Travels and Tribulations Part II
After a relaxing flight, in which we were seated close enough that I could see each and every one of my kids, it was time for the disembark, customs and luggage retrieval. My job is to empty the overhead bins of carry-ons and to ensure there is nothing left over. We have donated enough things to the struggling airlines, and they don’t need anymore of our help. Customs is never the same, and each time we have learned to adjust to the agent in charge. This time, as expected very smooth. After all, we were coming home. After gathering our bags and running them through the scanner once again, we tried a new trick; Re-deploying them on the belt where they would meet us down near the transportation level of the Orlando airport. A neat trick, making the bag shuffle much easier. However, we did not anticipate that it would take nearly 30 minutes for them to show up. So that was our first wait of the day.
After our long-lost bags arrived, we again waited with over 20 bags in tow for our shuttle, knowing that we had to be first in line if we were to all fit. By now it was nearing 7 pm, and other than a sandwich at the San Jose airport, we had not eaten for the day. I was hungry, the kids starving and Tracy’s blood sugar was low. No problem, within an hour we should be at our rental house.
Upon arriving at the rental car agency, I quickly shuffled in line ahead of the several families aboard our shuttle. After all, I am not a new traveler. I had my confirmation number in hand for the car I had rented online, and I sauntered up to the window of this new company I had never used. Things were going great, until she asked where I lived. Well I explained, I don’t know yet. Wrong answer. All of the sudden this discount rental agency became a great headache. You see when you don’t have an address your are considered a high risk renter and there are a lot more hoops to jump through. Eventually, after much disagreement and discussion it was determined that they could not rent me a car for the price I had been guaranteed. I even offered to buy a plane ticket back to anywhere right there and then, but she insisted it would not help, we were high risk renters, Florida resident. She was not kind, and I was not a happy camper. By now we were approaching 9 pm, and as I stormed outside where my family was sweltering in the humid Florida night, surrounded by the colorful armada of luggage, I broke the news to my wife. Now what? As I paced back and forth it was hard not to laugh at the sight of us, we looked like the Clampets waiting for something, or someone to come and save us. Hot, sweaty, tired, starving and surrounded by colorful well used baggage trapped in a rental car company’s parking lot. Oh the irony.
I decided the best course of action was to get a couple of cabs to get us to the house and I could figure out the next step tomorrow. Iphone out, cab companies typed in, phone call made. After several follow-up phone calls, re-telling the story and the address, and another 45 minute wait, the first cab arrived, our second wait. He looked at us and said impossible. I told him another cab was coming and let’s load this minivan up the best we could. We stuffed that van like a Godfrey on Thanksgiving. He took a load of bags and four family members and off he went. Shortly the second cab arrived. “Impossible” he said. We cannot fit all these bags and you guys. I convinced him to try as I began stuffing the van with bags, and eventually, in his thick Indian accent he proclaimed me a genius. More experience than genius I explain. Finally we were on our way.
I knew upon arrival Tracy would be in the house unpacking and exploring, after all she had a 10 minute start. In the pitch darkness we pulled into our neighborhood and eventually found Tracy’s cab, lights on, bags being unloaded. She was stumbling around and trying to find our new digs for the month. She could not find out which house was ours. Finally, I was able to find what seemed to be the right house, and after multiple attempts with a new fangled electric key we gained entry. By now it was 10 pm. My plan, order pizza, go to bed. Right there sitting on the counter a pizza coupon. I place my order and am told 50 minutes. For some reason they had been swamped this evening, and our unusually large order would not help. Our third wait.
An hour later our pizza arrived.We all agreed it was the best pizza we have ever had. We were in our house, we had food, we were literally exhausted and we had a place to sleep with air conditioning. We had nothing to complain about. The next morning I took a shuttle to the airport, walked up to reputable car rental place, and within 10 minutes I was in a nice minivan. No questions, no problems just a whole lotta love.
Looking back, it was a typical travel trip for us. There are always obstacles, there are always adventures, and it almost always ends with us being excessively hungry and eating some of the best food we have ever had. This trip was heavy on the waiting and continued upon our theme of patience we had just lived the last year in Costa Rica. Perhaps God was not done teaching us yet, or perhaps we were not as good of students as we had thought. Whatever it is, we are still waiting patiently for our next step on this journey we call life, so perhaps we will skip the traveling until our lesson has been learned.
I apologize that there are no pictures, but while living this adventure, I was far too tired and hungry to think about pictures. Now of course I realize it would’ve been a great idea.