us on our way one minute before 2:30, since they would have had to reimburse us after three hours. We sat on the runway for 30 minutes. The pilot announced that there was a sick passenger on the flight and that we needed to return to the gate where someone could make the decision about how to handle the sick passenger.  The gate crew serving our gate was working another gate and needed to finish there first. (I don’t buy the whole sick passenger thing.) Finally, we returned to the gate and then left at 4:30 am. Five hours late.

One humorous moment:  I was sitting next to a woman named Julia for the entire ordeal, and we had a good time together. It is now one of my longest relationships. Across from us was an older woman with a Spanish accent, so I’m guessing she was Costa Rican. She was, as they say, fit to be tied. She kept muttering and complaining, but, as I wasn’t wearing my hearing aids, I couldn’t make out what she was saying. Finally, I understood her when she declared that, if they didn’t use such old planes, they wouldn’t need parts. And she kept pointing to the flight info. Curious, I carefully read the board and saw “Delta Flight 1974.” Yep, she thought it was the year the plane was built. I turned to Julia and asked, “Should we tell her?”  Julia replied, “No. Let it go.”  I loved Julia.

One not-so-humorous moment: Among the 300 passengers waiting to go to Costa Rica were several cigarette-smokers. For them, it would have been difficult to spend time checking in, flying, and waiting for bags without a cigarette. Some had to go outside to smoke. What no one told them was that security closed at 1:00 am. That’s right…They left and couldn’t get back in. Their families, friends. luggage and plane left without them. I just hope they had identification, phones, and credit cards with them, since they were completely on their own and had to buy new tickets. An excellent, though terrifying, incentive to stop smoking or never start.

My friends in Costa Rica arrived at 7:00 am to pick me up, even though I had advised them that I’d be arriving late. They came back at 10:30 am and found me.

We arrived at my condo, reserved through AirBnB. I misread the instructions and went to the wrong floor. When I entered the apartment, I noticed a few pieces of furniture, a sheetless bed, and no dishes. In my exhaustion, I started to panic before rereading the instructions and realizing that I was on the wrong floor.  When I arrived in the correct place, things were better.  However, “minimalist” doesn’t begin to describe it. Yes, there were sheets and dishes, but only a sofa-bed and TV in the living room. No chair, no desk. In the bedroom was a bed. No table, no drawers, no clock, no fans. Truly a room for a bed.

I called the owner, who came over immediately. He stopped me before I went off on him and told me that the previous occupant had stolen a lot of things (and the cleaning lady should have told him). We went together to WalMart and bought several items.  I still had to buy a table to serve as a desk and a comfortable chair from which to work. Luckily, my friends had several items I’d given them when I moved out in 2021, and they graciously loaned me some of my old things. So, I’m up and running.

I had my appointment for my visa on Monday, and that went well. Now I just need to wait around 45 days to pick up the physical card.  Yesterday I had my implant done, which is to say the dentist installed the metal screw. I’ll need to wait four months for the bone to heal before having the crown done, so I will return in July. (They showed my an X-ray of the screw in my jaw. It’s really cool.)

My work and classes are going well. It’s been good to see some friends. And I joined a gym for two months. MultiSpa is huge and full of state-of-the-art equipment. However, it’s not air-conditioned, which I think should be a priority when it’s as warm and humid as it is right now.  I know, I’m such a gringo.

I’m happy to be here. The only problem I have is that my bed is old and lumpy and impossible to sleep on. So, I’m negotiating with the owner.

Pray for me, and Pura Vida.

Also, there is neither a charge nor limit for calls and texts at 760-980-0123. You can call my regular number, but we can’t talk too long. Also, I’ll usually call you from the -0123 number, so, no, it isn’t spam.