I should’ve “known” something was stirring up.
We leave at 1:00 am. Within 30minutes I get nauseous. 2:00 am I ask Kim for a plastic bag. It’s 3:15 am I start vomiting.
We arrived at Orlando International Airport at 4:00 am
We get in line at 4:10 am
Showed tickets and passports to the Ticket Agent at 4:20 am
Pulled out ALL documents and the reason for traveling to Panama. “This is a one-way ticket. How long are you staying? When are you coming back?” He says
“A month. We’re not. We’re headed to Costa Rica after Panama and only purchasing one-way tickets.” We say.
He goes in the back. We wait. The Ticket Agent needs more paperwork for Costa Rica. We pulled every document, emails, conversations we had aligned for Costa Rica. He goes in the back. We wait. “Immigration needs reservations/brought tickets proving that you’re leaving Panama for Costa Rica,” He says. What we gave him wasn’t good enough. “We were told we could get the tickets once we got there(pointing to facts in my phone)as you can see here,” I explain. “When you get your proof, you can email them here, and I’ll print them out,” He says
The time is now 4:35 am
Kim and I go online to purchase tickets. We thought it’d be a simple and easy task. It wasn’t. It was much harder to do. Finally, I found a site after going to an expat forum on leaving Panama to Costa Rica. Made the ticket reservations, emailed it and got back in line. This time, the young fellow has an older lady assist us. We redo the WHOLE process again.
The time is now 5:47 am. The line is presently empty. No feedback about our status. Still waiting. Can we go thru? Not sure. Still waiting.
Finally! We’re good to go. Time to check in baggage-Kim goes first hers hit the 50lb mark right on the spot. Mine is up and exceeds the weight limit. 83lbs. What?!
I’m told I need to take some things out. “Nooooooooo… I can’t –way too much stuff.”
She tells me my bags won’t be allowed on the flight until I meet the weight requirements. I’m weak. “Can I just pay a baggage fee.?” I ask “Yes, But it’ll be $100.00.”
Damn. I cough up my credit card. A hundred dollars- gone just like that.
“Wait…..we don’t have your departure date leaving from Costa Rica. Immigration is strict on Americans now.. They want to know every detail and when you’re coming back.”
The time is now 5:58 am. My body reacts to her words without giving me a heads up. My heart races. My legs feel limp. But I’m standing strong. I have no facial expression just a blank stare, but my mind is in deep thought. I’m sweating, but I think it’s because I have on too many layers.
“Send the email to me again -she says. When I get it, I’m gonna go back in the office and make hard copies for you two.”
Finally the right one with the dates arrives. She comes out expresses a sigh of relief.
The time is now 6:00 am. “I’m gonna escort you two to the gate”. She says. We walk next to her like white on rice as she gains momentum we increase our speed. She’s walking thru the airport with authority flashing her badge getting us thru all checkpoints with her.
She says in her Puerto Rican accent “You’re gonna make it, keep your passport out and maaake sure you have everrrything.” We get thru the lines. “Come on– hurry up, take your shoes off, put your backpack up, agh– you’re gonna make it.” She’s telling us this as she’s helping us strip off our clothes and items onto the belt. “Push your bags thru.” She says. Our things get forced thru on the belt going thru the detectors, and we get pat down.
I shout over to Kim “Here Kim get your backpack!” I take the backpack off the belt to it sit down and realizes it’s mine. “Oh no, Kim that’s mine! Yours is coming.”
The ticket agent says “Do you have everything?” She looks down at her watch “We gotta go!!”
Kim: “Where’s my bag? I need my hat. It has my passport inside.”
Me: “Kim there’s your hat!”
Ticket agent: “Do you have everything?” She looks down at her watch “We gotta go!” As she helps us gather up our belongings off the belt, we also grab our things to make it, but it’s cutting close.
The time is now 6:15 am the plane leaves at 6:30 am “Yes I got everything. Kim! Let’s go!” I said.
We all sprint to catch the train to the gates like track runners but more like out of shape track runners. We get on and sit our tired out of shape asses down, breathing hard as if we just did a relay race. Now all we’ve got to do now is get to our gate, which is the first stop of the train.
The Ticket Agent looks down at her watch again as she catches her breath and says “Think positive you are gonna make it–you leave from Gate 20 once you get off the train your gonna have to run real quick – ok?”
The time is now 6:25 am
Kim interrupts “F**k MY BACKPACK. I left my backpack on the floor–It has all our important paperwork for us to be abroad.”
The flight attendant *gasp*
Me: WHAAAAAAAAAAT??!?!?!?!? Nooooooooooo KIM! (I’m almost in tears..)
The people on train were silent.
The time is now 6:27 am.