Last Saturday morning I was working at the computer when my sister came in and reminded me that we had an invitation for lunch, and I should be getting ready.
Yawn... Ah, that lunch. One of our cousins (the daughter of Dad's cousin, would that be a "second cousin"?) was celebrating her First Communion. I was feeling rather tired, but just as I was getting ready for my standard I'm tired/too much homework/I'm sleepy/gotta clean the house/have clothes to wash/whatever excuse, my sis started jumping up and down in excitement and yelling "Come on, hurry up! You just have to come to this place - it's where they celebrated her birthday party last year!"
Last year, last year... what was so special about last year? I don't remember attending that party, but I think I know wher-- waaait a second, isn't that the party place at the TACA offices, just next to the airport runway?! Screw the homework, I got some spotting to do!
On the way there, I noticed that both my sisters were buzzing with anticipation about going to the celebration. At first, I thought it would be because they would have the chance to play with our cousins and have fun, but suddenly I had a rather disturbing realization.
They were buzzing with anticipation because they were going near the airport and were going to see airplanes.
The little one (age 5) was pestering Dad with questions. "Daddy, are we going to the airport?" "Will we see lots of airplanes?" "Are the airplanes parked or flying in the air?" "Daddy, can we get on an airplane?" "Please please please?" My other sister, the not-so-little one (age 10) kept telling me that it would be cool to see the planes take off and land, and she was looking forward to an airplane trip someday (poor little things, haven't had their first plane ride...). Well, I could easily tell they were even more excited about the whole airplane thing than I was!
So, we finally arrived at the place. Take a look by yourselves: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...02347,0.005364&t=k&om=1&iwloc=addr
(I've included a link rather than an image, so that you can play around with the map)
The entrance to the first parking lot is near the top of the image, where you see several cars next to three TA aircraft. IIRC, those were old 737's, but they're no longer parked at that spot. Instead, I saw a TA ATR-42 and two RACSA Nord N-262A-26, TG-NTR and another one (didn't catch the reg):
Photo © Daniel Umaña
Photo © Propfreak
In the background, at the gates of the passenger terminal, I could see at least a TA 'bus and an AA plane.
After the first parking lot, we had to proceed to the second one (going south, after the big red roof) to get to the party place. Sadly, that area is just behind the hangars; add to it that the lunch was being held indoors... so much for spotting.
Anyway, we had a good time there. During the lunch, we got to hear several arrivals and departures; every time we heard the sound of a plane engine, my not-so-little sister would look at me and grin . Man, this is getting scary...
After lunch all the kids went to the playground, and I took my usual role of responsible adult, a.k.a. nanny. Again, no chance to see the a/c taxiing on the runway, but at least I could catch several departures. And sure enough, my sisters would stop whatever they were doing to watch 'em planes taking off.
Long story short, the party ended and it was time to go. Dad had to stop for a minute at the first parking lot because the two--well, the three of us wanted to take a last look at the runway. Lo and behold, guess who was there at the gates? An IB A346, the a/c I had wanted to see for months since it started service down here.
Photo © Andrés Meneses - SJO Spotter
On the way back home, my sisters were thrilled about the whole airplane deal. The not-so-little one was particularly interested in large airliners, as I had told her that the red and yellow plane we saw is the largest to come to GUA. "Are there larger planes than that? Do some of those airplanes have two levels? Are they like cruise ships, with pools, casinos, restaurants, and everything?" Naturally, I offered to solve her questions by showing her, uh... pictures of airplanes.
People, I'm worried. My two young sisters are well on their way to become airplane geeks--what's worse, potential a.nutters!--and it's all my fault. Oh dear, what have I done to them?!